Effect of Painful Electrical Stimuli on Readiness Potential in the Human Brain

Dilek B., Osumi M., Nobusako S., ERDOĞAN S. B., Morioka S.

Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, vol.53, no.2, pp.114-123, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 53 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/15500594211030137
  • Journal Name: Clinical EEG and Neuroscience
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.114-123
  • Keywords: readiness potential, pain, electroencephalography, event-related potentials, electrical stimulation
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: No


The readiness potential (RP), which is a slow negative electrical brain potential that occurs before voluntary movement, can be interpreted as a measure of intrinsic brain activity originating from self-regulating mechanisms. Early and late components of the RP may indicate clinical-neurophysiological features such as motivation, preparation, intention, and initiation of voluntary movements. In the present study, we hypothesized that electrical pain stimuli modulate the preparatory brain activity for movement. The grand average evoked potentials were measured at sensory motor regions with EEG during an experimental protocol consisting of painful and nonpainful stimuli. Our results demonstrated that painful stimuli were preceded by an enhanced RP when compared to non-painful stimuli at the Cz channel (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the mean amplitude of the RP at the early phase was significantly higher for the painful stimuli when compared to the non-painful stimuli (p < 0.05). Our results indicate that electrical painful stimuli, which can be considered as an unpleasant and stressful condition, modulate the motor preparation at sensory motor regions to a different extent when compared to non-painful electrical stimuli. Since early component of the RP represents cortical activation due to anticipation of the stimuli and the allocation of attentional resources, our results suggest that painful stimuli may affect the motor preparation processes and the prediction of the movement at the cortical level.