Motor areas control the planning, programming, initiation and the execution of movements.
Intention to contract a skeletal muscle begins in the motor association/premotor area of frontal lobe. Then transmitted to precentral gyrus/primary motor area
Sensory input is integrated at a number levels of the nervous system and the motor responses are initiated. Different parts of the nervous system are responsible for different motor responses that are involved in motor control:
• Spinal cord simple reflexes; execution of movements
• Brain stem and basal ganglia more complicated responses (eg balance); affects spinal cord for producing a change in automatic movements; provides ‘background’ contractions of muscles for support of body against gravity
• Cerebrum most complicated responses (eg skilled voluntary movements); motor, sensory and association areas initiate chain of commands (may be modified by lower centres)
• Cerebellum responsible for overall planning and timing to produce co-ordinated movements
Central Pattern Generator (CPG):
Neuronal circuits that generate co-ordinated neural activity for patterned repetitive movements in the absence of sensory input (eg breathing, locomotion, chewing). CPG do not need sensory input to produce an oscillatory output, its activity can be affected by sensory input.
Motor learning is the establishment of a permanent change in a motor process that occurs with practice. It is the modification that occurs in motor behaviour or an improvement in the proficiency of a motor skill due to experience or practice.