Brain circuits for the internal monitoring of movements.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats


Citation Stats


Each movement we make activates our own sensory receptors, thus causing a problem for the brain: the spurious, movement-related sensations must be discriminated from the sensory inputs that really matter, those representing our environment. Here we consider circuits for solving this problem in the primate brain. Such circuits convey a copy of each motor command, known as a corollary discharge (CD), to brain regions that use sensory input. In the visual system, CD signals may help to produce a stable visual percept from the jumpy images resulting from our rapid eye movements. A candidate pathway for providing CD for vision ascends from the superior colliculus to the frontal cortex in the primate brain. This circuit conveys warning signals about impending eye movements that are used for planning subsequent movements and analyzing the visual world. Identifying this circuit has provided a model for studying CD in other primate sensory systems and may lead to a better understanding of motor and mental disorders.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Sommer, Marc A, and Robert H Wurtz (2008). Brain circuits for the internal monitoring of movements. Annu Rev Neurosci, 31. pp. 317–338. 10.1146/annurev.neuro.31.060407.125627 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Marc A. Sommer

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

We study circuits for cognition. Using a combination of neurophysiology and biomedical engineering, we focus on the interaction between brain areas during visual perception, decision-making, and motor planning. Specific projects include the role of frontal cortex in metacognition, the role of cerebellar-frontal circuits in action timing, the neural basis of "good enough" decision-making (satisficing), and the neural mechanisms of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.