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Sample records for learning motor tasks

  1. Individual differences in implicit motor learning: task specificity in sensorimotor adaptation and sequence learning.

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    Stark-Inbar, Alit; Raza, Meher; Taylor, Jordan A; Ivry, Richard B

    2017-01-01

    In standard taxonomies, motor skills are typically treated as representative of implicit or procedural memory. We examined two emblematic tasks of implicit motor learning, sensorimotor adaptation and sequence learning, asking whether individual differences in learning are correlated between these tasks, as well as how individual differences within each task are related to different performance variables. As a prerequisite, it was essential to establish the reliability of learning measures for each task. Participants were tested twice on a visuomotor adaptation task and on a sequence learning task, either the serial reaction time task or the alternating reaction time task. Learning was evident in all tasks at the group level and reliable at the individual level in visuomotor adaptation and the alternating reaction time task but not in the serial reaction time task. Performance variability was predictive of learning in both domains, yet the relationship was in the opposite direction for adaptation and sequence learning. For the former, faster learning was associated with lower variability, consistent with models of sensorimotor adaptation in which learning rates are sensitive to noise. For the latter, greater learning was associated with higher variability and slower reaction times, factors that may facilitate the spread of activation required to form predictive, sequential associations. Interestingly, learning measures of the different tasks were not correlated. Together, these results oppose a shared process for implicit learning in sensorimotor adaptation and sequence learning and provide insight into the factors that account for individual differences in learning within each task domain. We investigated individual differences in the ability to implicitly learn motor skills. As a prerequisite, we assessed whether individual differences were reliable across test sessions. We found that two commonly used tasks of implicit learning, visuomotor adaptation and the

  2. Action observation versus motor imagery in learning a complex motor task: a short review of literature and a kinematics study.

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    Gatti, R; Tettamanti, A; Gough, P M; Riboldi, E; Marinoni, L; Buccino, G

    2013-04-12

    Both motor imagery and action observation have been shown to play a role in learning or re-learning complex motor tasks. According to a well accepted view they share a common neurophysiological basis in the mirror neuron system. Neurons within this system discharge when individuals perform a specific action and when they look at another individual performing the same or a motorically related action. In the present paper, after a short review of literature on the role of action observation and motor imagery in motor learning, we report the results of a kinematics study where we directly compared motor imagery and action observation in learning a novel complex motor task. This involved movement of the right hand and foot in the same angular direction (in-phase movement), while at the same time moving the left hand and foot in an opposite angular direction (anti-phase movement), all at a frequency of 1Hz. Motor learning was assessed through kinematics recording of wrists and ankles. The results showed that action observation is better than motor imagery as a strategy for learning a novel complex motor task, at least in the fast early phase of motor learning. We forward that these results may have important implications in educational activities, sport training and neurorehabilitation. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Region and task-specific activation of Arc in primary motor cortex of rats following motor skill learning.

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    Hosp, J A; Mann, S; Wegenast-Braun, B M; Calhoun, M E; Luft, A R

    2013-10-10

    Motor learning requires protein synthesis within the primary motor cortex (M1). Here, we show that the immediate early gene Arc/Arg3.1 is specifically induced in M1 by learning a motor skill. Arc mRNA was quantified using a fluorescent in situ hybridization assay in adult Long-Evans rats learning a skilled reaching task (SRT), in rats performing reaching-like forelimb movement without learning (ACT) and in rats that were trained in the operant but not the motor elements of the task (controls). Apart from M1, Arc expression was assessed within the rostral motor area (RMA), primary somatosensory cortex (S1), striatum (ST) and cerebellum. In SRT animals, Arc mRNA levels in M1 contralateral to the trained limb were 31% higher than ipsilateral (pmotor skill learning in rats. Copyright © 2013 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. High variability impairs motor learning regardless of whether it affects task performance.

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    Cardis, Marco; Casadio, Maura; Ranganathan, Rajiv

    2018-01-01

    Motor variability plays an important role in motor learning, although the exact mechanisms of how variability affects learning are not well understood. Recent evidence suggests that motor variability may have different effects on learning in redundant tasks, depending on whether it is present in the task space (where it affects task performance) or in the null space (where it has no effect on task performance). We examined the effect of directly introducing null and task space variability using a manipulandum during the learning of a motor task. Participants learned a bimanual shuffleboard task for 2 days, where their goal was to slide a virtual puck as close as possible toward a target. Critically, the distance traveled by the puck was determined by the sum of the left- and right-hand velocities, which meant that there was redundancy in the task. Participants were divided into five groups, based on both the dimension in which the variability was introduced and the amount of variability that was introduced during training. Results showed that although all groups were able to reduce error with practice, learning was affected more by the amount of variability introduced rather than the dimension in which variability was introduced. Specifically, groups with higher movement variability during practice showed larger errors at the end of practice compared with groups that had low variability during learning. These results suggest that although introducing variability can increase exploration of new solutions, this may adversely affect the ability to retain the learned solution. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We examined the role of introducing variability during motor learning in a redundant task. The presence of redundancy allows variability to be introduced in different dimensions: the task space (where it affects task performance) or the null space (where it does not affect task performance). We found that introducing variability affected learning adversely, but the amount of

  5. Task-specific effect of transcranial direct current stimulation on motor learning

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    Cinthia Maria Saucedo Marquez

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS is a relatively new non-invasive brain stimulation technique that modulates neural processes. When applied to the human primary motor cortex (M1, tDCS has beneficial effects on motor skill learning and consolidation in healthy controls and in patients. However, it remains unclear whether tDCS improves motor learning in a general manner or whether these effects depend on which motor task is acquired. Here we compare whether the effect of tDCS differs when the same individual acquires (1 a Sequential Finger Tapping Task (SEQTAP and (2 a Visual Isometric Pinch Force Task (FORCE. Both tasks have been shown to be sensitive to tDCS applied over M1, however, the underlying processes mediating learning and memory formation might benefit differently from anodal-tDCS. Thirty healthy subjects were randomly assigned to an anodal-tDCS group or sham-group. Using a double-blind, sham-controlled cross-over design, tDCS was applied over M1 while subjects acquired each of the motor tasks over 3 consecutive days, with the order being randomized across subjects. We found that anodal-tDCS affected each task differently: The SEQTAP task benefited from anodal-tDCS during learning, whereas the FORCE task showed improvements only at retention. These findings suggest that anodal tDCS applied over M1 appears to have a task-dependent effect on learning and memory formation.

  6. Learning-induced Dependence of Neuronal Activity in Primary Motor Cortex on Motor Task Condition.

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    Cai, X; Shimansky, Y; He, Jiping

    2005-01-01

    A brain-computer interface (BCI) system such as a cortically controlled robotic arm must have a capacity of adjusting its function to a specific environmental condition. We studied this capacity in non-human primates based on chronic multi-electrode recording from the primary motor cortex of a monkey during the animal's performance of a center-out 3D reaching task and adaptation to external force perturbations. The main condition-related feature of motor cortical activity observed before the onset of force perturbation was a phasic raise of activity immediately before the perturbation onset. This feature was observed during a series of perturbation trials, but were absent under no perturbations. After adaptation has been completed, it usually was taking the subject only one trial to recognize a change in the condition to switch the neuronal activity accordingly. These condition-dependent features of neuronal activity can be used by a BCI for recognizing a change in the environmental condition and making corresponding adjustments, which requires that the BCI-based control system possess such advanced properties of the neural motor control system as capacity to learn and adapt.

  7. Cortical ensemble activity increasingly predicts behaviour outcomes during learning of a motor task

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    Laubach, Mark; Wessberg, Johan; Nicolelis, Miguel A. L.

    2000-06-01

    When an animal learns to make movements in response to different stimuli, changes in activity in the motor cortex seem to accompany and underlie this learning. The precise nature of modifications in cortical motor areas during the initial stages of motor learning, however, is largely unknown. Here we address this issue by chronically recording from neuronal ensembles located in the rat motor cortex, throughout the period required for rats to learn a reaction-time task. Motor learning was demonstrated by a decrease in the variance of the rats' reaction times and an increase in the time the animals were able to wait for a trigger stimulus. These behavioural changes were correlated with a significant increase in our ability to predict the correct or incorrect outcome of single trials based on three measures of neuronal ensemble activity: average firing rate, temporal patterns of firing, and correlated firing. This increase in prediction indicates that an association between sensory cues and movement emerged in the motor cortex as the task was learned. Such modifications in cortical ensemble activity may be critical for the initial learning of motor tasks.

  8. The Effect of Haptic Guidance on Learning a Hybrid Rhythmic-Discrete Motor Task.

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    Marchal-Crespo, Laura; Bannwart, Mathias; Riener, Robert; Vallery, Heike

    2015-01-01

    Bouncing a ball with a racket is a hybrid rhythmic-discrete motor task, combining continuous rhythmic racket movements with discrete impact events. Rhythmicity is exceptionally important in motor learning, because it underlies fundamental movements such as walking. Studies suggested that rhythmic and discrete movements are governed by different control mechanisms at different levels of the Central Nervous System. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of fixed/fading haptic guidance on learning to bounce a ball to a desired apex in virtual reality with varying gravity. Changing gravity changes dominance of rhythmic versus discrete control: The higher the value of gravity, the more rhythmic the task; lower values reduce the bouncing frequency and increase dwell times, eventually leading to a repetitive discrete task that requires initiation and termination, resembling target-oriented reaching. Although motor learning in the ball-bouncing task with varying gravity has been studied, the effect of haptic guidance on learning such a hybrid rhythmic-discrete motor task has not been addressed. We performed an experiment with thirty healthy subjects and found that the most effective training condition depended on the degree of rhythmicity: Haptic guidance seems to hamper learning of continuous rhythmic tasks, but it seems to promote learning for repetitive tasks that resemble discrete movements.

  9. Enhanced motor learning following task-concurrent dual transcranial direct current stimulation.

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    Sophia Karok

    Full Text Available OBJECTIVE: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS of the primary motor cortex (M1 has beneficial effects on motor performance and motor learning in healthy subjects and is emerging as a promising tool for motor neurorehabilitation. Applying tDCS concurrently with a motor task has recently been found to be more effective than applying stimulation before the motor task. This study extends this finding to examine whether such task-concurrent stimulation further enhances motor learning on a dual M1 montage. METHOD: Twenty healthy, right-handed subjects received anodal tDCS to the right M1, dual tDCS (anodal current over right M1 and cathodal over left M1 and sham tDCS in a repeated-measures design. Stimulation was applied for 10 mins at 1.5 mA during an explicit motor learning task. Response times (RT and accuracy were measured at baseline, during, directly after and 15 mins after stimulation. Motor cortical excitability was recorded from both hemispheres before and after stimulation using single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation. RESULTS: Task-concurrent stimulation with a dual M1 montage significantly reduced RTs by 23% as early as with the onset of stimulation (p<0.01 with this effect increasing to 30% at the final measurement. Polarity-specific changes in cortical excitability were observed with MEPs significantly reduced by 12% in the left M1 and increased by 69% in the right M1. CONCLUSION: Performance improvement occurred earliest in the dual M1 condition with a stable and lasting effect. Unilateral anodal stimulation resulted only in trendwise improvement when compared to sham. Therefore, task-concurrent dual M1 stimulation is most suited for obtaining the desired neuromodulatory effects of tDCS in explicit motor learning.

  10. Not all choices are created equal: Task-relevant choices enhance motor learning compared to task-irrelevant choices.

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    Carter, Michael J; Ste-Marie, Diane M

    2017-12-01

    Lewthwaite et al. (2015) reported that the learning benefits of exercising choice (i.e., their self-controlled condition) are not restricted to task-relevant features (e.g., feedback). They found that choosing one's golf ball color (Exp. 1) or choosing which of two tasks to perform at a later time plus which of two artworks to hang (Exp. 2) resulted in better retention than did being denied these same choices (i.e., yoked condition). The researchers concluded that the learning benefits derived from choice, whether irrelevant or relevant to the to-be-learned task, are predominantly motivational because choice is intrinsically rewarding and satisfies basic psychological needs. However, the absence of a group that made task-relevant choices and the lack of psychological measures significantly weakened their conclusions. Here, we investigated how task-relevant and task-irrelevant choices affect motor-skill learning. Participants practiced a spatiotemporal motor task in either a task-relevant group (choice over feedback schedule), a task-irrelevant group (choice over the color of an arm-wrap plus game selection), or a no-choice group. The results showed significantly greater learning in the task-relevant group than in both the task-irrelevant and no-choice groups, who did not differ significantly. Critically, these learning differences were not attributed to differences in perceptions of competence or autonomy, but instead to superior error-estimation abilities. These results challenge the perspective that motivational influences are the root cause of self-controlled learning advantages. Instead, the findings add to the growing evidence highlighting that the informational value gained from task-relevant choices makes a greater relative contribution to these advantages than motivational influences do.

  11. Task Complexity Modulates Sleep-Related Offline Learning in Sequential Motor Skills

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    Klaus Blischke

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available Recently, a number of authors have advocated the introduction of gross motor tasks into research on sleep-related motor offline learning. Such tasks are often designed to be more complex than traditional key-pressing tasks. However, until now, little effort has been undertaken to scrutinize the role of task complexity in any systematic way. Therefore, the effect of task complexity on the consolidation of gross motor sequence memory was examined by our group in a series of three experiments. Criterion tasks always required participants to produce unrestrained arm movement sequences by successively fitting a small peg into target holes on a pegboard. The sequences always followed a certain spatial pattern in the horizontal plane. The targets were visualized prior to each transport movement on a computer screen. The tasks differed with respect to sequence length and structural complexity. In each experiment, half of the participants initially learned the task in the morning and were retested 12 h later following a wake retention interval. The other half of the subjects underwent practice in the evening and was retested 12 h later following a night of sleep. The dependent variables were the error rate and total sequence execution time (inverse to the sequence execution speed. Performance generally improved during acquisition. The error rate was always low and remained stable during retention. The sequence execution time significantly decreased again following sleep but not after waking when the sequence length was long and structural complexity was high. However, sleep-related offline improvements were absent when the sequence length was short or when subjects performed a highly regular movement pattern. It is assumed that the occurrence of sleep-related offline performance improvements in sequential motor tasks is associated with a sufficient amount of motor task complexity.

  12. Motor Learning of a Bimanual Task in Children with Unilateral Cerebral Palsy

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    Hung, Ya-Ching; Gordon, Andrew M.

    2013-01-01

    Children with unilateral cerebral palsy (CP) have been shown to improve their motor performance with sufficient practice. However, little is known about how they learn goal-oriented tasks. In the current study, 21 children with unilateral CP (age 4-10 years old) and 21 age-matched typically developed children (TDC) practiced a simple bimanual…

  13. Proactive and retroactive transfer of middle age adults in a sequential motor learning task

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    Verneau, M.; Kamp, J. van der; Savelsbergh, G,J.; Looze, M.P. de

    2015-01-01

    We assessed the effects of aging in the transfer of motor learning in a sequential manual assembly task that is representative for real working conditions. On two different days, young (18-30years) and middle-aged adults (50-65years) practiced to build two products that consisted of the same six

  14. Effect of Error Augmentation on Brain Activation and Motor Learning of a Complex Locomotor Task

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    Laura Marchal-Crespo

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available Up to date, the functional gains obtained after robot-aided gait rehabilitation training are limited. Error augmenting strategies have a great potential to enhance motor learning of simple motor tasks. However, little is known about the effect of these error modulating strategies on complex tasks, such as relearning to walk after a neurologic accident. Additionally, neuroimaging evaluation of brain regions involved in learning processes could provide valuable information on behavioral outcomes. We investigated the effect of robotic training strategies that augment errors—error amplification and random force disturbance—and training without perturbations on brain activation and motor learning of a complex locomotor task. Thirty-four healthy subjects performed the experiment with a robotic stepper (MARCOS in a 1.5 T MR scanner. The task consisted in tracking a Lissajous figure presented on a display by coordinating the legs in a gait-like movement pattern. Behavioral results showed that training without perturbations enhanced motor learning in initially less skilled subjects, while error amplification benefited better-skilled subjects. Training with error amplification, however, hampered transfer of learning. Randomly disturbing forces induced learning and promoted transfer in all subjects, probably because the unexpected forces increased subjects' attention. Functional MRI revealed main effects of training strategy and skill level during training. A main effect of training strategy was seen in brain regions typically associated with motor control and learning, such as, the basal ganglia, cerebellum, intraparietal sulcus, and angular gyrus. Especially, random disturbance and no perturbation lead to stronger brain activation in similar brain regions than error amplification. Skill-level related effects were observed in the IPS, in parts of the superior parietal lobe (SPL, i.e., precuneus, and temporal cortex. These neuroimaging findings

  15. Measurement of functional task difficulty during motor learning: What level of difficulty corresponds to the optimal challenge point?

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    Akizuki, Kazunori; Ohashi, Yukari

    2015-10-01

    The relationship between task difficulty and learning benefit was examined, as was the measurability of task difficulty. Participants were required to learn a postural control task on an unstable surface at one of four different task difficulty levels. Results from the retention test showed an inverted-U relationship between task difficulty during acquisition and motor learning. The second-highest level of task difficulty was the most effective for motor learning, while learning was delayed at the most and least difficult levels. Additionally, the results indicate that salivary α-amylase and the performance dimension of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration-Task Load Index (NASA-TLX) are useful indices of task difficulty. Our findings suggested that instructors may be able to adjust task difficulty based on salivary α-amylase and the performance dimension of the NASA-TLX to enhance learning. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. Effects of practice schedule and task specificity on the adaptive process of motor learning.

