The present study aimed at determining the distribution and somatotopical organization of striatal activation during performance of simple motor tasks. Ten right-handed healthy volunteers were studied by using a 3-T whole-body magnetic resonance unit and echo planar imaging. The tasks consisted of self-paced flexion/extension of the right fingers or toes. Motor activation was found mainly in the putamen posterior to the anterior commissure (10 of 10 subjects) and the globus pallidus (6 subjects), whereas the caudate nucleus was activated in only 3 subjects, and in a smaller area. Thus, performance of a simple motor task activated the sensorimotor territory of the basal ganglia. Within the putamen, there was a somatotopical organization of the foot and hand areas similar to that observed in nonhuman primates. These data suggest that functional magnetic resonance imaging can be used to study normal function of the basal ganglia and should therefore also allow investigation of patients with movement disorders.