UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Willed action: preparation, initiation, inhibition

Cognitive-Motor Neuroscience Group


Lab Head:  Professor Marjan Jahanshahi

Willed actions are purposeful goal-directed behaviours which are largely internally generated. We have proposed that willed actions are mediated by the fronto-striatal circuits, and that the willed action system has generality across ‘what to do’ ‘when to do’, and ‘whether or not to act’ decisions in the motor, cognitive and affective domains (Jahanshahi & Frith, 1998).

Examples of relevant publications

Jahanshahi M Brown RG & Marsden CD (1992) Simple and choice reaction time and the use of advance information for motor preparation in Parkinson's disease. Brain, 115, 539-564.

Jahanshahi M Jenkins HI Brown RG Marsden CD Passingham RE Brooks CD (1995) Self-initiated versus externally-triggered movements: I. An investigation using regional cerebral blood flow and movement-related potentials in normals and in patients with Parkinson's disease. Brain, 118, 913-933.

Jahanshahi M Frith CD (1998) Willed action and its impairments. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 15, 483-534.

Jenkins HI Jahanshahi M Jueptner M Passingham RE Brooks CD (2000) Self-initiated versus externally-triggered movements: II. The effects of stimulus predictability studied with PET. Brain, 123, 1216-1228.

Jahanshahi M Dirnberger G Fuller R Frith CD (2000) The role of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in random number generation: A study with positron emission tomography. Neuroimage, 12, 713-725.

Jahanshahi M Profice P Brown RG Ridding MC Dirnberger G Rothwell JC (1998) The effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex on suppression of habitual counting during random number generation. Brain, 121, 1533-1544. 

Dirnberger G Frith CD Jahanshahi M (2005) Executive dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease is associated with altered pallidal–frontal processing NeuroImage, 25, 588-599

Jahanshahi et al (1995) Brain, 118, 913-933