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    Barros, João Augusto de Camargo; Tani, Go; Corrêa, Umberto Cesar

    2017-10-01

    This study investigated the effects of practice schedule and task specificity based on the perspective of adaptive process of motor learning. For this purpose, tasks with temporal and force control learning requirements were manipulated in experiments 1 and 2, respectively. Specifically, the task consisted of touching with the dominant hand the three sequential targets with specific movement time or force for each touch. Participants were children (N=120), both boys and girls, with an average age of 11.2years (SD=1.0). The design in both experiments involved four practice groups (constant, random, constant-random, and random-constant) and two phases (stabilisation and adaptation). The dependent variables included measures related to the task goal (accuracy and variability of error of the overall movement and force patterns) and movement pattern (macro- and microstructures). Results revealed a similar error of the overall patterns for all groups in both experiments and that they adapted themselves differently in terms of the macro- and microstructures of movement patterns. The study concludes that the effects of practice schedules on the adaptive process of motor learning were both general and specific to the task. That is, they were general to the task goal performance and specific regarding the movement pattern. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  17. Task complexity and maximal isometric strength gains through motor learning

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    McGuire, Jessica; Green, Lara A.; Gabriel, David A.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract This study compared the effects of a simple versus complex contraction pattern on the acquisition, retention, and transfer of maximal isometric strength gains and reductions in force variability. A control group (N = 12) performed simple isometric contractions of the wrist flexors. An experimental group (N = 12) performed complex proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) contractions consisting of maximal isometric wrist extension immediately reversing force direction to wrist flexion within a single trial. Ten contractions were completed on three consecutive days with a retention and transfer test 2‐weeks later. For the retention test, the groups performed their assigned contraction pattern followed by a transfer test that consisted of the other contraction pattern for a cross‐over design. Both groups exhibited comparable increases in strength (20.2%, P < 0.01) and reductions in mean torque variability (26.2%, P < 0.01), which were retained and transferred. There was a decrease in the coactivation ratio (antagonist/agonist muscle activity) for both groups, which was retained and transferred (35.2%, P < 0.01). The experimental group exhibited a linear decrease in variability of the torque‐ and sEMG‐time curves, indicating transfer to the simple contraction pattern (P < 0.01). The control group underwent a decrease in variability of the torque‐ and sEMG‐time curves from the first day of training to retention, but participants returned to baseline levels during the transfer condition (P < 0.01). However, the difference between torque RMS error versus the variability in torque‐ and sEMG‐time curves suggests the demands of the complex task were transferred, but could not be achieved in a reproducible way. PMID:25428951

  18. Self-Control of Task Difficulty During Early Practice Promotes Motor Skill Learning.

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    Andrieux, Mathieu; Boutin, Arnaud; Thon, Bernard

    2016-01-01

    This study was designed to determine whether the effect of self-control of task difficulty on motor learning is a function of the period of self-control administration. In a complex anticipation-coincidence task that required participants to intercept 3 targets with a virtual racquet, the task difficulty was either self-controlled or imposed to the participants in the two phases of the acquisition session. First, the results confirmed the beneficial effects of self-control over fully prescribed conditions. Second, the authors also demonstrated that a partial self-control of task difficulty better promotes learning than does a complete self-controlled procedure. Overall, the results revealed that these benefits are increased when this choice is allowed during early practice. The findings are discussed in terms of theoretical and applied perspectives.

  19. Emergence of motor synergy in vertical reaching task via tacit learning.

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    Hayashibe, Mitsuhiro; Shimoda, Shingo

    2013-01-01

    The dynamics of multijoint limbs often causes complex dynamic interaction torques which are the inertial effect of other joints motion. It is known that Cerebellum takes important role in a motor learning by developing the internal model. In this paper, we propose a novel computational control paradigm in vertical reaching task which involves the management of interaction torques and gravitational effect. The obtained results demonstrate that the proposed method is valid for acquiring motor synergy in the system with actuation redundancy and resulted in the energy efficient solutions. It is highlighted that the tacit learning in vertical reaching task can bring computational adaptability and optimality with model-free and cost-function-free approach differently from previous studies.

  20. Sonification and haptic feedback in addition to visual feedback enhances complex motor task learning.

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    Sigrist, Roland; Rauter, Georg; Marchal-Crespo, Laura; Riener, Robert; Wolf, Peter

    2015-03-01

    Concurrent augmented feedback has been shown to be less effective for learning simple motor tasks than for complex tasks. However, as mostly artificial tasks have been investigated, transfer of results to tasks in sports and rehabilitation remains unknown. Therefore, in this study, the effect of different concurrent feedback was evaluated in trunk-arm rowing. It was then investigated whether multimodal audiovisual and visuohaptic feedback are more effective for learning than visual feedback only. Naïve subjects (N = 24) trained in three groups on a highly realistic virtual reality-based rowing simulator. In the visual feedback group, the subject's oar was superimposed to the target oar, which continuously became more transparent when the deviation between the oars decreased. Moreover, a trace of the subject's trajectory emerged if deviations exceeded a threshold. The audiovisual feedback group trained with oar movement sonification in addition to visual feedback to facilitate learning of the velocity profile. In the visuohaptic group, the oar movement was inhibited by path deviation-dependent braking forces to enhance learning of spatial aspects. All groups significantly decreased the spatial error (tendency in visual group) and velocity error from baseline to the retention tests. Audiovisual feedback fostered learning of the velocity profile significantly more than visuohaptic feedback. The study revealed that well-designed concurrent feedback fosters complex task learning, especially if the advantages of different modalities are exploited. Further studies should analyze the impact of within-feedback design parameters and the transferability of the results to other tasks in sports and rehabilitation.

  1. Cathodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Over Left Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Area Promotes Implicit Motor Learning in a Golf Putting Task.

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    Zhu, Frank F; Yeung, Andrew Y; Poolton, Jamie M; Lee, Tatia M C; Leung, Gilberto K K; Masters, Rich S W

    2015-01-01

    Implicit motor learning is characterized by low dependence on working memory and stable performance despite stress, fatigue, or multi-tasking. However, current paradigms for implicit motor learning are based on behavioral interventions that are often task-specific and limited when applied in practice. To investigate whether cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) area during motor learning suppressed working memory activity and reduced explicit verbal-analytical involvement in movement control, thereby promoting implicit motor learning. Twenty-seven healthy individuals practiced a golf putting task during a Training Phase while receiving either real cathodal tDCS stimulation over the left DLPFC area or sham stimulation. Their performance was assessed during a Test phase on another day. Verbal working memory capacity was assessed before and after the Training Phase, and before the Test Phase. Compared to sham stimulation, real stimulation suppressed verbal working memory activity after the Training Phase, but enhanced golf putting performance during the Training Phase and the Test Phase, especially when participants were required to multi-task. Cathodal tDCS over the left DLPFC may foster implicit motor learning and performance in complex real-life motor tasks that occur during sports, surgery or motor rehabilitation. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  2. Transfer of Short-Term Motor Learning across the Lower Limbs as a Function of Task Conception and Practice Order

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    Stockel, Tino; Wang, Jinsung

    2011-01-01

    Interlimb transfer of motor learning, indicating an improvement in performance with one limb following training with the other, often occurs asymmetrically (i.e., from non-dominant to dominant limb or vice versa, but not both). In the present study, we examined whether interlimb transfer of the same motor task could occur asymmetrically and in…

  3. Neuroplasticity & Motor Learning

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jensen, Jesper Lundbye

    Practice of a new motor task is usually associated with an improvement in performance. Indeed, if we stop practicing and return the next day to the same task, we find that our performance has been maintained and may even be better than it was at the start of the first day. This improvement...... is a measure of our ability to form and store a motor memory of the task. However, the initial memory of the task is labile and may be subject to interference. During and following motor learning plastic changes occur within the central nervous system. On one hand these changes are driven by motor practice......, on the other hand the changes underlie the formation of motor memory and the retention of improved motor performance. During motor learning changes may occur at many different levels within the central nervous system dependent on the type of task and training. Here, we demonstrate different studies from our...

  4. Task-specificity of unilateral anodal and dual-M1 tDCS effects on motor learning.

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    Karok, Sophia; Fletcher, David; Witney, Alice G

    2017-01-08

    Task-specific effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on motor learning were investigated in 30 healthy participants. In a sham-controlled, mixed design, participants trained on 3 different motor tasks (Purdue Pegboard Test, Visuomotor Grip Force Tracking Task and Visuomotor Wrist Rotation Speed Control Task) over 3 consecutive days while receiving either unilateral anodal over the right primary motor cortex (M1), dual-M1 or sham stimulation. Retention sessions were administered 7 and 28 days after the end of training. In the Purdue Pegboard Test, both anodal and dual-M1 stimulation reduced average completion time approximately equally, an improvement driven by online learning effects and maintained for about 1 week. The Visuomotor Grip Force Tracking Task and the Visuomotor Wrist Rotation Speed Control Task were associated with an advantage of dual-M1 tDCS in consolidation processes both between training sessions and when testing at long-term retention; both were maintained for at least 1 month. This study demonstrates that M1-tDCS enhances and sustains motor learning with different electrode montages. Stimulation-induced effects emerged at different learning phases across the tasks, which strongly suggests that the influence of tDCS on motor learning is dynamic with respect to the functional recruitment of the distributed motor system at the time of stimulation. Divergent findings regarding M1-tDCS effects on motor learning may partially be ascribed to task-specific consequences and the effects of offline consolidation. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Upper Extremity Motor Learning among Individuals with Parkinson's Disease: A Meta-Analysis Evaluating Movement Time in Simple Tasks

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    K. Felix

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Motor learning has been found to occur in the rehabilitation of individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD. Through repetitive structured practice of motor tasks, individuals show improved performance, confirming that motor learning has probably taken place. Although a number of studies have been completed evaluating motor learning in people with PD, the sample sizes were small and the improvements were variable. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to determine the ability of people with PD to learn motor tasks. Studies which measured movement time in upper extremity reaching tasks and met the inclusion criteria were included in the analysis. Results of the meta-analysis indicated that people with PD and neurologically healthy controls both demonstrated motor learning, characterized by a decrease in movement time during upper extremity movements. Movement time improvements were greater in the control group than in individuals with PD. These results support the findings that the practice of upper extremity reaching tasks is beneficial in reducing movement time in persons with PD and has important implications for rehabilitation.

  6. An investigation of fMRI time series stationarity during motor sequence learning foot tapping tasks.

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    Muhei-aldin, Othman; VanSwearingen, Jessie; Karim, Helmet; Huppert, Theodore; Sparto, Patrick J; Erickson, Kirk I; Sejdić, Ervin

    2014-04-30

    Understanding complex brain networks using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is of great interest to clinical and scientific communities. To utilize advanced analysis methods such as graph theory for these investigations, the stationarity of fMRI time series needs to be understood as it has important implications on the choice of appropriate approaches for the analysis of complex brain networks. In this paper, we investigated the stationarity of fMRI time series acquired from twelve healthy participants while they performed a motor (foot tapping sequence) learning task. Since prior studies have documented that learning is associated with systematic changes in brain activation, a sequence learning task is an optimal paradigm to assess the degree of non-stationarity in fMRI time-series in clinically relevant brain areas. We predicted that brain regions involved in a "learning network" would demonstrate non-stationarity and may violate assumptions associated with some advanced analysis approaches. Six blocks of learning, and six control blocks of a foot tapping sequence were performed in a fixed order. The reverse arrangement test was utilized to investigate the time series stationarity. Our analysis showed some non-stationary signals with a time varying first moment as a major source of non-stationarity. We also demonstrated a decreased number of non-stationarities in the third block as a result of priming and repetition. Most of the current literature does not examine stationarity prior to processing. The implication of our findings is that future investigations analyzing complex brain networks should utilize approaches robust to non-stationarities, as graph-theoretical approaches can be sensitive to non-stationarities present in data. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  7. Exploration of joint redundancy but not task space variability facilitates supervised motor learning.

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    Singh, Puneet; Jana, Sumitash; Ghosal, Ashitava; Murthy, Aditya

    2016-12-13

    The number of joints and muscles in a human arm is more than what is required for reaching to a desired point in 3D space. Although previous studies have emphasized how such redundancy and the associated flexibility may play an important role in path planning, control of noise, and optimization of motion, whether and how redundancy might promote motor learning has not been investigated. In this work, we quantify redundancy space and investigate its significance and effect on motor learning. We propose that a larger redundancy space leads to faster learning across subjects. We observed this pattern in subjects learning novel kinematics (visuomotor adaptation) and dynamics (force-field adaptation). Interestingly, we also observed differences in the redundancy space between the dominant hand and nondominant hand that explained differences in the learning of dynamics. Taken together, these results provide support for the hypothesis that redundancy aids in motor learning and that the redundant component of motor variability is not noise.

  8. Force and complexity of tongue task training influences behavioral measures of motor learning

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kothari, Mohit; Svensson, Peter; Huo, Xueliang

    2012-01-01

    Relearning of motor skills is important in neurorehabilitation. We investigated the improvement of training success during simple tongue protrusion (two force levels) and a more complex tongue-training paradigm using the Tongue Drive System (TDS). We also compared subject-based reports of fun, pain...... training influences behavioral aspects of tongue motor learning....

  9. Effects of short-term training on behavioral learning and skill acquisition during intraoral fine motor task

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kumar, Abhishek; Grigoriadis, Joannis; Trulsson, Mats

    2015-01-01

    Sensory information from the orofacial mechanoreceptors are used by the nervous system to optimize the positioning of food, determine the force levels, and force vectors involved in biting of food morsels. Moreover, practice resulting from repetition could be a key to learning and acquiring a motor...... movements. Thirty healthy volunteers were asked to intraorally manipulate and split a chocolate candy, into two equal halves. The participants performed three series (with ten 10 trials) of the task before and after a short-term (approximately 30min) training. The accuracy of the split and vertical jaw...... task induces behavior learning, skill acquisition and optimization of jaw movements in terms of better performance and reduction in the duration of jaw movements, during the task. The finding of the present study provides insights on into how humans learn oral motor behaviors or the kind of adaptation...

  10. Error Sonification of a Complex Motor Task

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Riener Robert

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Visual information is mainly used to master complex motor tasks. Thus, additional information providing augmented feedback should be displayed in other modalities than vision, e.g. hearing. The present work evaluated the potential of error sonification to enhance learning of a rowing-type motor task. In contrast to a control group receiving self-controlled terminal feedback, the experimental group could not significantly reduce spatial errors. Thus, motor learning was not enhanced by error sonification, although during the training the participant could benefit from it. It seems that the motor task was too slow, resulting in immediate corrections of the movement rather than in an internal representation of the general characteristics of the motor task. Therefore, further studies should elaborate the impact of error sonification when general characteristics of the motor tasks are already known.

  11. Engaging Environments Enhance Motor Skill Learning in a Computer Gaming Task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lohse, Keith R; Boyd, Lara A; Hodges, Nicola J

    2016-01-01

    Engagement during practice can motivate a learner to practice more, hence having indirect effects on learning through increased practice. However, it is not known whether engagement can also have a direct effect on learning when the amount of practice is held constant. To address this question, 40 participants played a video game that contained an embedded repeated sequence component, under either highly engaging conditions (the game group) or mechanically identical but less engaging conditions (the sterile group). The game environment facilitated retention over a 1-week interval. Specifically, the game group improved in both speed and accuracy for random and repeated trials, suggesting a general motor-related improvement, rather than a specific influence of engagement on implicit sequence learning. These data provide initial evidence that increased engagement during practice has a direct effect on generalized learning, improving retention and transfer of a complex motor skill.

  12. Motor learning in a complex balance task and associated neuroplasticity: a comparison between endurance athletes and nonathletes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seidel, Oliver; Carius, Daniel; Kenville, Rouven; Ragert, Patrick

    2017-09-01

    Studies suggested that motor expertise is associated with functional and structural brain alterations, which positively affect sensorimotor performance and learning capabilities. The purpose of the present study was to unravel differences in motor skill learning and associated functional neuroplasticity between endurance athletes (EA) and nonathletes (NA). For this purpose, participants had to perform a multimodal balance task (MBT) training on 2 sessions, which were separated by 1 wk. Before and after MBT training, a static balance task (SBT) had to be performed. MBT-induced functional neuroplasticity and neuromuscular alterations were assessed by means of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and electromyography (EMG) during SBT performance. We hypothesized that EA would showed superior initial SBT performance and stronger MBT-induced improvements in SBT learning rates compared with NA. On a cortical level, we hypothesized that MBT training would lead to differential learning-dependent functional changes in motor-related brain regions [such as primary motor cortex (M1)] during SBT performance. In fact, EA showed superior initial SBT performance, whereas learning rates did not differ between groups. On a cortical level, fNIRS recordings (time × group interaction) revealed a stronger MBT-induced decrease in left M1 and inferior parietal lobe (IPL) for deoxygenated hemoglobin in EA. Even more interesting, learning rates were correlated with fNIRS changes in right M1/IPL. On the basis of these findings, we provide novel evidence for superior MBT training-induced functional neuroplasticity in highly trained athletes. Future studies should investigate these effects in different sports disciplines to strengthen previous work on experience-dependent neuroplasticity. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Motor expertise is associated with functional/structural brain plasticity. How such neuroplastic reorganization translates into altered motor learning processes remains elusive. We

  13. Transfer of short-term motor learning across the lower limbs as a function of task conception and practice order.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stöckel, Tino; Wang, Jinsung

    2011-11-01

    Interlimb transfer of motor learning, indicating an improvement in performance with one limb following training with the other, often occurs asymmetrically (i.e., from non-dominant to dominant limb or vice versa, but not both). In the present study, we examined whether interlimb transfer of the same motor task could occur asymmetrically and in opposite directions (i.e., from right to left leg vs. left to right leg) depending on individuals' conception of the task. Two experimental conditions were tested: In a dynamic control condition, the process of learning was facilitated by providing the subjects with a type of information that forced them to focus on dynamic features of a given task (force impulse); and in a spatial control condition, it was done with another type of information that forced them to focus on visuomotor features of the same task (distance). Both conditions employed the same leg extension task. In addition, a fully-crossed transfer paradigm was used in which one group of subjects initially practiced with the right leg and were tested with the left leg for a transfer test, while the other group used the two legs in the opposite order. The results showed that the direction of interlimb transfer varied depending on the condition, such that the right and the left leg benefited from initial training with the opposite leg only in the spatial and the dynamic condition, respectively. Our finding suggests that manipulating the conception of a leg extension task has a substantial influence on the pattern of interlimb transfer in such a way that the direction of transfer can even be opposite depending on whether the task is conceived as a dynamic or spatial control task. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  14. Reduced Mental Load in Learning a Motor Visual Task with Virtual 3D Method

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dan, A.; Reiner, M.

