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Primary Motor Cortex

  1. Jerome N. Sanes

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0707

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Sanes, J. N. 2010. Primary Motor Cortex. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


The primary motor cortex represents a principal component of sensory motor integration implemented in the brain. Motor cortex has the fundamental function to control voluntary movements, including integration of motor commands with the ongoing somatic sensory state of the body. To accomplish this function, primary motor cortex receives information from sensory, motor-related, and associative cortical and subcortical brain areas and sends massive output monosynaptically to the spinal cord, especially to alpha-motor neurons that couple to muscles. From classical perspectives, the primary motor cortex functions as the final cortical output for already processed movement commands, relaying signals from premotor cerebral cortical sites to the spinal cord. Recent evidence, however, indicates more complex and crucial roles for primary motor cortex in processing motor-related information.


  • brain;
  • cortex;
  • motor cortex;
  • neuroscience