It has been proposed that the premotor cortex plays a role in the selection of motor programs based on environmental context. To test this hypothesis, we recorded the activity of single neurons as monkeys learned visuomotor associations. The hypothesis predicts that task- related premotor cortical activity before learning should differ from that afterward. We found that a substantial population of premotor cortex neurons, over half of those adequately tested, showed the predicted learning-dependent changes in activity. The present findings support a role for premotor cortex in motor preparation, generally, and suggest a specific role in the selection of movements on the basis of arbitrary associations.