    2018-01-01

    Distance learning is expanding rapidly, fueled by the novel technologies for shared recorded teaching sessions on the Web. Here, we ask whether 3D stereoscopic (3DS) virtual learning environment teaching sessions are more compelling than typical two-dimensional (2D) video sessions and whether this type of teaching results in superior learning. The…

  15. Brief Overview of Motor Learning and It's Application to Rehabilitation: Part Ⅰ: Motor Learning Theory

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Christopher A Zaino

    2003-01-01

    @@ 1 DEFINITION OF MOTOR LEARNING Motor learning is the study of how we acquire and modify movements.1 The acquisition of motor skills is the process of learning how to do a particular movement (performance), but the real key to therapeutic intervention is being able to affect permanent changes in motor skills via the process of motor learning. Therefore, motor learning is defined as the ability to retain the ability to perform a motor task at a later time. In rehabilitation, it is important to be cognizant of the concepts of acquisition and retention. We can facilitate acquisition,but do little to assist in the retention of the task (learning). Conversely, we can arrange practice such that acquisition is slowed, but we can actually be assisting learning the task. It is important to have a clear goal in mind and work towards the eventual learning of the task to allow full functional use of that skill.

  16. Brief periods of NREM sleep do not promote early offline gains but subsequent on-task performance in motor skill learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maier, Jonathan G; Piosczyk, Hannah; Holz, Johannes; Landmann, Nina; Deschler, Christoph; Frase, Lukas; Kuhn, Marion; Klöppel, Stefan; Spiegelhalder, Kai; Sterr, Annette; Riemann, Dieter; Feige, Bernd; Voderholzer, Ulrich; Nissen, Christoph

    2017-11-01

    Sleep modulates motor learning, but its detailed impact on performance curves remains to be fully characterized. This study aimed to further determine the impact of brief daytime periods of NREM sleep on 'offline' (task discontinuation after initial training) and 'on-task' (performance within the test session) changes in motor skill performance (finger tapping task). In a mixed design (combined parallel group and repeated measures) sleep laboratory study (n=17 'active' wake vs. sleep, n=19 'passive' wake vs. sleep), performance curves were assessed prior to and after a 90min period containing either sleep, active or passive wakefulness. We observed a highly significant, but state- (that is, sleep/wake)-independent early offline gain and improved on-task performance after sleep in comparison to wakefulness. Exploratory curve fitting suggested that the observed sleep effect most likely emerged from an interaction of training-induced improvement and detrimental 'time-on-task' processes, such as fatigue. Our results indicate that brief periods of NREM sleep do not promote early offline gains but subsequent on-task performance in motor skill learning. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  17. Cross-limb Interference during motor learning

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lauber, Benedikt; Jensen, Jesper Lundbye; Keller, Martin

    2013-01-01

    It is well known that following skill learning, improvements in motor performance may transfer to the untrained contralateral limb. It is also well known that retention of a newly learned task A can be degraded when learning a competing task B that takes place directly after learning A. Here we...

  18. Interference in ballistic motor learning - is motor interference really sensory?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lundbye-Jensen, Jesper; Petersen, Tue Hvass; Rothwell, John C

    Skill gained after a short period of practice in one motor task can be abolished if a second task is learned shortly afterwards. We hypothesised that interference requires the same circuits to be engaged in the two tasks and provoke competing processes of synaptic plasticity. To test this, subjects...

  19. Interference in motor learning - is motor interference sensory?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jensen, Jesper Lundbye; Petersen, Tue Hvass; Rothwell, John C

    mechanisms determine whether or not interference occurs. We hypothesised that interference requires the same neural circuits to be engaged in the two tasks and provoke competing processes of synaptic plasticity. To test this, subjects learned a ballistic ankle plantarflexion task. Early motor memory...... was disrupted by subsequent learning of a precision tracking task with the same agonist muscle group, but not by learning involving antagonist muscles or by voluntary agonist contractions that did not require learning. If the competing task was learned with the same agonist muscle group 4 hours following...

  20. The influence of motor imagery on the learning of a fine hand motor skill

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sobierajewicz, Jagna; Przekoracka-Krawczyk, Anna; Jaśkowski, Wojciech; Verwey, Willem B.; van der Lubbe, Rob

    2017-01-01

    Motor imagery has been argued to affect the acquisition of motor skills. The present study examined the specificity of motor imagery on the learning of a fine hand motor skill by employing a modified discrete sequence production task: the Go/NoGo DSP task. After an informative cue, a response

  1. Individualized tracking of self-directed motor learning in group-housed mice performing a skilled lever positioning task in the home cage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silasi, Gergely; Boyd, Jamie D; Bolanos, Federico; LeDue, Jeff M; Scott, Stephen H; Murphy, Timothy H

    2018-01-01

    Skilled forelimb function in mice is traditionally studied through behavioral paradigms that require extensive training by investigators and are limited by the number of trials individual animals are able to perform within a supervised session. We developed a skilled lever positioning task that mice can perform within their home cage. The task requires mice to use their forelimb to precisely hold a lever mounted on a rotary encoder within a rewarded position to dispense a water reward. A Raspberry Pi microcomputer is used to record lever position during trials and to control task parameters, thus making this low-footprint apparatus ideal for use within animal housing facilities. Custom Python software automatically increments task difficulty by requiring a longer hold duration, or a more accurate hold position, to dispense a reward. The performance of individual animals within group-housed mice is tracked through radio-frequency identification implants, and data stored on the microcomputer may be accessed remotely through an active internet connection. Mice continuously engage in the task for over 2.5 mo and perform ~500 trials/24 h. Mice required ~15,000 trials to learn to hold the lever within a 10° range for 1.5 s and were able to further refine movement accuracy by limiting their error to a 5° range within each trial. These results demonstrate the feasibility of autonomously training group-housed mice on a forelimb motor task. This paradigm may be used in the future to assess functional recovery after injury or cortical reorganization induced by self-directed motor learning. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We developed a low-cost system for fully autonomous training of group-housed mice on a forelimb motor task. We demonstrate the feasibility of tracking both end-point, as well as kinematic performance of individual mice, with each performing thousands of trials over 2.5 mo. The task is run and controlled by a Raspberry Pi microcomputer, which allows for cages to be

  2. Self-Controlled Feedback for a Complex Motor Task

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wolf Peter

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Self-controlled augmented feedback enhances learning of simple motor tasks. Thereby, learners tend to request feedback after trials that were rated as good by themselves. Feedback after good trials promotes positive reinforcement, which enhances motor learning. The goal of this study was to investigate when naïve learners request terminal visual feedback in a complex motor task, as conclusions drawn on simple tasks can hardly be transferred to complex tasks. Indeed, seven of nine learners stated to have intended to request feedback predominantly after good trials, but in contrast to their intention, kinematic analysis showed that feedback was rather requested randomly (23% after good, 44% after intermediate, 33% after bad trials. Moreover, requesting feedback after good trials did not correlate with learning success. It seems that self-estimation of performance in complex tasks is challenging. As a consequence, learners might have focused on certain movement aspects rather than on the overall movement. Further studies should assess the current focus of the learner in detail to gain more insight in self-estimation capabilities during complex motor task learning.

  3. Haptic-Based Perception-Empathy Biofeedback Enhances Postural Motor Learning During High-Cognitive Load Task in Healthy Older Adults.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yasuda, Kazuhiro; Saichi, Kenta; Iwata, Hiroyasu

    2018-01-01

    Falls and fall-induced injuries are major global public health problems, and sensory input impairment in older adults results in significant limitations in feedback-type postural control. A haptic-based biofeedback (BF) system can be used for augmenting somatosensory input in older adults, and the application of this BF system can increase the objectivity of the feedback and encourage comparison with that provided by a trainer. Nevertheless, an optimal BF system that focuses on interpersonal feedback for balance training in older adults has not been proposed. Thus, we proposed a haptic-based perception-empathy BF system that provides information regarding the older adult's center-of-foot pressure pattern to the trainee and trainer for refining the motor learning effect. The first objective of this study was to examine the effect of this balance training regimen in healthy older adults performing a postural learning task. Second, this study aimed to determine whether BF training required high cognitive load to clarify its practicability in real-life settings. Twenty older adults were assigned to two groups: BF and control groups. Participants in both groups tried balance training in the single-leg stance while performing a cognitive task (i.e., serial subtraction task). Retention was tested 24 h later. Testing comprised balance performance measures (i.e., 95% confidence ellipse area and mean velocity of sway) and dual-task performance (number of responses and correct answers). Measurements of postural control using a force plate revealed that the stability of the single-leg stance was significantly lower in the BF group than in the control group during the balance task. The BF group retained the improvement in the 95% confidence ellipse area 24 h after the retention test. Results of dual-task performance during the balance task were not different between the two groups. These results confirmed the potential benefit of the proposed balance training regimen in

  4. Haptic-Based Perception-Empathy Biofeedback Enhances Postural Motor Learning During High-Cognitive Load Task in Healthy Older Adults

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kazuhiro Yasuda

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available Falls and fall-induced injuries are major global public health problems, and sensory input impairment in older adults results in significant limitations in feedback-type postural control. A haptic-based biofeedback (BF system can be used for augmenting somatosensory input in older adults, and the application of this BF system can increase the objectivity of the feedback and encourage comparison with that provided by a trainer. Nevertheless, an optimal BF system that focuses on interpersonal feedback for balance training in older adults has not been proposed. Thus, we proposed a haptic-based perception-empathy BF system that provides information regarding the older adult's center-of-foot pressure pattern to the trainee and trainer for refining the motor learning effect. The first objective of this study was to examine the effect of this balance training regimen in healthy older adults performing a postural learning task. Second, this study aimed to determine whether BF training required high cognitive load to clarify its practicability in real-life settings. Twenty older adults were assigned to two groups: BF and control groups. Participants in both groups tried balance training in the single-leg stance while performing a cognitive task (i.e., serial subtraction task. Retention was tested 24 h later. Testing comprised balance performance measures (i.e., 95% confidence ellipse area and mean velocity of sway and dual-task performance (number of responses and correct answers. Measurements of postural control using a force plate revealed that the stability of the single-leg stance was significantly lower in the BF group than in the control group during the balance task. The BF group retained the improvement in the 95% confidence ellipse area 24 h after the retention test. Results of dual-task performance during the balance task were not different between the two groups. These results confirmed the potential benefit of the proposed balance training

  5. Motor cortex is required for learning but not for executing a motor skill.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kawai, Risa; Markman, Timothy; Poddar, Rajesh; Ko, Raymond; Fantana, Antoniu L; Dhawale, Ashesh K; Kampff, Adam R; Ölveczky, Bence P

    2015-05-06

    Motor cortex is widely believed to underlie the acquisition and execution of motor skills, but its contributions to these processes are not fully understood. One reason is that studies on motor skills often conflate motor cortex's established role in dexterous control with roles in learning and producing task-specific motor sequences. To dissociate these aspects, we developed a motor task for rats that trains spatiotemporally precise movement patterns without requirements for dexterity. Remarkably, motor cortex lesions had no discernible effect on the acquired skills, which were expressed in their distinct pre-lesion forms on the very first day of post-lesion training. Motor cortex lesions prior to training, however, rendered rats unable to acquire the stereotyped motor sequences required for the task. These results suggest a remarkable capacity of subcortical motor circuits to execute learned skills and a previously unappreciated role for motor cortex in "tutoring" these circuits during learning. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. Motor cortex is required for learning but not executing a motor skill

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kawai, Risa; Markman, Timothy; Poddar, Rajesh; Ko, Raymond; Fantana, Antoniu; Dhawale, Ashesh; Kampff, Adam R.; Ölveczky, Bence P.

    2018-01-01

    Motor cortex is widely believed to underlie the acquisition and execution of motor skills, yet its contributions to these processes are not fully understood. One reason is that studies on motor skills often conflate motor cortex’s established role in dexterous control with roles in learning and producing task-specific motor sequences. To dissociate these aspects, we developed a motor task for rats that trains spatiotemporally precise movement patterns without requirements for dexterity. Remarkably, motor cortex lesions had no discernible effect on the acquired skills, which were expressed in their distinct pre-lesion forms on the very first day of post-lesion training. Motor cortex lesions prior to training, however, rendered rats unable to acquire the stereotyped motor sequences required for the task. These results suggest a remarkable capacity of subcortical motor circuits to execute learned skills and a previously unappreciated role for motor cortex in ‘tutoring’ these circuits during learning. PMID:25892304

  7. Multiple systems for motor skill learning

    OpenAIRE

    Clark, Dav; Ivry, Richard B.

    2010-01-01

    Motor learning is a ubiquitous feature of human competence. This review focuses on two particular classes of model tasks for studying skill acquisition. The serial reaction time (SRT) task is used to probe how people learn sequences of actions, while adaptation in the context of visuomotor or force field perturbations serves to illustrate how preexisting movements are recalibrated in novel environments. These tasks highlight important issues regarding the representational changes that occur d...

  8. The effectiveness of robotic training depends on motor task characteristics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marchal-Crespo, Laura; Rappo, Nicole; Riener, Robert

    2017-12-01

    Previous research suggests that the effectiveness of robotic training depends on the motor task to be learned. However, it is still an open question which specific task's characteristics influence the efficacy of error-modulating training strategies. Motor tasks can be classified based on the time characteristics of the task, in particular the task's duration (discrete vs. continuous). Continuous tasks require movements without distinct beginning or end. Discrete tasks require fast movements that include well-defined postures at the beginning and the end. We developed two games, one that requires a continuous movement-a tracking task-and one that requires discrete movements-a fast reaching task. We conducted an experiment with thirty healthy subjects to evaluate the effectiveness of three error-modulating training strategies-no guidance, error amplification (i.e., repulsive forces proportional to errors) and haptic guidance-on self-reported motivation and learning of the continuous and discrete games. Training with error amplification resulted in better motor learning than haptic guidance, besides the fact that error amplification reduced subjects' interest/enjoyment and perceived competence during training. Only subjects trained with error amplification improved their performance after training the discrete game. In fact, subjects trained without guidance improved the performance in the continuous game significantly more than in the discrete game, probably because the continuous task required greater attentional levels. Error-amplifying training strategies have a great potential to provoke better motor learning in continuous and discrete tasks. However, their long-lasting negative effects on motivation might limit their applicability in intense neurorehabilitation programs.

  9. Motor Skill Learning and Corticospinal Excitability

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Christiansen, Lasse

    Background Motor skill learning (MSL) is the persistent increase in performance of a skill obtained through practice. This process is associated with changes throughout the central nervous system. One of these is a change in corticospinal excitability (CSE) assessable with Transcranial Magnetic...... a novel visuomotor skill. I hypothesized that changes in CSE accompanying long-term motor practice relate to the process of learning rather than repetitive practice on an acquired skill and investigated this by incrementally increasing task difficulty and thus postponing saturation of learning....... Furthermore, we aimed to investigate the feasibility of applying paired associative stimulation to the investigation of learning-dependent motor cortical plasticity by comparing the transient increase in CSE accompanying motor skill learning to the associative plasticity induced by pairing electrical motor...

  10. Learning without knowing: subliminal visual feedback facilitates ballistic motor learning

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lundbye-Jensen, Jesper; Leukel, Christian; Nielsen, Jens Bo

    by subconscious (subliminal) augmented visual feedback on motor performance. To test this, 45 subjects participated in the experiment, which involved learning of a ballistic task. The task was to execute simple ankle plantar flexion movements as quickly as possible within 200 ms and to continuously improve...... by the learner, indeed facilitated ballistic motor learning. This effect likely relates to multiple (conscious versus unconscious) processing of visual feedback and to the specific neural circuitries involved in optimization of ballistic motor performance.......). It is a well- described phenomenon that we may respond to features of our surroundings without being aware of them. It is also a well-known principle, that learning is reinforced by augmented feedback on motor performance. In the present experiment we hypothesized that motor learning may be facilitated...

  11. Cross-limb interference during motor learning.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Benedikt Lauber

    Full Text Available It is well known that following skill learning, improvements in motor performance may transfer to the untrained contralateral limb. It is also well known that retention of a newly learned task A can be degraded when learning a competing task B that takes place directly after learning A. Here we investigate if this interference effect can also be observed in the limb contralateral to the trained one. Therefore, five different groups practiced a ballistic finger flexion task followed by an interfering visuomotor accuracy task with the same limb. Performance in the ballistic task was tested before the training, after the training and in an immediate retention test after the practice of the interference task for both the trained and the untrained hand. After training, subjects showed not only significant learning and interference effects for the trained limb but also for the contralateral untrained limb. Importantly, the interference effect in the untrained limb was dependent on the level of skill acquisition in the interfering motor task. These behavioural results of the untrained limb were accompanied by training specific changes in corticospinal excitability, which increased for the hemisphere ipsilateral to the trained hand following ballistic training and decreased during accuracy training of the ipsilateral hand. The results demonstrate that contralateral interference effects may occur, and that interference depends on the level of skill acquisition in the interfering motor task. This finding might be particularly relevant for rehabilitation.

  12. Task-irrelevant auditory feedback facilitates motor performance in musicians

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Virginia eConde

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available An efficient and fast auditory–motor network is a basic resource for trained musicians due to the importance of motor anticipation of sound production in musical performance. When playing an instrument, motor performance always goes along with the production of sounds and the integration between both modalities plays an essential role in the course of musical training. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of task-irrelevant auditory feedback during motor performance in musicians using a serial reaction time task (SRTT. Our hypothesis was that musicians, due to their extensive auditory–motor practice routine during musical training, have a superior performance and learning capabilities when receiving auditory feedback during SRTT relative to musicians performing the SRTT without any auditory feedback. Here we provide novel evidence that task-irrelevant auditory feedback is capable to reinforce SRTT performance but not learning, a finding that might provide further insight into auditory-motor integration in musicians on a behavioral level.

