Explaining Individual Differences in Motor Behavior by Intrinsic Functional Connectivity and Corticospinal Excitability

Jasmine Herszage, Eran Dayan, Haggai Sharon, Nitzan Censor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Motor performance varies substantially between individuals. This variance is rooted in individuals’ innate motor abilities, and should thus have a neural signature underlying these differences in behavior. Could these individual differences be detectable with neural measurements acquired at rest? Here, we tested the hypothesis that motor performance can be predicted by resting motor-system functional connectivity and motor-evoked-potentials (MEPs) induced by non-invasive brain stimulation. Twenty healthy right handed subjects performed structural and resting-state fMRI scans. On a separate day, MEPs were measured using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the contrateral primary motor cortex (M1). At the end of the session, participants performed a finger-tapping task using their left non-dominant hand. Resting-state functional connectivity between the contralateral M1 and the supplementary motor area (SMA) predicted motor task performance, indicating that individuals with stronger resting M1-SMA functional connectivity exhibit better motor performance. This prediction was neither improved nor reduced by the addition of corticospinal excitability to the model. These results confirm that motor behavior can be predicted from neural measurements acquired prior to task performance, primarily relying on resting functional connectivity rather than corticospinal excitability. The ability to predict motor performance from resting neural markers, provides an opportunity to identify the extent of successful rehabilitation following neurological damage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number76
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
StatePublished - 5 Feb 2020


FundersFunder number
United States - Israel Binational Science Foundation
United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation2016058
Israel Science Foundation526/17
Colton Foundation
Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center


    • excitability
    • functional connectivity
    • individual differences
    • motor skill
    • motor-evoked-potentials
    • transcranial magnetic stimulation


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