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Individual Differences in Subconscious Motor Control Predicted by GABA Concentration in SMA

Frederic Boy Orcid Logo, C. John Evans, Richard A.E. Edden, Krish D. Singh, Masud Husain, Petroc Sumner

Current Biology, Volume: 20, Issue: 19, Pages: 1779 - 1785

Swansea University Author: Frederic Boy Orcid Logo

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Abstract

Subliminal visual stimuli affect motor planning [1], but the size of such effects differs greatly between individuals [2, 3]. Here, we investigated whether such variation may be related to neurochemical differences between people. Cortical responsiveness is expected to be lower under the influence o...

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Published in: Current Biology
ISSN: 0960-9822
Published: 2010
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa13373
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Abstract: Subliminal visual stimuli affect motor planning [1], but the size of such effects differs greatly between individuals [2, 3]. Here, we investigated whether such variation may be related to neurochemical differences between people. Cortical responsiveness is expected to be lower under the influence of more of the main inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA [4]. Thus, we hypothesized that, if an individual has more GABA in the supplementary motor area (SMA)—a region previously associated with automatic motor control [5]—this would result in smaller subliminal effects. We measured the reversed masked prime—or negative compat- ibility—effect, and found that it correlated strongly with GABA concentration, measured with magnetic resonance spectroscopy. This occurred specifically in the SMA region, and not in other regions from which spectroscopy measure- ments were taken. We replicated these results in an inde- pendent cohort: more GABA in the SMA region is reliably associated with smaller effect size. These findings suggest that, across individuals, the responsiveness of subcon- scious motor mechanisms is related to GABA concentration in the SMA.
Keywords: GABA, Supplementary Motor Area, Individual differences
College: College of Human and Health Sciences
Issue: 19
Start Page: 1779
End Page: 1785