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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 269120, 7 pages
Research Article

Activation of the Prefrontal Cortex While Performing a Task at Preferred Slow Pace and Metronome Slow Pace: A Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Study

Department of Rehabilitation, Gunma University Graduate School of Health Sciences, 3-39-22 Showa, Maebashi, Gunma 371-8514, Japan

Received 9 May 2014; Revised 28 September 2014; Accepted 3 October 2014; Published 10 November 2014

Academic Editor: Małgorzata Kossut

Copyright © 2014 Kaori Shimoda et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Individuals have a preferred pace at which they perform voluntary repetitive movements. Previous studies have reported that greater activation of the prefrontal cortex was observed during self-initiated movements than during externally triggered movements. The purpose of the present study is to compare the activation of the prefrontal cortex induced when the subjects performed a peg-board task at their preferred slow pace (PSP, the self-initiated condition) with that induced when they performed the same task at metronome slow pace (MSP, the externally triggered condition) using functional near-infrared spectroscopy. Healthy subjects performed the task while sitting in a chair. By assessing the activated channels individually, we confirmed that all of the prefrontal regions of interest were activated by both tasks. In the second-level analyses, we found that the activation detected in the frontopolar cortex (FPPFC; Brodmann area 10) was higher during the PSP task than during the MSP task. The FPPFC is known to be at the top of prefrontal hierarchy, and specifically involved in evaluating self-generated information. In addition, the FPPFC plays a role in coordinating lateral prefrontal cortex. In the present study, the subjects evaluated and managed the internally generated PSP by coordinating the activity of other lower level prefrontal regions.