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<p class="first" id="d2964880e67">Neurons in motor cortex and connected brain regions
fire in anticipation of specific
movements, long before movement occurs. This neural activity reflects internal processes
by which the brain plans and executes volitional movements. The study of motor planning
offers an opportunity to understand how the structure and dynamics of neural circuits
support persistent internal states and how these states influence behavior. Recent
advances in large-scale neural recordings are beginning to decipher the relationship
of the dynamics of populations of neurons during motor planning and movements. New
behavioral tasks in rodents, together with quantified perturbations, link dynamics
in specific nodes of neural circuits to behavior. These studies reveal a neural network
distributed across multiple brain regions that collectively supports motor planning.
We review recent advances and highlight areas where further work is needed to achieve
a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying motor planning and related cognitive