Motor imagery (MI) relies on the mental simulation of an action without any overt motor execution (ME), and can facilitate motor learning and enhance the effect of rehabilitation in patients with neurological conditions. While functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during MI and ME reveals shared cortical representations, the role and functional relevance of the resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) of brain regions involved in MI is yet unknown. Here, we performed resting-state fMRI followed by fMRI during ME and MI with the dominant hand. We used a behavioral chronometry test to measure ME and MI movement duration and compute an index of performance (IP). Then, we analyzed the voxel-matched correlation between the individual MI parameter estimates and seed-based RSFC maps in the MI network to measure the correspondence between RSFC and MI fMRI activation. We found that inter-individual differences in intrinsic connectivity in the MI network predicted several clusters of activation. Taken together, present findings provide first evidence that RSFC within the MI network is predictive of the activation of MI brain regions, including those associated with behavioral performance, thus suggesting a role for RSFC in obtaining a deeper understanding of neural substrates of MI and of MI ability. Hum Brain Mapp 37:3847–3857, 2016.
- functional connectivity
- motor imagery