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20 February 2017 /

Special issue of JINS sheds light on motor cognition

A new special issue of the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society (JINS) focuses on new research in motor cognition - a field broadly concerned with understanding action representations and associated higher mental processes.

The range of studies within the special issue covers topics including pre-clinical diagnostics of neurodegenerative conditions, the cognitive processes behind transitive gestures, and the neurobehavioral mechanisms of limb apraxia.

Although a great deal of human motor function is instinctive, throughout the course of a life a large amount of motor information must be learned, remembered and flexibly adapted to interact with the ever-changing conditions of our environment. How this information is assembled, stored, (re)activated, and executed has been been subject to fascinating research studies. Over the last decade in particular there has been a steady rise in scholarly interest in the neurobehavioral correlates of motor cognition, which this issue of JINS highlights.

Two studies in this issue demonstrate the sensitivity of cognitive-motor measures for premanifest detection of Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease - two well-known neurodegenerative disorders of the basal ganglia that are characterized by dramatic motor disturbances. In the first, García and colleagues explore whether language deficits are a precursor of Parkinson's disease (PD), and found that parkin or dardarin mutations may be a risk factor for clinical PD.

In the second, Misiura and colleagues aim to identify the relationships between preclinical phenotype variables in prodromal Huntington's disease. Their results showed that smaller caudate and putamen volumes were related to representing motor symptoms, cognitive control and verbal learning, indicating that cognitive control is sensitive to basal ganglia changes that remain uncaptured by examining only motor scores.

A paper by Przybylski and Króliczak investigated whether the praxis representation network of the left hemisphere supports the planning of tool grasping - otherwise known as transitive gestures - which is an important part of action repertoires. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), they found no difference of hand-effector on the activated network, planning functional grasps (tools) showed a significantly more asymmetrical activation of the left hemisphere praxis representation network than did planning of non-functional grasps (non-tools).

Three other papers focus on the neurobehavioral mechanisms of limb apraxia, looking at clinical diagnostic methods and other assessment strategies, such as imitation or actual tool use, while two look at pantomime and its complex relationship with imitation and actual use.

These studies contribute significant growth in the field of motor cognition, in scope of diagnostics, management and recognition. 

The entire issue is freely available to all until March 31, 2017.  Click here for immediate access.


Notes to editors
For further information, please contact Joon Won Moon via

About the  Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society (JINS)
JINS  is the official journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, an organization of over 3,700 international members from a variety of disciplines. Our editorial board is comprised of internationally known experts with a broad range of interests. JINS publishes empirically-based articles covering all areas of neuropsychology and the interface of neuropsychology with other areas, such as cognitive neuroscience. Theoretically driven work that has clinical implications is of particular interest.

About Cambridge University Press

Cambridge University Press is part of the University of Cambridge. It furthers the University's mission by disseminating knowledge in the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence.

Its extensive peer-reviewed publishing lists comprise 50,000 titles covering academic research and professional development, as well as school-level education and English language teaching.

Playing a leading role in today's international marketplace, Cambridge University Press has more than 50 offices around the globe, and it distributes its products to nearly every country in the world.

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