Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
In coordination dynamics, rate is a nonspecific control parameter that alters the stability of behavioral patterns and leads to spontaneous pattern switching. We used fMRI in conjunction with measures of effective connectivity to investigate the neural basis of behavioral dynamics by examining two coordination patterns known to be differentially stable (synchronization and syncopation) across a range of rates (0.75 to 1.75 Hz). Activity in primary auditory and motor cortices increased linearly with rate, independent of coordination pattern. On the contrary, activity in a premotor–cerebellar circuit varied directly with the stability of the collective variable (relative phase) that specifies coordinated behavioral patterns. Connectivity between premotor and motor cortices was also modulated by the stability of the behavioral pattern indicative of greater reliance on sensorimotor integration as action becomes more variable. By establishing a critical connection between behavioral and large scale brain dynamics, these findings reveal a basic principle for the neural organization underlying coordinated action.