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Attention to intention.

Intention is central to the concept of voluntary action. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we compared conditions in which participants made self-paced actions and attended either to their intention to move or to the actual movement. When they attended to their intention rather than their movement, there was an enhancement of activity in the pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA). We also found activations in the right dorsal prefrontal cortex and left intraparietal cortex. Prefrontal activity, but not parietal activity, was more strongly coupled with activity in the pre-SMA. We conclude that activity in the pre-SMA reflects the representation of intention.

Pubmed ID: 14976320


  • Lau HC
  • Rogers RD
  • Haggard P
  • Passingham RE


Science (New York, N.Y.)

Publication Data

February 20, 2004

Associated Grants


Mesh Terms

  • Attention
  • Brain
  • Brain Mapping
  • Gyrus Cinguli
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Motor Activity
  • Motor Cortex
  • Parietal Lobe
  • Prefrontal Cortex
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Time Factors