Cerebral cortical dynamics and the quality of motor behavior during social evaluative challenge

Jeremy C. Rietschel, Ronald N. Goodman, Bradley R. King, Li Chuan Lo, Jose L. Contreras Vidal, Bradley D. Hatfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


To determine the influence of arousal on cerebral cortical dynamics and motor behavior, 58 channels of EEG were recorded in 13 college-age men (n=6) and women during an aiming task performed alone and in a social evaluation condition. Moderate arousal, as measured by heart rate, skin conductance, and self-reported mood, was induced during the social evaluation. In accord with the Yerkes-Dodson Hypothesis, which posits optimal performance during moderate arousal, improved performance (i.e., quality of the aiming trajectories) was observed. During social evaluation, changes in electroencephalogram dynamics included decreased coherence between the motor planning (Fz) and right temporal region (T4), increased coherence in the sensorimotor networks subserving the task, and increased local processing (gamma, 30-44 Hz) in the temporal regions. The results imply that moderate arousal promotes specific alterations in cortical dynamics that facilitate motor performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-487
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


  • Arousal
  • Competition
  • EEG coherence
  • Motor performance
  • Social evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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