  13. Changes of motor-cortical oscillations associated with motor learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pollok, B; Latz, D; Krause, V; Butz, M; Schnitzler, A

    2014-09-05

    Motor learning results from practice but also between practice sessions. After skill acquisition early consolidation results in less interference with other motor tasks and even improved performance of the newly learned skill. A specific significance of the primary motor cortex (M1) for early consolidation has been suggested. Since synchronized oscillatory activity is assumed to facilitate neuronal plasticity, we here investigate alterations of motor-cortical oscillations by means of event-related desynchronization (ERD) at alpha (8-12 Hz) and beta (13-30 Hz) frequencies in healthy humans. Neuromagnetic activity was recorded using a 306-channel whole-head magnetoencephalography (MEG) system. ERD was investigated in 15 subjects during training on a serial reaction time task and 10 min after initial training. The data were compared with performance during a randomly varying sequence serving as control condition. The data reveal a stepwise decline of alpha-band ERD associated with faster reaction times replicating previous findings. The amount of beta-band suppression was significantly correlated with reduction of reaction times. While changes of alpha power have been related to lower cognitive control after initial skill acquisition, the present data suggest that the amount of beta suppression represents a neurophysiological marker of early cortical reorganization associated with motor learning. Copyright © 2014 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Psychosocial modulators of motor learning in Parkinson’s disease

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Petra eZemankova

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Using the remarkable overlap between brain circuits affected in Parkinson’s disease (PD and those underlying motor sequence learning, we may improve the effectiveness of motor rehabilitation interventions by identifying motor learning facilitators in PD. For instance, additional sensory stimulation and task cueing enhanced motor learning in people with PD, whereas exercising using musical rhythms or console computer games improved gait and balance, and reduced some motor symptoms, in addition to increasing task enjoyment. Yet, despite these advances, important knowledge gaps remain. Most studies investigating motor learning in PD used laboratory-specific tasks and equipment, with little resemblance to real life situations. Thus, it is unknown whether similar results could be achieved in more ecological setups and whether individual’s task engagement could further improve motor learning capacity. Moreover, the role of social interaction in motor skill learning process has not yet been investigated in PD and the role of mind-set and self-regulatory mechanisms have been sporadically examined. Here we review evidence suggesting that these psychosocial factors may be important modulators of motor learning in PD. We propose their incorporation in future research, given that it could lead to development of improved non-pharmacological interventions aimed to preserve or restore motor function in PD.

  15. Performance in complex motor tasks deteriorates in hyperthermic humans

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Piil, Jacob Feder; Lundbye-Jensen, Jesper; Trangmar, Steven J

    2017-01-01

    -motor tracking performance was reduced by 10.7 ± 6.5% following exercise-induced hyperthermia when integrated in the multipart protocol and 4.4 ± 5.7% when tested separately (bothP 1.3% (P math tasks...... of information or decision-making prior to responding. We hypothesized that divergences could relate to task complexity and developed a protocol consisting of 1) simple motor task [TARGET_pinch], 2) complex motor task [Visuo-motor tracking], 3) simple math task [MATH_type], 4) combined motor-math task [MATH...

  16. Multiple systems for motor skill learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Dav; Ivry, Richard B

    2010-07-01

    Motor learning is a ubiquitous feature of human competence. This review focuses on two particular classes of model tasks for studying skill acquisition. The serial reaction time (SRT) task is used to probe how people learn sequences of actions, while adaptation in the context of visuomotor or force field perturbations serves to illustrate how preexisting movements are recalibrated in novel environments. These tasks highlight important issues regarding the representational changes that occur during the course of motor learning. One important theme is that distinct mechanisms vary in their information processing costs during learning and performance. Fast learning processes may require few trials to produce large changes in performance but impose demands on cognitive resources. Slower processes are limited in their ability to integrate complex information but minimally demanding in terms of attention or processing resources. The representations derived from fast systems may be accessible to conscious processing and provide a relatively greater measure of flexibility, while the representations derived from slower systems are more inflexible and automatic in their behavior. In exploring these issues, we focus on how multiple neural systems may interact and compete during the acquisition and consolidation of new behaviors. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This article is categorized under: Psychology > Motor Skill and Performance. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  17. Asymmetrical learning between a tactile and visual serial RT task

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Abrahamse, E.L.; van der Lubbe, Robert Henricus Johannes; Verwey, Willem B.

    2007-01-01

    According to many researchers, implicit learning in the serial reaction-time task is predominantly motor based and therefore should be independent of stimulus modality. Previous research on the task, however, has focused almost completely on the visual domain. Here we investigated sequence learning

  18. Learning motor skills from algorithms to robot experiments

    CERN Document Server

    Kober, Jens

    2014-01-01

    This book presents the state of the art in reinforcement learning applied to robotics both in terms of novel algorithms and applications. It discusses recent approaches that allow robots to learn motor skills and presents tasks that need to take into account the dynamic behavior of the robot and its environment, where a kinematic movement plan is not sufficient. The book illustrates a method that learns to generalize parameterized motor plans which is obtained by imitation or reinforcement learning, by adapting a small set of global parameters, and appropriate kernel-based reinforcement learning algorithms. The presented applications explore highly dynamic tasks and exhibit a very efficient learning process. All proposed approaches have been extensively validated with benchmarks tasks, in simulation, and on real robots. These tasks correspond to sports and games but the presented techniques are also applicable to more mundane household tasks. The book is based on the first author’s doctoral thesis, which wo...

  19. The Applicability of Rhythm-Motor Tasks to a New Dual Task Paradigm for Older Adults

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Soo Ji Kim

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Given the interplay between cognitive and motor functions during walking, cognitive demands required during gait have been investigated with regard to dual task performance. Along with the needs to understand how the type of concurrent task while walking affects gait performance, there are calls for diversified dual tasks that can be applied to older adults with varying levels of cognitive decline. Therefore, this study aimed to examine how rhythm-motor tasks affect dual task performance and gait control, compared to a traditional cognitive-motor task. Also, it examined whether rhythm-motor tasks are correlated with traditional cognitive-motor task performance and cognitive measures. Eighteen older adults without cognitive impairment participated in this study. Each participant was instructed to walk at self-paced tempo without performing a concurrent task (single walking task and walk while separately performing two types of concurrent tasks: rhythm-motor and cognitive-motor tasks. Rhythm-motor tasks included instrument playing (WalkIP, matching to rhythmic cueing (WalkRC, and instrument playing while matching to rhythmic cueing (WalkIP+RC. The cognitive-motor task involved counting forward by 3s (WalkCount.f3. In each condition, dual task costs (DTC, a measure for how dual tasks affect gait parameters, were measured in terms of walking speed and stride length. The ratio of stride length to walking speed, a measure for dynamic control of gait, was also examined. The results of this study demonstrated that the task type was found to significantly influence these measures. Rhythm-motor tasks were found to interfere with gait parameters to a lesser extent than the cognitive-motor task (WalkCount.f3. In terms of ratio measures, stride length remained at a similar level, walking speed greatly decreased in the WalkCount.f3 condition. Significant correlations between dual task-related measures during rhythm-motor and cognitive-motor tasks support the

  20. To What Extent Can Motor Imagery Replace Motor Execution While Learning a Fine Motor Skill?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sobierajewicz, Jagna; Szarkiewicz, Sylwia; Prekoracka-Krawczyk, Anna; Jaskowski, Wojciech; van der Lubbe, Robert Henricus Johannes

    2016-01-01

    Motor imagery is generally thought to share common mechanisms with motor execution. In the present study, we examined to what extent learning a fine motor skill by motor imagery may substitute physical practice. Learning effects were assessed by manipulating the proportion of motor execution and

  1. Learning new gait patterns: Exploratory muscle activity during motor learning is not predicted by motor modules

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ranganathan, Rajiv; Krishnan, Chandramouli; Dhaher, Yasin Y.; Rymer, William Z.

    2018-01-01

    The motor module hypothesis in motor control proposes that the nervous system can simplify the problem of controlling a large number of muscles in human movement by grouping muscles into a smaller number of modules. Here, we tested one prediction of the modular organization hypothesis by examining whether there is preferential exploration along these motor modules during the learning of a new gait pattern. Healthy college-aged participants learned a new gait pattern which required increased hip and knee flexion during the swing phase while walking in a lower-extremity robot (Lokomat). The new gait pattern was displayed as a foot trajectory in the sagittal plane and participants attempted to match their foot trajectory to this template. We recorded EMG from 8 lower-extremity muscles and we extracted motor modules during both baseline walking and target-tracking using non-negative matrix factorization (NMF). Results showed increased trajectory variability in the first block of learning, indicating that participants were engaged in exploratory behavior. Critically, when we examined the muscle activity during this exploratory phase, we found that the composition of motor modules changed significantly within the first few strides of attempting the new gait pattern. The lack of persistence of the motor modules under even short time scales suggests that motor modules extracted during locomotion may be more indicative of correlated muscle activity induced by the task constraints of walking, rather than reflecting a modular control strategy. PMID:26916510

  2. Economic decision-making compared with an equivalent motor task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Shih-Wei; Delgado, Mauricio R; Maloney, Laurence T

    2009-04-14

    There is considerable evidence that human economic decision-making deviates from the predictions of expected utility theory (EUT) and that human performance conforms to EUT in many perceptual and motor decision tasks. It is possible that these results reflect a real difference in decision-making in the 2 domains but it is also possible that the observed discrepancy simply reflects typical differences in experimental design. We developed a motor task that is mathematically equivalent to choosing between lotteries and used it to compare how the same subject chose between classical economic lotteries and the same lotteries presented in equivalent motor form. In experiment 1, we found that subjects are more risk seeking in deciding between motor lotteries. In experiment 2, we used cumulative prospect theory to model choice and separately estimated the probability weighting functions and the value functions for each subject carrying out each task. We found no patterned differences in how subjects represented outcome value in the motor and the classical tasks. However, the probability weighting functions for motor and classical tasks were markedly and significantly different. Those for the classical task showed a typical tendency to overweight small probabilities and underweight large probabilities, and those for the motor task showed the opposite pattern of probability distortion. This outcome also accounts for the increased risk-seeking observed in the motor tasks of experiment 1. We conclude that the same subject distorts probability, but not value, differently in making identical decisions in motor and classical form.

  3. Gene Expression Changes in the Motor Cortex Mediating Motor Skill Learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheung, Vincent C. K.; DeBoer, Caroline; Hanson, Elizabeth; Tunesi, Marta; D'Onofrio, Mara; Arisi, Ivan; Brandi, Rossella; Cattaneo, Antonino; Goosens, Ki A.

    2013-01-01

    The primary motor cortex (M1) supports motor skill learning, yet little is known about the genes that contribute to motor cortical plasticity. Such knowledge could identify candidate molecules whose targeting might enable a new understanding of motor cortical functions, and provide new drug targets for the treatment of diseases which impair motor function, such as ischemic stroke. Here, we assess changes in the motor-cortical transcriptome across different stages of motor skill acquisition. Adult rats were trained on a gradually acquired appetitive reach and grasp task that required different strategies for successful pellet retrieval, or a sham version of the task in which the rats received pellet reward without needing to develop the reach and grasp skill. Tissue was harvested from the forelimb motor-cortical area either before training commenced, prior to the initial rise in task performance, or at peak performance. Differential classes of gene expression were observed at the time point immediately preceding motor task improvement. Functional clustering revealed that gene expression changes were related to the synapse, development, intracellular signaling, and the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family, with many modulated genes known to regulate synaptic plasticity, synaptogenesis, and cytoskeletal dynamics. The modulated expression of synaptic genes likely reflects ongoing network reorganization from commencement of training till the point of task improvement, suggesting that motor performance improves only after sufficient modifications in the cortical circuitry have accumulated. The regulated FGF-related genes may together contribute to M1 remodeling through their roles in synaptic growth and maturation. PMID:23637843

  4. Motor Skill Learning in Children.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gabbard, Carl P.

    The purpose of this article is to briefly describe schema theory and indicate its relevance to early childhood development, with specific reference to children's acquisition of motor skills. Schema theory proposes an explanation of how individuals learn and perform a seemingly endless variety of movements. According to Schmidt (1975), goal…

  5. Temperature dependency in motor skill learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Immink, Maarten A; Wright, David L; Barnes, William S

    2012-01-01

    The present study investigated the role of temperature as a contextual condition for motor skill learning. Precision grip task training occurred while forearm cutaneous temperature was either heated (40-45 °C) or cooled (10-15 °C). At test, temperature was either reinstated or changed. Performance was comparable between training conditions while at test, temperature changes decreased accuracy, especially after hot training conditions. After cold training, temperature change deficits were only evident when concurrent force feedback was presented. These findings are the first evidence of localized temperature dependency in motor skill learning in humans. Results are not entirely accounted for by a context-dependent memory explanation and appear to represent an interaction of neuromuscular and sensory processes with the temperature present during training and test.

  6. Autonomous Inter-Task Transfer in Reinforcement Learning Domains

    Science.gov (United States)

    2008-08-01

    Mountain Car. However, because the source task uses a car with a motor more than twice as powerful as in the 3D task, the tran- sition function learned in...powerful car motor or changing the surface friction of the hill • s: changing the range of the state variables • si: changing where the car starts...Aamodt and Enric Plaza. Case-based reasoning: Foundational issues, methodological variations, and system approaches, 1994. Mazda Ahmadi, Matthew E

  7. The change in perceived motor competence and motor task values during elementary school : Gender and motor performance differences

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Noordstar, J.J.; van der Net, J.; Jak, S.; Helders, P.J.M.; Jongmans, M.J.

    2016-01-01

    Participation in motor activities is essential for social interaction and life satisfaction in children. Self-perceptions and task values have a central position in why children do or do not participate in (motor) activities. Investigating developmental changes in motor self-perceptions and motor

  8. Working Memory Training Improves Dual-Task Performance on Motor Tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kimura, Takehide; Kaneko, Fuminari; Nagahata, Keita; Shibata, Eriko; Aoki, Nobuhiro

    2017-01-01

    The authors investigated whether working memory training improves motor-motor dual-task performance consisted of upper and lower limb tasks. The upper limb task was a simple reaction task and the lower limb task was an isometric knee extension task. 45 participants (age = 21.8 ± 1.6 years) were classified into a working memory training group (WM-TRG), dual-task training group, or control group. The training duration was 2 weeks (15 min, 4 times/week). Our results indicated that working memory capacity increased significantly only in the WM-TRG. Dual-task performance improved in the WM-TRG and dual-task training group. Our study provides the novel insight that working memory training improves dual-task performance without specific training on the target motor task.

  9. Task-relevant cognitive and motor functions are prioritized during prolonged speed-accuracy motor task performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solianik, Rima; Satas, Andrius; Mickeviciene, Dalia; Cekanauskaite, Agne; Valanciene, Dovile; Majauskiene, Daiva; Skurvydas, Albertas

    2018-06-01

    This study aimed to explore the effect of prolonged speed-accuracy motor task on the indicators of psychological, cognitive, psychomotor and motor function. Ten young men aged 21.1 ± 1.0 years performed a fast- and accurate-reaching movement task and a control task. Both tasks were performed for 2 h. Despite decreased motivation, and increased perception of effort as well as subjective feeling of fatigue, speed-accuracy motor task performance improved during the whole period of task execution. After the motor task, the increased working memory function and prefrontal cortex oxygenation at rest and during conflict detection, and the decreased efficiency of incorrect response inhibition and visuomotor tracking were observed. The speed-accuracy motor task increased the amplitude of motor-evoked potentials, while grip strength was not affected. These findings demonstrate that to sustain the performance of 2-h speed-accuracy task under conditions of self-reported fatigue, task-relevant functions are maintained or even improved, whereas less critical functions are impaired.

  10. Motor-cognitive dual-task performance: effects of a concurrent motor task on distinct components of visual processing capacity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Künstler, E C S; Finke, K; Günther, A; Klingner, C; Witte, O; Bublak, P

    2018-01-01

    Dual tasking, or the simultaneous execution of two continuous tasks, is frequently associated with a performance decline that can be explained within a capacity sharing framework. In this study, we assessed the effects of a concurrent motor task on the efficiency of visual information uptake based on the 'theory of visual attention' (TVA). TVA provides parameter estimates reflecting distinct components of visual processing capacity: perceptual threshold, visual processing speed, and visual short-term memory (VSTM) storage capacity. Moreover, goodness-of-fit values and bootstrapping estimates were derived to test whether the TVA-model is validly applicable also under dual task conditions, and whether the robustness of parameter estimates is comparable in single- and dual-task conditions. 24 subjects of middle to higher age performed a continuous tapping task, and a visual processing task (whole report of briefly presented letter arrays) under both single- and dual-task conditions. Results suggest a decline of both visual processing capacity and VSTM storage capacity under dual-task conditions, while the perceptual threshold remained unaffected by a concurrent motor task. In addition, goodness-of-fit values and bootstrapping estimates support the notion that participants processed the visual task in a qualitatively comparable, although quantitatively less efficient way under dual-task conditions. The results support a capacity sharing account of motor-cognitive dual tasking and suggest that even performing a relatively simple motor task relies on central attentional capacity that is necessary for efficient visual information uptake.

  11. Movement Sonification: Audiovisual benefits on motor learning

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Weber Andreas

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Processes of motor control and learning in sports as well as in motor rehabilitation are based on perceptual functions and emergent motor representations. Here a new method of movement sonification is described which is designed to tune in more comprehensively the auditory system into motor perception to enhance motor learning. Usually silent features of the cyclic movement pattern "indoor rowing" are sonified in real time to make them additionally available to the auditory system when executing the movement. Via real time sonification movement perception can be enhanced in terms of temporal precision and multi-channel integration. But beside the contribution of a single perceptual channel to motor perception and motor representation also mechanisms of multisensory integration can be addressed, if movement sonification is configured adequately: Multimodal motor representations consisting of at least visual, auditory and proprioceptive components - can be shaped subtly resulting in more precise motor control and enhanced motor learning.

  12. Comparison of haptic guidance and error amplification robotic trainings for the learning of a timing-based motor task by healthy seniors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bouchard, Amy E; Corriveau, Hélène; Milot, Marie-Hélène

    2015-01-01

    With age, a decline in the temporal aspect of movement is observed such as a longer movement execution time and a decreased timing accuracy. Robotic training can represent an interesting approach to help improve movement timing among the elderly. Two types of robotic training-haptic guidance (HG; demonstrating the correct movement for a better movement planning and improved execution of movement) and error amplification (EA; exaggerating movement errors to have a more rapid and complete learning) have been positively used in young healthy subjects to boost timing accuracy. For healthy seniors, only HG training has been used so far where significant and positive timing gains have been obtained. The goal of the study was to evaluate and compare the impact of both HG and EA robotic trainings on the improvement of seniors' movement timing. Thirty-two healthy seniors (mean age 68 ± 4 years) learned to play a pinball-like game by triggering a one-degree-of-freedom hand robot at the proper time to make a flipper move and direct a falling ball toward a randomly positioned target. During HG and EA robotic trainings, the subjects' timing errors were decreased and increased, respectively, based on the subjects' timing errors in initiating a movement. Results showed that only HG training benefited learning, but the improvement did not generalize to untrained targets. Also, age had no influence on the efficacy of HG robotic training, meaning that the oldest subjects did not benefit more from HG training than the younger senior subjects. Using HG to teach the correct timing of movement seems to be a good strategy to improve motor learning for the elderly as for younger people. However, more studies are needed to assess the long-term impact of HG robotic training on improvement in movement timing.

