EEG neural correlates of goal-directed movement intention

Joana Pereira, Patrick Ofner, Andreas Schwarz, Andreea Ioana Sburlea, Gernot Müller-Putz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using low-frequency time-domain electroencephalographic (EEG) signals we show, for the same type of upper limb movement, that goal-directed movements have different neural correlates than movements without a particular goal. In a reach-and-touch task, we explored the differences in the movement-related cortical potentials (MRCPs) between goal-directed and non-goal-directed movements. We evaluated if the detection of movement intention was influenced by the goal-directedness of the movement. In a single-trial classification procedure we found that classification accuracies are enhanced if there is a goal-directed movement in mind. Furthermore, by using the classifier patterns and estimating the corresponding brain sources, we show the importance of motor areas and the additional involvement of the posterior parietal lobule in the discrimination between goal-directed movements and non-goal-directed movements. We discuss next the potential contribution of our results on goal-directed movements to a more reliable brain-computer interface (BCI) control that facilitates recovery in spinal-cord injured or stroke end-users.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129–140
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • Brain-Computer Interface (BCI),
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • goal-directed movement
  • low-frequency
  • movement-related cortical potential (MRCP)
  • brain sources


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