Context-dependent modulation of movement-related discharge in the primate globus pallidus.
1. The directional variation of kinematic and electromyographic (EMG) characteristics of two-joint arm movements made to targets in a two-dimensional work space was studied in monkeys trained to make targeted arm movements under different behavioral conditions. 2. In each animal, kinematic measures of movement (movement amplitude, movement time, peak velocity, and trajectory curvature) and endpoint spatial position within the target zone varied as a function of the direction of the target from the starting position. Movements made toward the body into the ipsilateral hemispace generally had the smallest amplitude, lowest peak velocity, and longest movement time. 3. Although the directional variation in peak velocity could partially be accounted for by predicted anisotropies in the inertial load imposed by the arm, deviations from these predictions suggest that movement amplitude is controlled more rigorously by the CNS. Adjustments in movement time may be used to compensate for inertial anisotropies. 4. The spatial characteristics of movements (amplitude, trajectory curvature, or endpoint error) were influenced little by the visibility of the target during movement, the advanced knowledge of target location, or the presence or absence of an external trigger cue. However, temporal characteristics (movement time, peak velocity, and for some animals, reaction time) varied more as sensory cues were changed. 5. The time of initial EMG activity in muscles acting around the shoulder varied systematically as a function of target direction. A cosine model accounted for a large fraction of the variability in initial onset time, as determined in a trial-by-trial analysis. The amplitude of the EMG activity was more narrowly tuned, however. Muscles acting at the elbow showed less activity and more variable directional tuning. 6. We conclude that directional variations in the kinematic characteristics of movement, and thus, the dynamic force requirements of the task, must be taken into consideration as contributors to the apparent directional coding described for neuronal populations in different portions of the CNS.