  13. Evaluation of motor development in children with learning disabilities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Josiane Medina-Papst

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available The aim of this study was to determine whether children with learning disabilities present any impairment in the components of motor development. Thirty children (21 boys and 9 girls, aged 8 to 10 years, with learning difficulties in school were studied. The Motor Development Scale was used to evaluate the development of the children in terms of fine motor control, gross motor control, balance, body scheme, spatial organization, and temporal organization. A deficit in the development of the body scheme component was observed for all three age groups, as well as a delayed motor development in terms of balance and gross motor control. No significant differences in general motor age were observed between (age groups. In conclusion, the children studied, especially older ones, presented motor deficits in most of the components evaluated. The inclusion of tasks that assist in the development of motor components, in addition to regular school tasks, is recommended to improve the process of learning in these children..

  14. Unilateral implicit motor learning deficit in developmental dyslexia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Yang; Hong-Yan, Bi

    2011-02-01

    It has been suggested that developmental dyslexia involves various literacy, sensory, motor skill, and processing speed deficits. Some recent studies have shown that individuals with developmental dyslexia exhibit implicit motor learning deficits, which may be related to cerebellar functioning. However, previous studies on implicit motor learning in developmental dyslexics have produced conflicting results. Findings from cerebellar lesion patients have shown that patients' implicit motor learning performance varied when different hands were used to complete tasks. This suggests that dyslexia may have different effects on implicit motor learning between the two hands if cerebellar dysfunction is involved. To specify this question, we used a one-handed version of a serial reaction time task to compare the performance of 27 Chinese children with developmental dyslexics with another 27 age-matched children without reading difficulties. All the subjects were students from two primary schools, Grades 4 to 6. The results showed that children with developmental dyslexic responded more slowly than nondyslexic children, and exhibited no implicit motor learning in the condition of left-hand response. In contrast, there was no significant difference in reaction time between two groups of children when they used the right hand to respond. This finding indicates that children with developmental dyslexia exhibited normal motor skill and implicit motor learning ability provided the right hand was used. Taken together, these results suggested that Chinese children with developmental dyslexia exhibit unilateral deficits in motor skill and implicit motor learning in the left hand. Our findings lend partial support to the cerebellar deficit theory of developmental dyslexia.

  15. Towards Machine Learning of Motor Skills

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peters, Jan; Schaal, Stefan; Schölkopf, Bernhard

    Autonomous robots that can adapt to novel situations has been a long standing vision of robotics, artificial intelligence, and cognitive sciences. Early approaches to this goal during the heydays of artificial intelligence research in the late 1980s, however, made it clear that an approach purely based on reasoning or human insights would not be able to model all the perceptuomotor tasks that a robot should fulfill. Instead, new hope was put in the growing wake of machine learning that promised fully adaptive control algorithms which learn both by observation and trial-and-error. However, to date, learning techniques have yet to fulfill this promise as only few methods manage to scale into the high-dimensional domains of manipulator robotics, or even the new upcoming trend of humanoid robotics, and usually scaling was only achieved in precisely pre-structured domains. In this paper, we investigate the ingredients for a general approach to motor skill learning in order to get one step closer towards human-like performance. For doing so, we study two major components for such an approach, i.e., firstly, a theoretically well-founded general approach to representing the required control structures for task representation and execution and, secondly, appropriate learning algorithms which can be applied in this setting.

  16. Association Between Gross-Motor and Executive Function Depends on Age and Motor Task Complexity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Spedden, Meaghan E; Malling, Anne Sofie B; Andersen, Ken K

    2017-01-01

    The objective was to examine associations between motor and executive function across the adult lifespan and to investigate the role of motor complexity in these associations. Young, middle-aged and older adults (n = 82; 19-83y) performed two gross-motor tasks with different levels of complexity...... and a Stroop-like computer task. Performance was decreased in older adults. The association between motor and cognitive performance was significant for older adults in the complex motor task (p = 0.03, rs = -0.41), whereas no significant associations were found for young or middle-aged groups, suggesting...... that the link between gross-motor and executive function emerges with age and depends on motor complexity....

  17. Leadership for Learning: Tasks of Learning Culture

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corrigan, Joe

    2012-01-01

    This is a comparative analysis of leadership related to organizational culture and change that occurred at a large Canadian university during a twenty year period 1983-2003. From an institutional development perspective, leadership is characterized as a culture creation and development responsibility. By centering on the tasks of learning culture,…

  18. Untrivial Pursuit: Measuring Motor Procedures Learning in Children with Autism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sparaci, Laura; Formica, Domenico; Lasorsa, Francesca Romana; Mazzone, Luigi; Valeri, Giovanni; Vicari, Stefano

    2015-08-01

    Numerous studies have underscored prevalence of motor impairments in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), but only few of them have analyzed motor strategies exploited by ASD children when learning a new motor procedure. To evaluate motor procedure learning and performance strategies in both ASD and typically developing (TD) children, we built a virtual pursuit rotor (VPR) task, requiring tracking a moving target on a computer screen using a digitalized pen and tablet. Procedural learning was measured as increased time on target (TT) across blocks of trials on the same day and consolidation was assessed after a 24-hour rest. The program and the experimental setting (evaluated in a first experiment considering two groups of TD children) allowed also measures of continuous time on target (CTT), distance from target (DT) and distance from path (DP), as well as 2D reconstructions of children's trajectories. Results showed that the VPR was harder for children with ASD than for TD controls matched for chronological age and intelligence quotient, but both groups displayed comparable motor procedure learning (i.e., similarly incremented their TT). However, closer analysis of CTT, DT, and DP as well as 2D trajectories, showed different motor performance strategies in ASD, highlighting difficulties in overall actions planning. Data underscore the need for deeper investigations of motor strategies exploited by children with ASD when learning a new motor procedure. © 2015 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  19. Task-dependent activation of distinct fast and slow(er) motor pathways during motor imagery.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keller, Martin; Taube, Wolfgang; Lauber, Benedikt

    2018-02-22

    Motor imagery and actual movements share overlapping activation of brain areas but little is known about task-specific activation of distinct motor pathways during mental simulation of movements. For real contractions, it was demonstrated that the slow(er) motor pathways are activated differently in ballistic compared to tonic contractions but it is unknown if this also holds true for imagined contractions. The aim of the present study was to assess the activity of fast and slow(er) motor pathways during mentally simulated movements of ballistic and tonic contractions. H-reflexes were conditioned with transcranial magnetic stimulation at different interstimulus intervals to assess the excitability of fast and slow(er) motor pathways during a) the execution of tonic and ballistic contractions, b) motor imagery of these contraction types, and c) at rest. In contrast to the fast motor pathways, the slow(er) pathways displayed a task-specific activation: for imagined ballistic as well as real ballistic contractions, the activation was reduced compared to rest whereas enhanced activation was found for imagined tonic and real tonic contractions. This study provides evidence that the excitability of fast and slow(er) motor pathways during motor imagery resembles the activation pattern observed during real contractions. The findings indicate that motor imagery results in task- and pathway-specific subliminal activation of distinct subsets of neurons in the primary motor cortex. Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. Motor sequence learning occurs despite disrupted visual and proprioceptive feedback

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Boyd Lara A

    2008-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Recent work has demonstrated the importance of proprioception for the development of internal representations of the forces encountered during a task. Evidence also exists for a significant role for proprioception in the execution of sequential movements. However, little work has explored the role of proprioceptive sensation during the learning of continuous movement sequences. Here, we report that the repeated segment of a continuous tracking task can be learned despite peripherally altered arm proprioception and severely restricted visual feedback regarding motor output. Methods Healthy adults practiced a continuous tracking task over 2 days. Half of the participants experienced vibration that altered proprioception of shoulder flexion/extension of the active tracking arm (experimental condition and half experienced vibration of the passive resting arm (control condition. Visual feedback was restricted for all participants. Retention testing was conducted on a separate day to assess motor learning. Results Regardless of vibration condition, participants learned the repeated segment demonstrated by significant improvements in accuracy for tracking repeated as compared to random continuous movement sequences. Conclusion These results suggest that with practice, participants were able to use residual afferent information to overcome initial interference of tracking ability related to altered proprioception and restricted visual feedback to learn a continuous motor sequence. Motor learning occurred despite an initial interference of tracking noted during acquisition practice.

  1. Proactive and Retroactive transfer of middle age adults in a sequential motor learing task

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Verneau, M.M.N.; van der Kamp, G.J.; Savelsbergh, G.J.P.; de Looze, M.P.

    2015-01-01

    We assessed the effects of aging in the transfer of motor learning in a sequential manual assembly task that is representative for real working conditions. On two different days, young (18-30. years) and middle-aged adults (50-65. years) practiced to build two products that consisted of the same six

  2. Parallel Alterations of Functional Connectivity during Execution and Imagination after Motor Imagery Learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Rushao; Hui, Mingqi; Long, Zhiying; Zhao, Xiaojie; Yao, Li

    2012-01-01

    Background Neural substrates underlying motor learning have been widely investigated with neuroimaging technologies. Investigations have illustrated the critical regions of motor learning and further revealed parallel alterations of functional activation during imagination and execution after learning. However, little is known about the functional connectivity associated with motor learning, especially motor imagery learning, although benefits from functional connectivity analysis attract more attention to the related explorations. We explored whether motor imagery (MI) and motor execution (ME) shared parallel alterations of functional connectivity after MI learning. Methodology/Principal Findings Graph theory analysis, which is widely used in functional connectivity exploration, was performed on the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data of MI and ME tasks before and after 14 days of consecutive MI learning. The control group had no learning. Two measures, connectivity degree and interregional connectivity, were calculated and further assessed at a statistical level. Two interesting results were obtained: (1) The connectivity degree of the right posterior parietal lobe decreased in both MI and ME tasks after MI learning in the experimental group; (2) The parallel alterations of interregional connectivity related to the right posterior parietal lobe occurred in the supplementary motor area for both tasks. Conclusions/Significance These computational results may provide the following insights: (1) The establishment of motor schema through MI learning may induce the significant decrease of connectivity degree in the posterior parietal lobe; (2) The decreased interregional connectivity between the supplementary motor area and the right posterior parietal lobe in post-test implicates the dissociation between motor learning and task performing. These findings and explanations further revealed the neural substrates underpinning MI learning and supported that

  3. Motor-cognitive dual-task performance: effects of a concurrent motor task on distinct components of visual processing capacity

    OpenAIRE

    Künstler, E. C. S.; Finke, K.; Günther, A.; Klingner, C.; Witte, O.; Bublak, P.

    2017-01-01

    Dual tasking, or the simultaneous execution of two continuous tasks, is frequently associated with a performance decline that can be explained within a capacity sharing framework. In this study, we assessed the effects of a concurrent motor task on the efficiency of visual information uptake based on the ‘theory of visual attention’ (TVA). TVA provides parameter estimates reflecting distinct components of visual processing capacity: perceptual threshold, visual processing speed, and visual sh...

  4. Time of Day Does Not Modulate Improvements in Motor Performance following a Repetitive Ballistic Motor Training Task

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sale, Martin V.; Ridding, Michael C.; Nordstrom, Michael A.

    2013-01-01

    Repetitive performance of a task can result in learning. The neural mechanisms underpinning such use-dependent plasticity are influenced by several neuromodulators. Variations in neuromodulator levels may contribute to the variability in performance outcomes following training. Circulating levels of the neuromodulator cortisol change throughout the day. High cortisol levels inhibit neuroplasticity induced with a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) paradigm that has similarities to use-dependent plasticity. The present study investigated whether performance changes following a motor training task are modulated by time of day and/or changes in endogenous cortisol levels. Motor training involving 30 minutes of repeated maximum left thumb abduction was undertaken by twenty-two participants twice, once in the morning (8 AM) and once in the evening (8 PM) on separate occasions. Saliva was assayed for cortisol concentration. Motor performance, quantified by measuring maximum left thumb abduction acceleration, significantly increased by 28% following training. Neuroplastic changes in corticomotor excitability of abductor pollicis brevis, quantified with TMS, increased significantly by 23% following training. Training-related motor performance improvements and neuroplasticity were unaffected by time of day and salivary cortisol concentration. Although similar neural elements and processes contribute to motor learning, training-induced neuroplasticity, and TMS-induced neuroplasticity, our findings suggest that the influence of time of day and cortisol differs for these three interventions. PMID:23577271

  5. Time of Day Does Not Modulate Improvements in Motor Performance following a Repetitive Ballistic Motor Training Task

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martin V. Sale

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Repetitive performance of a task can result in learning. The neural mechanisms underpinning such use-dependent plasticity are influenced by several neuromodulators. Variations in neuromodulator levels may contribute to the variability in performance outcomes following training. Circulating levels of the neuromodulator cortisol change throughout the day. High cortisol levels inhibit neuroplasticity induced with a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS paradigm that has similarities to use-dependent plasticity. The present study investigated whether performance changes following a motor training task are modulated by time of day and/or changes in endogenous cortisol levels. Motor training involving 30 minutes of repeated maximum left thumb abduction was undertaken by twenty-two participants twice, once in the morning (8 AM and once in the evening (8 PM on separate occasions. Saliva was assayed for cortisol concentration. Motor performance, quantified by measuring maximum left thumb abduction acceleration, significantly increased by 28% following training. Neuroplastic changes in corticomotor excitability of abductor pollicis brevis, quantified with TMS, increased significantly by 23% following training. Training-related motor performance improvements and neuroplasticity were unaffected by time of day and salivary cortisol concentration. Although similar neural elements and processes contribute to motor learning, training-induced neuroplasticity, and TMS-induced neuroplasticity, our findings suggest that the influence of time of day and cortisol differs for these three interventions.

  6. Motor skill learning, retention, and control deficits in Parkinson's disease.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lisa Katharina Pendt

    Full Text Available Parkinson's disease, which affects the basal ganglia, is known to lead to various impairments of motor control. Since the basal ganglia have also been shown to be involved in learning processes, motor learning has frequently been investigated in this group of patients. However, results are still inconsistent, mainly due to skill levels and time scales of testing. To bridge across the time scale problem, the present study examined de novo skill learning over a long series of practice sessions that comprised early and late learning stages as well as retention. 19 non-demented, medicated, mild to moderate patients with Parkinson's disease and 19 healthy age and gender matched participants practiced a novel throwing task over five days in a virtual environment where timing of release was a critical element. Six patients and seven control participants came to an additional long-term retention testing after seven to nine months. Changes in task performance were analyzed by a method that differentiates between three components of motor learning prominent in different stages of learning: Tolerance, Noise and Covariation. In addition, kinematic analysis related the influence of skill levels as affected by the specific motor control deficits in Parkinson patients to the process of learning. As a result, patients showed similar learning in early and late stages compared to the control subjects. Differences occurred in short-term retention tests; patients' performance constantly decreased after breaks arising from poorer release timing. However, patients were able to overcome the initial timing problems within the course of each practice session and could further improve their throwing performance. Thus, results demonstrate the intact ability to learn a novel motor skill in non-demented, medicated patients with Parkinson's disease and indicate confounding effects of motor control deficits on retention performance.

  7. Motor sequence learning-induced neural efficiency in functional brain connectivity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karim, Helmet T; Huppert, Theodore J; Erickson, Kirk I; Wollam, Mariegold E; Sparto, Patrick J; Sejdić, Ervin; VanSwearingen, Jessie M

    2017-02-15

    Previous studies have shown the functional neural circuitry differences before and after an explicitly learned motor sequence task, but have not assessed these changes during the process of motor skill learning. Functional magnetic resonance imaging activity was measured while participants (n=13) were asked to tap their fingers to visually presented sequences in blocks that were either the same sequence repeated (learning block) or random sequences (control block). Motor learning was associated with a decrease in brain activity during learning compared to control. Lower brain activation was noted in the posterior parietal association area and bilateral thalamus during the later periods of learning (not during the control). Compared to the control condition, we found the task-related motor learning was associated with decreased connectivity between the putamen and left inferior frontal gyrus and left middle cingulate brain regions. Motor learning was associated with changes in network activity, spatial extent, and connectivity. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. Adaptation and Retention of a Perceptual-Motor Task in Children: Effects of a Single Bout of Intense Endurance Exercise.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferrer-Uris, Blai; Busquets, Albert; Angulo-Barroso, Rosa

    2018-02-01

    We assessed the effect of an acute intense exercise bout on the adaptation and consolidation of a visuomotor adaptation task in children. We also sought to assess if exercise and learning task presentation order could affect task consolidation. Thirty-three children were randomly assigned to one of three groups: (a) exercise before the learning task, (b) exercise after the learning task, and (c) only learning task. Baseline performance was assessed by practicing the learning task in a 0° rotation condition. Afterward, a 60° rotation-adaptation set was applied followed by three rotated retention sets after 1 hr, 24 hr, and 7 days. For the exercise groups, exercise was presented before or after the motor adaptation. Results showed no group differences during the motor adaptation while exercise seemed to enhance motor consolidation. Greater consolidation enhancement was found in participants who exercised before the learning task. Our data support the importance of exercise to improve motor-memory consolidation in children.

  9. Sleep benefits consolidation of visuo-motor adaptation learning in older adults.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mantua, Janna; Baran, Bengi; Spencer, Rebecca M C

    2016-02-01

    Sleep is beneficial for performance across a range of memory tasks in young adults, but whether memories are similarly consolidated in older adults is less clear. Performance benefits have been observed following sleep in older adults for declarative learning tasks, but this benefit may be reduced for non-declarative, motor skill learning tasks. To date, studies of sleep-dependent consolidation of motor learning in older adults are limited to motor sequence tasks. To examine whether reduced sleep-dependent consolidation in older adults is generalizable to other forms of motor skill learning, we examined performance changes over intervals of sleep and wake in young (n = 62) and older adults (n = 61) using a mirror-tracing task, which assesses visuo-motor adaptation learning. Participants learned the task either in the morning or in evening, and performance was assessed following a 12-h interval containing overnight sleep or daytime wake. Contrary to our prediction, both young adults and older adults exhibited sleep-dependent gains in visuo-motor adaptation. There was a correlation between performance improvement over sleep and percent of the night in non-REM stage 2 sleep. These results indicate that motor skill consolidation remains intact with increasing age although this relationship may be limited to specific forms of motor skill learning.

