Age effects on the asymmetry of the motor system: Evidence from cortical oscillatory activity

Antonino Vallesi, Anthony R. McIntosh, Natasa Kovacevic, Chi Chung Chan, Donald T. Stuss

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Functional hemispheric asymmetry can be lost with aging. In this electroencephalographic study, we assessed hemispheric asymmetries in regulating motor responses by analyzing oscillatory brain activity during a go/nogo task in younger and older right-handed participants. Three conditions were embedded in the task: go, high-conflict and low-conflict nogo. The hand used to respond to go stimuli was varied block-wise. Independently of the go/nogo conditions and responding hand, young participants showed asymmetric desynchronizations in the mu (10. Hz) and beta (18-22. Hz) frequency bands that was stronger in the scalp sensorimotor region contralateral to the hand used for the go responses, while older adults showed a more symmetric pattern of desynchronization. These findings indicate that a loss of hemispheric asymmetry is a hallmark of the aging motor system, consistent with a decline of inter-hemispheric motor inhibition in normal aging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-218
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010


  • Event-related desynchronization
  • Go/nogo
  • Hemispheric asymmetry
  • Motor system
  • Normal aging
  • Time-frequency analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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