I heard somewhere that when we want to do a repetitive movement of one finger (ex the index) . Our brain (in a very crude way) sends a first message to move all the fingers, and then a second message to hold the fingers that we don't want to move.

The person who said it, was explaining about brain evolution and the fact that the old reptilian part of our brain is the one that send the first message and the higher brain sends the second message.

So is that true ? If so, do other parts of our brain work like that too? For example more complex behaviors, like sexual mate choice?


1 Answer 1


The body indeed uses lateral inhibition / surround inhibition. When using a muscle, neighbouring muscles are sometimes activated to. So active muscles are excited while nearby muscles are (partially) inhibited (Beck and Hallet 2011)

This surround inhibition is true for fingers (Sohn and Hallet 2004).

  • $\begingroup$ It would be good if you could add a reference stating that indeed each finger is associated with a single 'independent' homonculus. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Nov 29, 2017 at 21:57
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the comment @Remi.b . I went on google and found new information stating that the finger theory might be true. Will update my post.. $\endgroup$
    – Dwarz
    Nov 29, 2017 at 22:05
  • $\begingroup$ @tocka This is an entirely different question. You might want to keep it for a different post. Don't forget that you will need to provide reference for the claims on which your question will be based and to make sure to correctly define the behaviours of interest. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Nov 29, 2017 at 23:39

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