  10. Interference in Ballistic Motor Learning: Specificity and Role of Sensory Error Signals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lundbye-Jensen, Jesper; Petersen, Tue Hvass; Rothwell, John C.; Nielsen, Jens Bo

    2011-01-01

    Humans are capable of learning numerous motor skills, but newly acquired skills may be abolished by subsequent learning. Here we ask what factors determine whether interference occurs in motor learning. We speculated that interference requires competing processes of synaptic plasticity in overlapping circuits and predicted specificity. To test this, subjects learned a ballistic motor task. Interference was observed following subsequent learning of an accuracy-tracking task, but only if the competing task involved the same muscles and movement direction. Interference was not observed from a non-learning task suggesting that interference requires competing learning. Subsequent learning of the competing task 4 h after initial learning did not cause interference suggesting disruption of early motor memory consolidation as one possible mechanism underlying interference. Repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of corticospinal motor output at intensities below movement threshold did not cause interference, whereas suprathreshold rTMS evoking motor responses and (re)afferent activation did. Finally, the experiments revealed that suprathreshold repetitive electrical stimulation of the agonist (but not antagonist) peripheral nerve caused interference. The present study is, to our knowledge, the first to demonstrate that peripheral nerve stimulation may cause interference. The finding underscores the importance of sensory feedback as error signals in motor learning. We conclude that interference requires competing plasticity in overlapping circuits. Interference is remarkably specific for circuits involved in a specific movement and it may relate to sensory error signals. PMID:21408054

  11. Transcranial direct current stimulation over multiple days enhances motor performance of a grip task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fan, Julie; Voisin, Julien; Milot, Marie-Hélène; Higgins, Johanne; Boudrias, Marie-Hélène

    2017-09-01

    Recovery of handgrip is critical after stroke since it is positively related to upper limb function. To boost motor recovery, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a promising, non-invasive brain stimulation technique for the rehabilitation of persons with stroke. When applied over the primary motor cortex (M1), tDCS has been shown to modulate neural processes involved in motor learning. However, no studies have looked at the impact of tDCS on the learning of a grip task in both stroke and healthy individuals. To assess the use of tDCS over multiple days to promote motor learning of a grip task using a learning paradigm involving a speed-accuracy tradeoff in healthy individuals. In a double-blinded experiment, 30 right-handed subjects (mean age: 22.1±3.3 years) participated in the study and were randomly assigned to an anodal (n=15) or sham (n=15) stimulation group. First, subjects performed the grip task with their dominant hand while following the pace of a metronome. Afterwards, subjects trained on the task, at their own pace, over 5 consecutive days while receiving sham or anodal tDCS over M1. After training, subjects performed de novo the metronome-assisted task. The change in performance between the pre and post metronome-assisted task was used to assess the impact of the grip task and tDCS on learning. Anodal tDCS over M1 had a significant effect on the speed-accuracy tradeoff function. The anodal tDCS group showed significantly greater improvement in performance (39.28±15.92%) than the sham tDCS group (24.06±16.35%) on the metronome-assisted task, t(28)=2.583, P=0.015 (effect size d=0.94). Anodal tDCS is effective in promoting grip motor learning in healthy individuals. Further studies are warranted to test its potential use for the rehabilitation of fine motor skills in stroke patients. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

  12. Correlations between Motor Symptoms across Different Motor Tasks, Quantified via Random Forest Feature Classification in Parkinson’s Disease

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andreas Kuhner

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available BackgroundObjective assessments of Parkinson’s disease (PD patients’ motor state using motion capture techniques are still rarely used in clinical practice, even though they may improve clinical management. One major obstacle relates to the large dimensionality of motor abnormalities in PD. We aimed to extract global motor performance measures covering different everyday motor tasks, as a function of a clinical intervention, i.e., deep brain stimulation (DBS of the subthalamic nucleus.MethodsWe followed a data-driven, machine-learning approach and propose performance measures that employ Random Forests with probability distributions. We applied this method to 14 PD patients with DBS switched-off or -on, and 26 healthy control subjects performing the Timed Up and Go Test (TUG, the Functional Reach Test (FRT, a hand coordination task, walking 10-m straight, and a 90° curve.ResultsFor each motor task, a Random Forest identified a specific set of metrics that optimally separated PD off DBS from healthy subjects. We noted the highest accuracy (94.6% for standing up. This corresponded to a sensitivity of 91.5% to detect a PD patient off DBS, and a specificity of 97.2% representing the rate of correctly identified healthy subjects. We then calculated performance measures based on these sets of metrics and applied those results to characterize symptom severity in different motor tasks. Task-specific symptom severity measures correlated significantly with each other and with the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS, part III, correlation of r2 = 0.79. Agreement rates between different measures ranged from 79.8 to 89.3%.ConclusionThe close correlation of PD patients’ various motor abnormalities quantified by different, task-specific severity measures suggests that these abnormalities are only facets of the underlying one-dimensional severity of motor deficits. The identification and characterization of this underlying motor deficit

  13. Interference in ballistic motor learning: specificity and role of sensory error signals

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lundbye-Jensen, Jesper; Petersen, Tue Hvass; Rothwell, John C

    2011-01-01

    Humans are capable of learning numerous motor skills, but newly acquired skills may be abolished by subsequent learning. Here we ask what factors determine whether interference occurs in motor learning. We speculated that interference requires competing processes of synaptic plasticity in overlap......Humans are capable of learning numerous motor skills, but newly acquired skills may be abolished by subsequent learning. Here we ask what factors determine whether interference occurs in motor learning. We speculated that interference requires competing processes of synaptic plasticity...... in overlapping circuits and predicted specificity. To test this, subjects learned a ballistic motor task. Interference was observed following subsequent learning of an accuracy-tracking task, but only if the competing task involved the same muscles and movement direction. Interference was not observed from a non......-learning task suggesting that interference requires competing learning. Subsequent learning of the competing task 4 h after initial learning did not cause interference suggesting disruption of early motor memory consolidation as one possible mechanism underlying interference. Repeated transcranial magnetic...

  14. The Knockout of Secretin in Cerebellar Purkinje Cells Impairs Mouse Motor Coordination and Motor Learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Li; Chung, Sookja Kim; Chow, Billy Kwok Chong

    2014-01-01

    Secretin (SCT) was first considered to be a gut hormone regulating gastrointestinal functions when discovered. Recently, however, central actions of SCT have drawn intense research interest and are supported by the broad distribution of SCT in specific neuronal populations and by in vivo physiological studies regarding its role in water homeostasis and food intake. The direct action of SCT on a central neuron was first discovered in cerebellar Purkinje cells in which SCT from cerebellar Purkinje cells was found to potentiate GABAergic inhibitory transmission from presynaptic basket cells. Because Purkinje neurons have a major role in motor coordination and learning functions, we hypothesize a behavioral modulatory function for SCT. In this study, we successfully generated a mouse model in which the SCT gene was deleted specifically in Purkinje cells. This mouse line was tested together with SCT knockout and SCT receptor knockout mice in a full battery of behavioral tasks. We found that the knockout of SCT in Purkinje neurons did not affect general motor ability or the anxiety level in open field tests. However, knockout mice did exhibit impairments in neuromuscular strength, motor coordination, and motor learning abilities, as shown by wire hanging, vertical climbing, and rotarod tests. In addition, SCT knockout in Purkinje cells possibly led to the delayed development of motor neurons, as supported by the later occurrence of key neural reflexes. In summary, our data suggest a role in motor coordination and motor learning for SCT expressed in cerebellar Purkinje cells. PMID:24356714

  15. Emergence of Virtual Reality as a Tool for Upper Limb Rehabilitation: Incorporation of Motor Control and Motor Learning Principles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weiss, Patrice L.; Keshner, Emily A.

    2015-01-01

    The primary focus of rehabilitation for individuals with loss of upper limb movement as a result of acquired brain injury is the relearning of specific motor skills and daily tasks. This relearning is essential because the loss of upper limb movement often results in a reduced quality of life. Although rehabilitation strives to take advantage of neuroplastic processes during recovery, results of traditional approaches to upper limb rehabilitation have not entirely met this goal. In contrast, enriched training tasks, simulated with a wide range of low- to high-end virtual reality–based simulations, can be used to provide meaningful, repetitive practice together with salient feedback, thereby maximizing neuroplastic processes via motor learning and motor recovery. Such enriched virtual environments have the potential to optimize motor learning by manipulating practice conditions that explicitly engage motivational, cognitive, motor control, and sensory feedback–based learning mechanisms. The objectives of this article are to review motor control and motor learning principles, to discuss how they can be exploited by virtual reality training environments, and to provide evidence concerning current applications for upper limb motor recovery. The limitations of the current technologies with respect to their effectiveness and transfer of learning to daily life tasks also are discussed. PMID:25212522

  16. Self-Controlled Practice Enhances Motor Learning in Introverts and Extroverts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaefer, Angélica; Chiviacowsky, Suzete; Meira, Cassio de Miranda, Jr.; Tani, Go

    2014-01-01

    Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of self-controlled feedback on the learning of a sequential-timing motor task in introverts and extroverts. Method: Fifty-six university students were selected by the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. They practiced a motor task consisting of pressing computer keyboard keys…

  17. Motor planning flexibly optimizes performance under uncertainty about task goals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wong, Aaron L; Haith, Adrian M

    2017-03-03

    In an environment full of potential goals, how does the brain determine which movement to execute? Existing theories posit that the motor system prepares for all potential goals by generating several motor plans in parallel. One major line of evidence for such theories is that presenting two competing goals often results in a movement intermediate between them. These intermediate movements are thought to reflect an unintentional averaging of the competing plans. However, normative theories suggest instead that intermediate movements might actually be deliberate, generated because they improve task performance over a random guessing strategy. To test this hypothesis, we vary the benefit of making an intermediate movement by changing movement speed. We find that participants generate intermediate movements only at (slower) speeds where they measurably improve performance. Our findings support the normative view that the motor system selects only a single, flexible motor plan, optimized for uncertain goals.

  18. Dissociable effects of practice variability on learning motor and timing skills.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Caramiaux, Baptiste; Bevilacqua, Frédéric; Wanderley, Marcelo M; Palmer, Caroline

    2018-01-01

    Motor skill acquisition inherently depends on the way one practices the motor task. The amount of motor task variability during practice has been shown to foster transfer of the learned skill to other similar motor tasks. In addition, variability in a learning schedule, in which a task and its variations are interweaved during practice, has been shown to help the transfer of learning in motor skill acquisition. However, there is little evidence on how motor task variations and variability schedules during practice act on the acquisition of complex motor skills such as music performance, in which a performer learns both the right movements (motor skill) and the right time to perform them (timing skill). This study investigated the impact of rate (tempo) variability and the schedule of tempo change during practice on timing and motor skill acquisition. Complete novices, with no musical training, practiced a simple musical sequence on a piano keyboard at different rates. Each novice was assigned to one of four learning conditions designed to manipulate the amount of tempo variability across trials (large or small tempo set) and the schedule of tempo change (randomized or non-randomized order) during practice. At test, the novices performed the same musical sequence at a familiar tempo and at novel tempi (testing tempo transfer), as well as two novel (but related) sequences at a familiar tempo (testing spatial transfer). We found that practice conditions had little effect on learning and transfer performance of timing skill. Interestingly, practice conditions influenced motor skill learning (reduction of movement variability): lower temporal variability during practice facilitated transfer to new tempi and new sequences; non-randomized learning schedule improved transfer to new tempi and new sequences. Tempo (rate) and the sequence difficulty (spatial manipulation) affected performance variability in both timing and movement. These findings suggest that there is a

  19. Defining Elemental Imitation Mechanisms: A Comparison of Cognitive and Motor-Spatial Imitation Learning across Object- and Computer-Based Tasks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Subiaul, Francys; Zimmermann, Laura; Renner, Elizabeth; Schilder, Brian; Barr, Rachel

    2016-01-01

    During the first 5 years of life, the versatility, breadth, and fidelity with which children imitate change dramatically. Currently, there is no model to explain what underlies such significant changes. To that end, the present study examined whether task-independent but domain-specific--elemental--imitation mechanism explains performance across…

  20. Visual Motor and Perceptual Task Performance in Astigmatic Students

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Erin M. Harvey

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Purpose. To determine if spectacle corrected and uncorrected astigmats show reduced performance on visual motor and perceptual tasks. Methods. Third through 8th grade students were assigned to the low refractive error control group (astigmatism < 1.00 D, myopia < 0.75 D, hyperopia < 2.50 D, and anisometropia < 1.50 D or bilateral astigmatism group (right and left eye ≥ 1.00 D based on cycloplegic refraction. Students completed the Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration (VMI and Visual Perception (VMIp. Astigmats were randomly assigned to testing with/without correction and control group was tested uncorrected. Analyses compared VMI and VMIp scores for corrected and uncorrected astigmats to the control group. Results. The sample included 333 students (control group 170, astigmats tested with correction 75, and astigmats tested uncorrected 88. Mean VMI score in corrected astigmats did not differ from the control group (p=0.829. Uncorrected astigmats had lower VMI scores than the control group (p=0.038 and corrected astigmats (p=0.007. Mean VMIp scores for uncorrected (p=0.209 and corrected astigmats (p=0.124 did not differ from the control group. Uncorrected astigmats had lower mean scores than the corrected astigmats (p=0.003. Conclusions. Uncorrected astigmatism influences visual motor and perceptual task performance. Previously spectacle treated astigmats do not show developmental deficits on visual motor or perceptual tasks when tested with correction.

  1. The effect of haptic guidance and visual feedback on learning a complex tennis task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marchal-Crespo, Laura; van Raai, Mark; Rauter, Georg; Wolf, Peter; Riener, Robert

    2013-11-01

    While haptic guidance can improve ongoing performance of a motor task, several studies have found that it ultimately impairs motor learning. However, some recent studies suggest that the haptic demonstration of optimal timing, rather than movement magnitude, enhances learning in subjects trained with haptic guidance. Timing of an action plays a crucial role in the proper accomplishment of many motor skills, such as hitting a moving object (discrete timing task) or learning a velocity profile (time-critical tracking task). The aim of the present study is to evaluate which feedback conditions-visual or haptic guidance-optimize learning of the discrete and continuous elements of a timing task. The experiment consisted in performing a fast tennis forehand stroke in a virtual environment. A tendon-based parallel robot connected to the end of a racket was used to apply haptic guidance during training. In two different experiments, we evaluated which feedback condition was more adequate for learning: (1) a time-dependent discrete task-learning to start a tennis stroke and (2) a tracking task-learning to follow a velocity profile. The effect that the task difficulty and subject's initial skill level have on the selection of the optimal training condition was further evaluated. Results showed that the training condition that maximizes learning of the discrete time-dependent motor task depends on the subjects' initial skill level. Haptic guidance was especially suitable for less-skilled subjects and in especially difficult discrete tasks, while visual feedback seems to benefit more skilled subjects. Additionally, haptic guidance seemed to promote learning in a time-critical tracking task, while visual feedback tended to deteriorate the performance independently of the task difficulty and subjects' initial skill level. Haptic guidance outperformed visual feedback, although additional studies are needed to further analyze the effect of other types of feedback visualization on

  2. Training on motor and visual spatial learning tasks in early adulthood produces large changes in dendritic organization of prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens in rats given nicotine prenatally.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muhammad, A; Mychasiuk, R; Hosain, S; Nakahashi, A; Carroll, C; Gibb, R; Kolb, B

    2013-11-12

    Experience-dependent plasticity is an ongoing process that can be observed and measured at multiple levels. The first goal of this study was to examine the effects of prenatal nicotine on the performance of rats in three behavioral tasks (elevated plus maze (EPM), Morris water task (MWT), and Whishaw tray reaching). The second goal of this experiment sought to examine changes in dendritic organization following exposure to the behavioral training paradigm and/or low doses of prenatal nicotine. Female Long-Evans rats were administered daily injections of nicotine for the duration of pregnancy and their pups underwent a regimen of behavioral training in early adulthood (EPM, MWT, and Whishaw tray reaching). All offspring exposed to nicotine prenatally exhibited substantial increases in anxiety. Male offspring also showed increased efficiency in the Whishaw tray-reaching task and performed differently than the other groups in the probe trial of the MWT. Using Golgi-Cox staining we examined the dendritic organization of the medial and orbital prefrontal cortex as well as the nucleus accumbens. Participation in the behavioral training paradigm was associated with dramatic reorganization of dendritic morphology and spine density in all brain regions examined. Although both treatments (behavior training and prenatal nicotine exposure) markedly altered dendritic organization, the effects of the behavioral experience were much larger than those of the prenatal drug exposure, and in some cases interacted with the drug effects. Copyright © 2013 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Multidisciplinary Views on Applying Explicit and Implicit Motor Learning in Practice: An International Survey.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Melanie Kleynen

    Full Text Available A variety of options and techniques for causing implicit and explicit motor learning have been described in the literature. The aim of the current paper was to provide clearer guidance for practitioners on how to apply motor learning in practice by exploring experts' opinions and experiences, using the distinction between implicit and explicit motor learning as a conceptual departure point.A survey was designed to collect and aggregate informed opinions and experiences from 40 international respondents who had demonstrable expertise related to motor learning in practice and/or research. The survey was administered through an online survey tool and addressed potential options and learning strategies for applying implicit and explicit motor learning. Responses were analysed in terms of consensus (≥ 70% and trends (≥ 50%. A summary figure was developed to illustrate a taxonomy of the different learning strategies and options indicated by the experts in the survey.Answers of experts were widely distributed. No consensus was found regarding the application of implicit and explicit motor learning. Some trends were identified: Explicit motor learning can be promoted by using instructions and various types of feedback, but when promoting implicit motor learning, instructions and feedback should be restricted. Further, for implicit motor learning, an external focus of attention should be considered, as well as practicing the entire skill. Experts agreed on three factors that influence motor learning choices: the learner's abilities, the type of task, and the stage of motor learning (94.5%; n = 34/36. Most experts agreed with the summary figure (64.7%; n = 22/34.The results provide an overview of possible ways to cause implicit or explicit motor learning, signposting examples from practice and factors that influence day-to-day motor learning decisions.

