Research Topic

Mechanisms Underlying the Interplay Between Cognition and Motor Control: From Bench to Bedside

About this Research Topic

Most daily life activities, such as grocery shopping, require well-orchestrated movements - to progress around the store and fill in the shopping cart - and a fine analysis of the value of alternatives in regards of ongoing goals - to pick the most relevant goods. Hence, there is a permanent crosstalk between our movements and the cognitive processes supporting and directing our decisions and control strategies. From an evolutionary perspective, producing movements is the driving principle of cognition because movements are the only way we have to interact with the world.

Over the past decades, there has been an impressive accrual of data in favour of a strong neural interplay between cognition and motor control, suggesting that the role of the motor system may go far beyond the mere execution of actions. As such, cognitive activities, such as resisting impulses through inhibitory control, seeking for reward, calculating, observing or imagining an action, directing attention or non-attention, can activate the motor system selectively and integrate it in larger cognitive networks in an orchestrated way. These findings have led to an “embodied” or “sensorimotor” account of cognition.

Patient work further supports a strong interplay between cognition and motor control. Disorders labeled as cognitive (or psychiatric), such as schizophrenia, Tourette or ADHD, may come along with some more subtle comorbid motor symptoms and cognitive symptomatology impacts on motor function and recovery after a stroke or traumatic brain injury. Conversely, movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease or dystonia, are not exempt of cognitive impairments. For instance, some Parkinson’s disease patients may develop impulse control disorders and dyskinesia jointly after chronic dopamine replacement therapy.

This Research Topic aims at bringing together basic research on the computational, functional and neural principles underlying the inter-dependency of cognition and motor control in humans, as it normally occurs in everyday life, when interacting with our environment and acquiring new skills. In particular, studies aimed at addressing the causal role of the motor system to cognitive functions as well as investigations of the contribution of cognition to motor performance are welcome. Such an integrative approach of human behaviour will offer a new framework to understand the mechanisms underlying cognitive and motor comorbidities; submission of studies that directly address these comorbidities are encouraged. Finally, any work aiming at better characterizing the sensorimotor resonance of altered cognitive functions in clinical populations are suitable for the current topic as they pave the way towards the development of sensorimotor biomarkers of cognitive functions.

The following Article Types are encouraged: Original Research, Review, Brief Research Report, Mini Review, Perspective.


Keywords: movement, impulse control, transcranial magnetic stimulation, biomarker, comorbidity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Most daily life activities, such as grocery shopping, require well-orchestrated movements - to progress around the store and fill in the shopping cart - and a fine analysis of the value of alternatives in regards of ongoing goals - to pick the most relevant goods. Hence, there is a permanent crosstalk between our movements and the cognitive processes supporting and directing our decisions and control strategies. From an evolutionary perspective, producing movements is the driving principle of cognition because movements are the only way we have to interact with the world.

Over the past decades, there has been an impressive accrual of data in favour of a strong neural interplay between cognition and motor control, suggesting that the role of the motor system may go far beyond the mere execution of actions. As such, cognitive activities, such as resisting impulses through inhibitory control, seeking for reward, calculating, observing or imagining an action, directing attention or non-attention, can activate the motor system selectively and integrate it in larger cognitive networks in an orchestrated way. These findings have led to an “embodied” or “sensorimotor” account of cognition.

Patient work further supports a strong interplay between cognition and motor control. Disorders labeled as cognitive (or psychiatric), such as schizophrenia, Tourette or ADHD, may come along with some more subtle comorbid motor symptoms and cognitive symptomatology impacts on motor function and recovery after a stroke or traumatic brain injury. Conversely, movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease or dystonia, are not exempt of cognitive impairments. For instance, some Parkinson’s disease patients may develop impulse control disorders and dyskinesia jointly after chronic dopamine replacement therapy.

This Research Topic aims at bringing together basic research on the computational, functional and neural principles underlying the inter-dependency of cognition and motor control in humans, as it normally occurs in everyday life, when interacting with our environment and acquiring new skills. In particular, studies aimed at addressing the causal role of the motor system to cognitive functions as well as investigations of the contribution of cognition to motor performance are welcome. Such an integrative approach of human behaviour will offer a new framework to understand the mechanisms underlying cognitive and motor comorbidities; submission of studies that directly address these comorbidities are encouraged. Finally, any work aiming at better characterizing the sensorimotor resonance of altered cognitive functions in clinical populations are suitable for the current topic as they pave the way towards the development of sensorimotor biomarkers of cognitive functions.

The following Article Types are encouraged: Original Research, Review, Brief Research Report, Mini Review, Perspective.


Keywords: movement, impulse control, transcranial magnetic stimulation, biomarker, comorbidity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 March 2021 Abstract
31 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 March 2021 Abstract
31 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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