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Abstract

In this experiment, we explored how unexpected perturbations in the initial (grip posture) and the final action goals (target position) influence movement execution and the neural mechanisms underlying the movement corrections. Participants were instructed to grasp a handle and rotate it to a target position according to a given visual cue. After participants started their movements, a secondary cue was triggered, which indicated whether the initial or final goals had changed (or not) while the electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded. The results showed that the perturbed initial goals significantly slowed down the reaching action, compared to the perturbed final goals. In the event-related potentials (ERPs), a larger anterior P3 and a larger central-distributed late positivity (600–700 ms) time-locked to the perturbations were found for the initial than for the final goal perturbations. Source analyses found stronger left middle frontal gyrus (MFG) activations for the perturbed initial goals than for the perturbed final goals in the P3 time window. These findings suggest that perturbations in the initial goals have stronger interferences with the execution of grasp-to-rotate movements than perturbations in the final goals. The interferences seem to be derived from both inappropriate action inhibitions and new action implementations during the movement correction.