The premotor cortex is an area of the brain located
important role in motor planning (e.g., selecting the
movements to be executed). The prefrontal cortex is
an area in the front part of the brain (known as the
frontal lobes) that mediates personality expression
and executive functioning (higher level thinking
skills). The premotor cortex is also part of the frontal
Directly above the premotor cortex is the supplemental motor area, which also plays an
important role in motor planning. The premotor cortex has connections with the prefrontal
and helps control movements in the trunk muscles of the body.
There are different areas of the premotor cortex, which perform different functions. There
is an upper part known as the dorsal region and a lower part known as the ventral region.
Each of these areas can be further subdivided into frontal and posterior (back) regions.
Although the premotor cortex is most known for motor planning, other roles include guiding
movements spatially, sensory guidance of movements (such as in response to verbal
instruction), understanding the actions of others, and using abstract rules to perform
tasks. The latter is why connections to the prefrontal cortex are important because the
prefrontal cortex helps with abstract thinking.
Damage to the premotor cortex can cause spasticity (increased
muscles tone causing tightness), increased deep tendon reflexes (a
shortening of a stretched muscle that is caused by a sharp tap), and
premotor cortex is also known as the premotor area and the
agranular cortex of Brodmann's area 6. Brodmann's areas are 47
different brain regions located on a map of the brain created by the
German anatomist, Korbinian Brodmann. The premotor cortex is so-
named because it is located before the primary motor cortex. The
primary motor cortex is the last section of the frontal lobe and
controls motor movements (particularly simple movements) on the
opposite side of the body.
Premotor cortex comes from the Latin word "prae," meaning "before," the Latin word “motor” meaning “to
move,” and the Latin word “cortex” meaing “bark.” Put the words together and you get “to move before
bark.” The word bark is used because just like the bark in the outer part of a tree, the cortex is the outer
part of the brain.