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The premotor cortex is an area of the motor cortex just anterior to the primary cortex. Although like the primary motor cortex, it sends direct projections to the spinal cord, the premotor cortex is primarily involved in the planning of actions.
Dorsal premotor cortex (PMd) is thought to be involved in making somatomotor decisions. Chandrasekaran et al. investigated the temporal response dynamics of PMd neurons across cortical layers and show stronger and earlier decision-related responses in the superficial layers and more action execution-related signals in the deeper layers.
Thalamic neurons show selective persistent activity that predicts movement direction, and their photoinhibition decreases activity in the anterior lateral motor cortex, and vice versa, suggesting that persistent activity requires reciprocal excitation in a thalamocortical loop.
A study finds that, during movement preparation, when motor cortex is active, but elicits no muscle output, firing of individual neurons in dorsal premotor and primary motor cortex cancels out at the level of population activity.