  4. Motor learning as a criterion for evaluating coordination motor abilities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Boraczynski Tomasz

    2011-10-01

    Full Text Available The aim of the study was to evaluate the ability of motor learning based on objective, metric criteria, in terms of pedagogical process aimed at improving the accuracy of hits a golf ball to the target. A group of 77 students of physical education participated in the study. Within 8 months there were performed 11 measurement sessions. In each session, subjects performed 10 hits a golf ball to the target from a distance of 9 m. Accuracy of hits was recorded. Effect of motor learning has been demonstrated in the progress of 10 consecutive hits a golf ball to the target in each session (operational control; in the dynamics of performance improvement between sessions (current control; as well as in the total result of eight-month experiment (stage control. There were developed norms for quantitative and qualitative assessment of accuracy of hits a golf ball to the target. Developed quantitative and qualitative criteria for assessing the speed of motor learning in various conditions of the educational process creates the possibility of organization the operational, current and stage control of the level of human coordination motor abilities, as required by leading process.

  5. The change in perceived motor competence and motor task values during elementary school : A longitudinal cohort study

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Noordstar, Johannes J; van der Net, Janjaap; Jak, Suzanne; Helders, Paul J M; Jongmans, Marian J

    Participation in motor activities is essential for social interaction and life satisfaction in children. Self-perceptions and task values have a central position in why children do or do not participate in (motor) activities. Investigating developmental changes in motor self-perceptions and motor

  6. Structural Correlates of Skilled Performance on a Motor Sequence Task

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher J Steele

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available The brain regions functionally engaged in motor sequence performance are well established, but the structural characteristics of these regions and the fibre pathways involved have been less well studied. In addition, relatively few studies have combined multiple magnetic resonance imaging (MRI and behavioural performance measures in the same sample. Therefore, the current study used diffusion tensor imaging, probabilistic tractography, and voxel-based morphometry to determine the structural correlates of skilled motor performance. Further, we compared these findings with fMRI results in the same sample. We correlated final performance and rate of improvement measures on a temporal motor sequence task with skeletonised fractional anisotropy (FA and whole brain grey matter (GM volume. Final synchronisation performance was negatively correlated with FA in white matter underlying bilateral sensorimotor cortex – an effect that was mediated by a positive correlation with radial diffusivity. Multi-fibre tractography indicated that this region contained crossing fibres from the corticospinal tract and superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF. The identified SLF pathway linked parietal and auditory cortical regions that have been shown to be functionally engaged in this task. Thus, we hypothesise that enhanced synchronisation performance on this task may be related to greater fibre integrity of the SLF. Rate of improvement on synchronisation was positively correlated with GM volume in cerebellar lobules HVI and V – regions that showed training-related decreases in activity in the same sample. Taken together, our results link individual differences in brain structure and function to motor sequence performance on the same task. Further, our study illustrates the utility of using multiple MR measures and analysis techniques to specify the interpretation of structural findings.

  7. Cognitive and motor dual task gait training improve dual task gait performance after stroke - A randomized controlled pilot trial.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Yan-Ci; Yang, Yea-Ru; Tsai, Yun-An; Wang, Ray-Yau

    2017-06-22

    This study investigated effects of cognitive and motor dual task gait training on dual task gait performance in stroke. Participants (n = 28) were randomly assigned to cognitive dual task gait training (CDTT), motor dual task gait training (MDTT), or conventional physical therapy (CPT) group. Participants in CDTT or MDTT group practiced the cognitive or motor tasks respectively during walking. Participants in CPT group received strengthening, balance, and gait training. The intervention was 30 min/session, 3 sessions/week for 4 weeks. Three test conditions to evaluate the training effects were single walking, walking while performing cognitive task (serial subtraction), and walking while performing motor task (tray-carrying). Parameters included gait speed, dual task cost of gait speed (DTC-speed), cadence, stride time, and stride length. After CDTT, cognitive-motor dual task gait performance (stride length and DTC-speed) was improved (p = 0.021; p = 0.015). After MDTT, motor dual task gait performance (gait speed, stride length, and DTC-speed) was improved (p = 0.008; p = 0.008; p = 0.008 respectively). It seems that CDTT improved cognitive dual task gait performance and MDTT improved motor dual task gait performance although such improvements did not reach significant group difference. Therefore, different types of dual task gait training can be adopted to enhance different dual task gait performance in stroke.

  8. Multi-task Vector Field Learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, Binbin; Yang, Sen; Zhang, Chiyuan; Ye, Jieping; He, Xiaofei

    2012-01-01

    Multi-task learning (MTL) aims to improve generalization performance by learning multiple related tasks simultaneously and identifying the shared information among tasks. Most of existing MTL methods focus on learning linear models under the supervised setting. We propose a novel semi-supervised and nonlinear approach for MTL using vector fields. A vector field is a smooth mapping from the manifold to the tangent spaces which can be viewed as a directional derivative of functions on the manifold. We argue that vector fields provide a natural way to exploit the geometric structure of data as well as the shared differential structure of tasks, both of which are crucial for semi-supervised multi-task learning. In this paper, we develop multi-task vector field learning (MTVFL) which learns the predictor functions and the vector fields simultaneously. MTVFL has the following key properties. (1) The vector fields MTVFL learns are close to the gradient fields of the predictor functions. (2) Within each task, the vector field is required to be as parallel as possible which is expected to span a low dimensional subspace. (3) The vector fields from all tasks share a low dimensional subspace. We formalize our idea in a regularization framework and also provide a convex relaxation method to solve the original non-convex problem. The experimental results on synthetic and real data demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed approach.

  9. Influence of visual observational conditions on tongue motor learning

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kothari, Mohit; Liu, Xuimei; Baad-Hansen, Lene

    2016-01-01

    To investigate the impact of visual observational conditions on performance during a standardized tongue-protrusion training (TPT) task and to evaluate subject-based reports of helpfulness, disturbance, pain, and fatigue due to the observational conditions on 0-10 numerical rating scales. Forty...... regarding the level of disturbance, pain or fatigue. Self-observation of tongue-training facilitated behavioral aspects of tongue motor learning compared with model-observation but not compared with control....

  10. Concurrent TMS to the primary motor cortex augments slow motor learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Narayana, Shalini; Zhang, Wei; Rogers, William; Strickland, Casey; Franklin, Crystal; Lancaster, Jack L.; Fox, Peter T.

    2013-01-01

    Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has shown promise as a treatment tool, with one FDA approved use. While TMS alone is able to up- (or down-) regulate a targeted neural system, we argue that TMS applied as an adjuvant is more effective for repetitive physical, behavioral and cognitive therapies, that is, therapies which are designed to alter the network properties of neural systems through Hebbian learning. We tested this hypothesis in the context of a slow motor learning paradigm. Healthy right-handed individuals were assigned to receive 5 Hz TMS (TMS group) or sham TMS (sham group) to the right primary motor cortex (M1) as they performed daily motor practice of a digit sequence task with their non-dominant hand for 4 weeks. Resting cerebral blood flow (CBF) was measured by H215O PET at baseline and after 4 weeks of practice. Sequence performance was measured daily as the number of correct sequences performed, and modeled using a hyperbolic function. Sequence performance increased significantly at 4 weeks relative to baseline in both groups. The TMS group had a significant additional improvement in performance, specifically, in the rate of skill acquisition. In both groups, an improvement in sequence timing and transfer of skills to non-trained motor domains was also found. Compared to the sham group, the TMS group demonstrated increases in resting CBF specifically in regions known to mediate skill learning namely, the M1, cingulate cortex, putamen, hippocampus, and cerebellum. These results indicate that TMS applied concomitantly augments behavioral effects of motor practice, with corresponding neural plasticity in motor sequence learning network. These findings are the first demonstration of the behavioral and neural enhancing effects of TMS on slow motor practice and have direct application in neurorehabilitation where TMS could be applied in conjunction with physical therapy. PMID:23867557

  11. Task and task-free fMRI reproducibility comparison for motor network identification

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kristo, G.; Rutten, G.J.; Raemaekers, M.; de Gelder, B.; Rombouts, S.A.R.B.; Ramsey, N.F.

    2014-01-01

    Test-retest reliability of individual functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) results is of importance in clinical practice and longitudinal experiments. While several studies have investigated reliability of task-induced motor network activation, less is known about the reliability of the

  12. Structural integrity of callosal midbody influences intermanual transfer in a motor reaction-time task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonzano, Laura; Tacchino, Andrea; Roccatagliata, Luca; Mancardi, Giovanni Luigi; Abbruzzese, Giovanni; Bove, Marco

    2011-02-01

    Training one hand on a motor task results in performance improvements in the other hand, also when stimuli are randomly presented (nonspecific transfer). Corpus callosum (CC) is the main structure involved in interhemispheric information transfer; CC pathology occurs in patients with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) and is related to altered performance of tasks requiring interhemispheric transfer of sensorimotor information. To investigate the role of CC in nonspecific transfer during a pure motor reaction-time task, we combined motor behavior with diffusion tensor imaging analysis in PwMS. Twenty-two PwMS and 10 controls, all right-handed, were asked to respond to random stimuli with appropriate finger opposition movements with the right (learning) and then the left (transfer) hand. PwMS were able to improve motor performance reducing response times with practice with a trend similar to controls and preserved the ability to transfer the acquired motor information from the learning to the transfer hand. A higher variability in the transfer process, indicated by a significantly larger standard deviation of mean nonspecific transfer, was found in the PwMS group with respect to the control group, suggesting the presence of subtle impairments in interhemispheric communication in some patients. Then, we correlated the amount of nonspecific transfer with mean fractional anisotropy (FA) values, indicative of microstructural damage, obtained in five CC subregions identified on PwMS's FA maps. A significant correlation was found only in the subregion including posterior midbody (Pearson's r = 0.74, P = 0.003), which thus seems to be essential for the interhemispheric transfer of information related to pure sensorimotor tasks. Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  13. Successful Transfer of a Motor Learning Strategy to a Novel Sport.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kearney, Philip E; Judge, Phil

    2017-10-01

    This study investigated whether secondary school students who were taught a motor learning strategy could transfer their knowledge of the strategy to learning a novel task. Twenty adolescents were randomly allocated to a strategy or control group. The strategy group was taught Singer's five-step learning strategy, while the control group received information on the evolution and biomechanics of the basketball free throw. Both groups received three 1-hour practice sessions on a modified basketball shooting task. After one month, participants were introduced to the transfer task, golf putting. Performance accuracy was recorded for all tasks, and participants completed questionnaires regarding strategy use during practice. Participants taught the five-step learning strategy successfully recalled and applied it after a 1-month interval, and they demonstrated superior performance on both acquisition and transfer tasks, relative to the control group. Physical education teachers and coaches should consider using this learning strategy to enhance the learning of closed motor skills.

  14. Consolidating the effects of waking and sleep on motor-sequence learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brawn, Timothy P; Fenn, Kimberly M; Nusbaum, Howard C; Margoliash, Daniel

    2010-10-20

    Sleep is widely believed to play a critical role in memory consolidation. Sleep-dependent consolidation has been studied extensively in humans using an explicit motor-sequence learning paradigm. In this task, performance has been reported to remain stable across wakefulness and improve significantly after sleep, making motor-sequence learning the definitive example of sleep-dependent enhancement. Recent work, however, has shown that enhancement disappears when the task is modified to reduce task-related inhibition that develops over a training session, thus questioning whether sleep actively consolidates motor learning. Here we use the same motor-sequence task to demonstrate sleep-dependent consolidation for motor-sequence learning and explain the discrepancies in results across studies. We show that when training begins in the morning, motor-sequence performance deteriorates across wakefulness and recovers after sleep, whereas performance remains stable across both sleep and subsequent waking with evening training. This pattern of results challenges an influential model of memory consolidation defined by a time-dependent stabilization phase and a sleep-dependent enhancement phase. Moreover, the present results support a new account of the behavioral effects of waking and sleep on explicit motor-sequence learning that is consistent across a wide range of tasks. These observations indicate that current theories of memory consolidation that have been formulated to explain sleep-dependent performance enhancements are insufficient to explain the range of behavioral changes associated with sleep.

  15. Learning a locomotor task: with or without errors?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marchal-Crespo, Laura; Schneider, Jasmin; Jaeger, Lukas; Riener, Robert

    2014-03-04

    Robotic haptic guidance is the most commonly used robotic training strategy to reduce performance errors while training. However, research on motor learning has emphasized that errors are a fundamental neural signal that drive motor adaptation. Thus, researchers have proposed robotic therapy algorithms that amplify movement errors rather than decrease them. However, to date, no study has analyzed with precision which training strategy is the most appropriate to learn an especially simple task. In this study, the impact of robotic training strategies that amplify or reduce errors on muscle activation and motor learning of a simple locomotor task was investigated in twenty two healthy subjects. The experiment was conducted with the MAgnetic Resonance COmpatible Stepper (MARCOS) a special robotic device developed for investigations in the MR scanner. The robot moved the dominant leg passively and the subject was requested to actively synchronize the non-dominant leg to achieve an alternating stepping-like movement. Learning with four different training strategies that reduce or amplify errors was evaluated: (i) Haptic guidance: errors were eliminated by passively moving the limbs, (ii) No guidance: no robot disturbances were presented, (iii) Error amplification: existing errors were amplified with repulsive forces, (iv) Noise disturbance: errors were evoked intentionally with a randomly-varying force disturbance on top of the no guidance strategy. Additionally, the activation of four lower limb muscles was measured by the means of surface electromyography (EMG). Strategies that reduce or do not amplify errors limit muscle activation during training and result in poor learning gains. Adding random disturbing forces during training seems to increase attention, and therefore improve motor learning. Error amplification seems to be the most suitable strategy for initially less skilled subjects, perhaps because subjects could better detect their errors and correct them

  16. Motor Preparation Disrupts Proactive Control in the Stop Signal Task

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    Wuyi Wang

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available In a study of the stop signal task (SST we employed Bayesian modeling to compute the estimated likelihood of stop signal or P(Stop trial by trial and identified regional processes of conflict anticipation and response slowing. A higher P(Stop is associated with prolonged go trial reaction time (goRT—a form of sequential effect—and reflects proactive control of motor response. However, some individuals do not demonstrate a sequential effect despite similar go and stop success (SS rates. We posited that motor preparation may disrupt proactive control more in certain individuals than others. Specifically, the time interval between trial and go signal onset—the fore-period (FP—varies across trials and a longer FP is associated with a higher level of motor preparation and shorter goRT. Greater motor preparatory activities may disrupt proactive control. To test this hypothesis, we compared brain activations and Granger causal connectivities of 81 adults who demonstrated a sequential effect (SEQ and 35 who did not (nSEQ. SEQ and nSEQ did not differ in regional activations to conflict anticipation, motor preparation, goRT slowing or goRT speeding. In contrast, SEQ and nSEQ demonstrated different patterns of Granger causal connectivities. P(Stop and FP activations shared reciprocal influence in SEQ but FP activities Granger caused P(Stop activities unidirectionally in nSEQ, and FP activities Granger caused goRT speeding activities in nSEQ but not SEQ. These findings support the hypothesis that motor preparation disrupts proactive control in nSEQ and provide direct neural evidence for interactive go and stop processes.

  17. Practice makes imperfect: restorative effects of sleep on motor learning.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bhavin R Sheth

    Full Text Available Emerging evidence suggests that sleep plays a key role in procedural learning, particularly in the continued development of motor skill learning following initial acquisition. We argue that a detailed examination of the time course of performance across sleep on the finger-tapping task, established as the paradigm for studying the effect of sleep on motor learning, will help distinguish a restorative role of sleep in motor skill learning from a proactive one. Healthy subjects rehearsed for 12 trials and, following a night of sleep, were tested. Early training rapidly improved speed as well as accuracy on pre-sleep training. Additional rehearsal caused a marked slow-down in further improvement or partial reversal in performance to observed levels below theoretical upper limits derived on the basis of early pre-sleep rehearsal. This decrement in learning efficacy does not occur always, but if and only if it does, overnight sleep has an effect in fully or partly restoring the efficacy and actual performance to the optimal theoretically achieveable level. Our findings re-interpret the sleep-dependent memory enhancement in motor learning reported in the literature as a restoration of fatigued circuitry specialized for the skill. In providing restitution to the fatigued brain, sleep eliminates the rehearsal-induced synaptic fatigue of the circuitry specialized for the task and restores the benefit of early pre-sleep rehearsal. The present findings lend support to the notion that latent sleep-dependent enhancement of performance is a behavioral expression of the brain's restitution in sleep.

  18. Optimizing learning of a locomotor task: amplifying errors as needed.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marchal-Crespo, Laura; López-Olóriz, Jorge; Jaeger, Lukas; Riener, Robert

    2014-01-01

    Research on motor learning has emphasized that errors drive motor adaptation. Thereby, several researchers have proposed robotic training strategies that amplify movement errors rather than decrease them. In this study, the effect of different robotic training strategies that amplify errors on learning a complex locomotor task was investigated. The experiment was conducted with a one degree-of freedom robotic stepper (MARCOS). Subjects were requested to actively coordinate their legs in a desired gait-like pattern in order to track a Lissajous figure presented on a visual display. Learning with three different training strategies was evaluated: (i) No perturbation: the robot follows the subjects' movement without applying any perturbation, (ii) Error amplification: existing errors were amplified with repulsive forces proportional to errors, (iii) Noise disturbance: errors were evoked with a randomly-varying force disturbance. Results showed that training without perturbations was especially suitable for a subset of initially less-skilled subjects, while error amplification seemed to benefit more skilled subjects. Training with error amplification, however, limited transfer of learning. Random disturbing forces benefited learning and promoted transfer in all subjects, probably because it increased attention. These results suggest that learning a locomotor task can be optimized when errors are randomly evoked or amplified based on subjects' initial skill level.

  19. Positron computed tomography studies of cerebral metabolic responses to complex motor tasks

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Phelps, M.E.; Mazziotta, J.C.

