Active neural coordination of motor behaviors with internal states

Yisi S. Zhang, Daniel Y. Takahashi, Ahmed El Hady, Diana A. Liao, Asif A. Ghazanfar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The brain continuously coordinates skeletomuscular movements with internal physiological states like arousal, but how is this coordination achieved? One possibility is that the brain simply reacts to changes in external and/or internal signals. Another possibility is that it is actively coordinating both external and internal activities. We used functional ultrasound imaging to capture a large medial section of the brain, including multiple cortical and subcortical areas, in marmoset monkeys while monitoring their spontaneous movements and cardiac activity. By analyzing the causal ordering of these different time series, we found that information flowing from the brain to movements and heart-rate fluctuations were significantly greater than in the opposite direction. The brain areas involved in this external versus internal coordination were spatially distinct, but also extensively interconnected. Temporally, the brain alternated between network states for this regulation. These findings suggest that the brain's dynamics actively and efficiently coordinate motor behavior with internal physiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2201194119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number39
StatePublished - Sep 27 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • arousal
  • brain fluctuation
  • functional ultrasound imaging
  • information flow
  • spontaneous behavior


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