Successful models of movement should encompass the flexibility of the human motor system to execute movements under different contexts. One such context-dependent modulation is proactive inhibition, a type of behavioural inhibition concerned with responding with restraint. Whilst movement has classically been modelled as a rise-to-threshold process, there exists a lack of empirical evidence for this in limb movements. Alternatively, the dynamical systems view conceptualises activity during motor preparation as setting the initial state of a dynamical system, that evolves into the movement upon receipt of a trigger. We tested these models by measuring how proactive inhibition influenced movement preparation and execution in humans. We changed the orientation (PA: postero-anterior and AP: antero-posterior flowing currents) and pulse width (120 us and 30 us) of motor cortex transcranial magnetic stimulation to probe different corticospinal interneuron circuits. PA and AP interneuron circuits represent the dimensions of a state space upon which motor cortex activity unfolds during motor preparation and execution. AP30 inputs were inhibited at the go cue, regardless of proactive inhibition, whereas PA120 inputs scaled inversely with the probability of successful inhibition. When viewed through a rise-to-threshold model, proactive inhibition was implemented by delaying the trigger to move, suggesting that motor preparation and execution are independent. A dynamical systems perspective showed that proactive inhibition was marked by a shift in the distribution of interneuron networks (trajectories) during movement execution, despite normalisation for reaction time. Viewing data through the rise-to-threshold and dynamical systems models reveal complimentary mechanisms by which proactive inhibition is implemented.
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