The Basal Ganglia Control the Detailed Kinematics of Learned Motor Skills

The basal ganglia are known to mediate action selection, but whether and how they contribute to specifying the kinematics of learned motor skills is not understood. We probed this question by recording and manipulating basal ganglia activity in rats trained to generate complex task-specific movement patterns with rich kinematic structure. We found that the basal ganglia circuit is crucial for generating the detailed movement patterns underlying the acquired motor skills. These results extend our understanding of the basal ganglia by showing that they can specify and control the fine-grained details of learned motor skills through their interactions with lower-level motor circuits.

PI : Dr. Ashesh Dhawale (Webpage)