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New research shows that motion and emotion and planning are linked in the brain : Shots

A study by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has found that previously overlooked areas of the brain’s motor cortex appear to link control of specific muscles with information about the entire body and brain, suggesting that the act of reaching for a cup of coffee can directly influence blood pressure and heart rate. The finding involves a strip of brain tissue called the primary motor cortex. As its name suggests, this area is considered the main source of signals that control voluntary movements. The team began analyzing fMRI data collected by other groups and found that there was important areas between Penfield’s sections. These areas of cortex had lots of connections, but not to muscles. At first, Gordon doubted what he was seeing but the team confirmed their findings. They found that the ribbon of motor cortex contained alternating areas: one for fine control of a specific muscle, then another keeping track of the entire body. The study suggests that the same ribbon of brain tissue involved in a movement like standing up would be connected to all those other brain areas. A system that weaves together movement and mental states could also explain why a person’s posture changes with their mood, or why exercise tends to make people feel better.

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