    1984-01-01

    Human motor system organization was explored in 8 right-handed male subjects using /sup 18/F-fluorodeoxyglucose and positron computed tomography to measure cerebral glucose metabolism. Five subjects had triple studies (eyes closed) including: control (hold pen in right hand without moving), normal size writing (subject repeatedly writes name) and large (10-15 X normal) name writing. In these studies normal and large size writing had a similar distribution of metabolic responses when compared to control studies. Activations (percent change from control) were in the range of 12-20% and occurred in the striatum bilaterally > contralateral Rolandic cortex > contralateral thalamus. No significant activations were observed in the ipsilateral thalamus, Rolandic cortex or cerebellum (supplementary motor cortex was not examined). The magnitude of the metabolic response in the striatum was greater with the large versus normal sized writing. This differential response may be due to an increased number and topographic distribution of neurons responding with the same average activity between tasks or an increase in the functional activity of the same neuronal population between the two tasks (present spatial resolution inadequate to differentiate). When subjects (N=3) performed novel sequential finger movements, the maximal metabolic response was in the contralateral Rolandic cortex > striatum. Such studies provide a means of exploring human motor system organization, motor learning and provide a basis for examining patients with motor system disorders

  20. Motor Learning as Young Gymnast's Talent Indicator.

    Science.gov (United States)

    di Cagno, Alessandra; Battaglia, Claudia; Fiorilli, Giovanni; Piazza, Marina; Giombini, Arrigo; Fagnani, Federica; Borrione, Paolo; Calcagno, Giuseppe; Pigozzi, Fabio

    2014-12-01

    Talent identification plans are designed to select young athletes with the ability to achieve future success in sports. The aim of the study was to verify the predictive value of coordination and precision in skill acquisition during motor learning, as indicators of talent. One hundred gymnasts, both cadets (aged 11.5 ± 0.5 yr.) and juniors (aged 13.3 ± 0.5 years), competing at the national level, were enrolled in the study. The assessment of motor coordination involved three tests of the validated Hirtz's battery (1985), and motor skill learning involved four technical tests, specific of rhythmic gymnastics. All the tests were correlated with ranking and performance scores reached by each gymnast in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 National Championships. Coordination tests were significantly correlated to 2013 Championships scores (p talent identification and selection procedures it is better to include the evaluation of coordination and motor learning ability.Motor learning assessment concerns performance improvement and the ability to develop it, rather than evaluating the athlete's current performance.In this manner talent identification processes should be focused on the future performance capabilities of athletes.

  1. Selecting Learning Tasks: Effects of Adaptation and Shared Control on Learning Efficiency and Task Involvement

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corbalan, Gemma; Kester, Liesbeth; van Merrienboer, Jeroen J. G.

    2008-01-01

    Complex skill acquisition by performing authentic learning tasks is constrained by limited working memory capacity [Baddeley, A. D. (1992). Working memory. "Science, 255", 556-559]. To prevent cognitive overload, task difficulty and support of each newly selected learning task can be adapted to the learner's competence level and perceived task…

  2. Learning stochastic reward distributions in a speeded pointing task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seydell, Anna; McCann, Brian C; Trommershäuser, Julia; Knill, David C

    2008-04-23

    Recent studies have shown that humans effectively take into account task variance caused by intrinsic motor noise when planning fast hand movements. However, previous evidence suggests that humans have greater difficulty accounting for arbitrary forms of stochasticity in their environment, both in economic decision making and sensorimotor tasks. We hypothesized that humans can learn to optimize movement strategies when environmental randomness can be experienced and thus implicitly learned over several trials, especially if it mimics the kinds of randomness for which subjects might have generative models. We tested the hypothesis using a task in which subjects had to rapidly point at a target region partly covered by three stochastic penalty regions introduced as "defenders." At movement completion, each defender jumped to a new position drawn randomly from fixed probability distributions. Subjects earned points when they hit the target, unblocked by a defender, and lost points otherwise. Results indicate that after approximately 600 trials, subjects approached optimal behavior. We further tested whether subjects simply learned a set of stimulus-contingent motor plans or the statistics of defenders' movements by training subjects with one penalty distribution and then testing them on a new penalty distribution. Subjects immediately changed their strategy to achieve the same average reward as subjects who had trained with the second penalty distribution. These results indicate that subjects learned the parameters of the defenders' jump distributions and used this knowledge to optimally plan their hand movements under conditions involving stochastic rewards and penalties.

  3. Impedance learning for robotic contact tasks using natural actor-critic algorithm.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Byungchan; Park, Jooyoung; Park, Shinsuk; Kang, Sungchul

    2010-04-01

    Compared with their robotic counterparts, humans excel at various tasks by using their ability to adaptively modulate arm impedance parameters. This ability allows us to successfully perform contact tasks even in uncertain environments. This paper considers a learning strategy of motor skill for robotic contact tasks based on a human motor control theory and machine learning schemes. Our robot learning method employs impedance control based on the equilibrium point control theory and reinforcement learning to determine the impedance parameters for contact tasks. A recursive least-square filter-based episodic natural actor-critic algorithm is used to find the optimal impedance parameters. The effectiveness of the proposed method was tested through dynamic simulations of various contact tasks. The simulation results demonstrated that the proposed method optimizes the performance of the contact tasks in uncertain conditions of the environment.

  4. Task-specific recruitment of motor units for vibration damping.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wakeling, James M; Liphardt, Anna-Maria

    2006-01-01

    Vibrations occur within the soft tissues of the lower extremities due to the heel-strike impact during walking. Increases in muscle activity in the lower extremities result in increased damping to reduce this vibration. The myoelectric intensity spectra were compared using principal component analysis from the tibialis anterior and lateral gastrocnemius of 40 subjects walking with different shoe conditions. The soft insert condition resulted in a significant, simultaneous increase in muscle activity with a shift to higher myoelectric frequencies in the period 0-60 ms after heel-strike which is the period when the greater vibration damping occurred. These increases in myoelectric frequency match the spectral patterns which indicate increases in recruitment of faster motor units. It is concluded that fast motor units are recruited during the task of damping the soft-tissue resonance that occurs following heel-strike.

  5. Neuronal mechanisms of motor learning and motor memory consolidation in healthy old adults

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Berghuis, K. M. M.; Veldman, M. P.; Solnik, S.; Koch, G.; Zijdewind, I.; Hortobagyi, T.

    It is controversial whether or not old adults are capable of learning new motor skills and consolidate the performance gains into motor memory in the offline period. The underlying neuronal mechanisms are equally unclear. We determined the magnitude of motor learning and motor memory consolidation

  6. Task-dependent changes of corticospinal excitability during observation and motor imagery of balance tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mouthon, A; Ruffieux, J; Wälchli, M; Keller, M; Taube, W

    2015-09-10

    Non-physical balance training has demonstrated to be efficient to improve postural control in young people. However, little is known about the potential to increase corticospinal excitability by mental simulation in lower leg muscles. Mental simulation of isolated, voluntary contractions of limb muscles increase corticospinal excitability but more automated tasks like walking seem to have no or only minor effects on motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) evoked by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). This may be related to the way of performing the mental simulation or the task itself. Therefore, the present study aimed to clarify how corticospinal excitability is modulated during AO+MI, MI and action observation (AO) of balance tasks. For this purpose, MEPs and H-reflexes were elicited during three different mental simulations (a) AO+MI, (b) MI and (c) passive AO. For each condition, two balance tasks were evaluated: (1) quiet upright stance (static) and (2) compensating a medio-lateral perturbation while standing on a free-swinging platform (dynamic). AO+MI resulted in the largest facilitation of MEPs followed by MI and passive AO. MEP facilitation was significantly larger in the dynamic perturbation than in the static standing task. Interestingly, passive observation resulted in hardly any facilitation independent of the task. H-reflex amplitudes were not modulated. The current results demonstrate that corticospinal excitability during mental simulation of balance tasks is influenced by both the type of mental simulation and the task difficulty. As H-reflexes and background EMG were not modulated, it may be argued that changes in excitability of the primary motor cortex were responsible for the MEP modulation. From a functional point of view, our findings suggest best training/rehabilitation effects when combining MI with AO during challenging postural tasks. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  7. A Model for the Transfer of Perceptual-Motor Skill Learning in Human Behaviors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosalie, Simon M.; Muller, Sean

    2012-01-01

    This paper presents a preliminary model that outlines the mechanisms underlying the transfer of perceptual-motor skill learning in sport and everyday tasks. Perceptual-motor behavior is motivated by performance demands and evolves over time to increase the probability of success through adaptation. Performance demands at the time of an event…

  8. Brain activation in motor sequence learning is related to the level of native cortical excitability.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Silke Lissek

    Full Text Available Cortical excitability may be subject to changes through training and learning. Motor training can increase cortical excitability in motor cortex, and facilitation of motor cortical excitability has been shown to be positively correlated with improvements in performance in simple motor tasks. Thus cortical excitability may tentatively be considered as a marker of learning and use-dependent plasticity. Previous studies focused on changes in cortical excitability brought about by learning processes, however, the relation between native levels of cortical excitability on the one hand and brain activation and behavioral parameters on the other is as yet unknown. In the present study we investigated the role of differential native motor cortical excitability for learning a motor sequencing task with regard to post-training changes in excitability, behavioral performance and involvement of brain regions. Our motor task required our participants to reproduce and improvise over a pre-learned motor sequence. Over both task conditions, participants with low cortical excitability (CElo showed significantly higher BOLD activation in task-relevant brain regions than participants with high cortical excitability (CEhi. In contrast, CElo and CEhi groups did not exhibit differences in percentage of correct responses and improvisation level. Moreover, cortical excitability did not change significantly after learning and training in either group, with the exception of a significant decrease in facilitatory excitability in the CEhi group. The present data suggest that the native, unmanipulated level of cortical excitability is related to brain activation intensity, but not to performance quality. The higher BOLD mean signal intensity during the motor task might reflect a compensatory mechanism in CElo participants.

  9. A Developmental Perspective in Learning the Mirror-Drawing Task

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    Mona Sharon Julius

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Is there late maturation of skill learning? This notion has been raised to explain an adult advantage in learning a variety of tasks, such as auditory temporal-interval discrimination, locomotion adaptation, and drawing visually-distorted spatial patterns (mirror-drawing. Here, we test this assertion by following the practice of the mirror-drawing task in two 5 min daily sessions separated by a 10 min break, over the course of two days, in 5–6-year-old kindergarten children, 7–8-year-old second-graders, and young adults. In the mirror-drawing task, participants were required to trace a square while looking at their hand only as a reflection in a mirror. Kindergarteners did not show learning of the visual-motor mapping, and on average, did not produce even one full side of a square correctly. Second-graders showed increased online movement control with longer strokes, and robust learning of the visual-motor mapping, resulting in a between-day increase in the number of correctly drawn sides with no loss in accuracy. Overall, kindergarteners and second-graders producing at least one correct polygon-side on Day 1 were more likely to improve their performance between days. Adults showed better performance with greater improvements in the number of correctly drawn sides between- and within-days, and in accuracy between days. It has been suggested that 5-year-olds cannot learn the task due to their inability to detect and encapsulate previously produced accurate movements. Our findings suggest, instead, that these children did not have initial, accurate performance that could be enhanced through training. Recently, it has been shown that in a simple grapho-motor task the three age-groups improved their speed of performance within a session and between-days, while maintaining accuracy scores. Taken together, these data suggest that children's motor skill learning depends on the task’s characteristics and their adopting an efficient performance

  10. Pedagogical entrepreneurship in learning tasks

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    Marit Engum Hansen

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available Background: The action plan "Entrepreneurship in Education – from primary to higher education "(2009-2014, proposed to establish a site for digital learning materials within entrepreneurship in basic education. PedEnt (Pedagogical Entrepreneurship was launched in autumn of 2014, and both the authors have contributed to the professional development of the site. Two of the learning assignments published on PedEnt constitute the research objects of this study. Methods: Based on pedagogical entrepreneurship we present a case study of learning work carried out by students at lower and upper secondary level. Using an analysis of assignment texts and as well as with video recordings we have identified the characteristics of entrepreneurial learning methods as they were expressed through each case. Results: The analysis showed that learning assignments can be characterized as entrepreneurial because they promoted the actor role and creativity of the students. We found that the relationship between the relevance of the assignments and the context in which they are given pose an important prerequisite for the students in order to experience the learning work as meaningful. Conclusions: Entrepreneurial learning methods challenge the traditional view that theory tends to take primacy over practice. To orient learning assignments within relevant contexts gives students opportunities to experience by themselves the need for increased knowledge.

  11. Dual-Task Walking in Challenging Environments in People with Stroke: Cognitive-Motor Interference and Task Prioritization

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Celine Timmermans

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Cognitive-motor interference may contribute to the risk of falling in people with stroke, as may be the associated phenomenon of inappropriate task prioritization. Examining dual-task walking could provide valuable insights as to how to best evaluate and treat walking in people with stroke. This study aimed to examine the effect of different walking environments on cognitive-motor interference and task prioritization in dual-task walking in people with stroke. Using a repeated-measures design, cognitive-motor interference and task prioritization were assessed in 30 stroke survivors, while walking in a plain environment and in two challenging environments that were enriched with either stationary physical context or suddenly appearing projector-augmented context. All three walking environment conditions were performed with and without a concurrent serial-3 subtraction task. We found stronger cognitive-motor interference for the two challenging environments than for the plain walking environment. Cognitive-motor interference did not differ between challenging walking environments, but task prioritization did: motor performance was prioritized more in the environment with physical context than in the environment with projector-augmented context and vice versa for cognitive-task performance. In conclusion, walking environment strongly influenced cognitive-motor interference and task prioritization during dual-task walking in people with stroke.

  12. Auditory-motor learning influences auditory memory for music.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Rachel M; Palmer, Caroline

    2012-05-01

    In two experiments, we investigated how auditory-motor learning influences performers' memory for music. Skilled pianists learned novel melodies in four conditions: auditory only (listening), motor only (performing without sound), strongly coupled auditory-motor (normal performance), and weakly coupled auditory-motor (performing along with auditory recordings). Pianists' recognition of the learned melodies was better following auditory-only or auditory-motor (weakly coupled and strongly coupled) learning than following motor-only learning, and better following strongly coupled auditory-motor learning than following auditory-only learning. Auditory and motor imagery abilities modulated the learning effects: Pianists with high auditory imagery scores had better recognition following motor-only learning, suggesting that auditory imagery compensated for missing auditory feedback at the learning stage. Experiment 2 replicated the findings of Experiment 1 with melodies that contained greater variation in acoustic features. Melodies that were slower and less variable in tempo and intensity were remembered better following weakly coupled auditory-motor learning. These findings suggest that motor learning can aid performers' auditory recognition of music beyond auditory learning alone, and that motor learning is influenced by individual abilities in mental imagery and by variation in acoustic features.

  13. Cognitive-motor interference during fine and gross motor tasks in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schott, Nadja; El-Rajab, Inaam; Klotzbier, Thomas

    2016-10-01

    While typically developing children produce relatively automatized postural control processes, children with DCD seem to exhibit an automatization deficit. Dual tasks with various cognitive loads seem to be an effective way to assess the automatic deficit hypothesis. The aims of the study were: (1) to examine the effect of a concurrent cognitive task on fine and gross motor tasks in children with DCD, and (2) to determine whether the effect varied with different difficulty levels of the concurrent task. We examined dual-task performance (Trail-Making-Test, Trail-Walking-Test) in 20 children with DCD and 39 typically developing children. Based on the idea of the Trail-Making-Test, participants walked along a fixed pathway, following a prescribed path, delineated by target markers of (1) increasing sequential numbers, and (2) increasing sequential numbers and letters. The motor and cognitive dual-task effects (DTE) were calculated for each task. Regardless of the cognitive task, children with DCD performed equally well in fine and gross motor tasks, and were slower in the dual task conditions than under single task-conditions, compared with children without DCD. Increased cognitive task complexity resulted in slow trail walking as well as slower trail tracing. The motor interference for the gross motor tasks was least for the simplest conditions and greatest for the complex conditions and was more pronounced in children with DCD. Cognitive interference was low irrespective of the motor task. Children with DCD show a different approach to allocation of cognitive resources, and have difficulties making motor skills automatic. The latter notion is consistent with impaired cerebellar function and the "automatization deficit hypothesis", suggesting that any deficit in the automatization process will appear if conscious monitoring of the motor skill is made more difficult by integrating another task requiring attentional resources. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All

  14. Working Memory Capacity Limits Motor Learning When Implementing Multiple Instructions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tim Buszard

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Although it is generally accepted that certain practice conditions can place large demands on working memory (WM when performing and learning a motor skill, the influence that WM capacity has on the acquisition of motor skills remains unsubstantiated. This study examined the role of WM capacity in a motor skill practice context that promoted WM involvement through the provision of explicit instructions. A cohort of 90 children aged 8 to 10 years were assessed on measures of WM capacity and attention. Children who scored in the lowest and highest thirds on the WM tasks were allocated to lower WM capacity (n = 24 and higher WM capacity (n = 24 groups, respectively. The remaining 42 participants did not participate in the motor task. The motor task required children to practice basketball shooting for 240 trials in blocks of 20 shots, with pre- and post-tests occurring before and after the intervention. A retention test was administered 1 week after the post-test. Prior to every practice block, children were provided with five explicit instructions that were specific to the technique of shooting a basketball. Results revealed that the higher WM capacity group displayed consistent improvements from pre- to post-test and through to the retention test, while the opposite effect occurred in the lower WM capacity group. This implies that the explicit instructions had a negative influence on learning by the lower WM capacity children. Results are discussed in relation to strategy selection for dealing with instructions and the role of attention control.

  15. Sleep-related offline improvements in gross motor task performance occur under free recall requirements

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andreas eMalangre

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Nocturnal sleep effects on memory consolidation following gross motor sequence learning were examined using a complex arm movement task. This task required participants to produce non-regular spatial patterns in the horizontal plane by successively fitting a small peg into different target-holes on an electronic pegboard. The respective reaching movements typically differed in amplitude and direction. Targets were visualized prior to each transport movement on a computer screen. With this task we tested 18 subjects (22.6 +/- 1.9 years; 8 female using a between-subjects design. Participants initially learned a 10-element arm movement sequence either in the morning or in the evening. Performance was retested under free recall requirements 15 minutes post training, as well as 12 hrs and 24 hrs later. Thus each group was provided with one sleep-filled and one wake retention interval. Dependent variables were error rate (number of erroneous sequences and average sequence execution time (correct sequences only. Performance improved during acquisition. Error rate remained stable across retention. Sequence execution time (inverse to execution speed significantly decreased again during the sleep-filled retention intervals, but remained stable during the respective wake intervals. These results corroborate recent findings on sleep-related enhancement consolidation in ecological valid, complex gross motor tasks. At the same time they suggest this effect to be truly memory-based and independent from repeated access to extrinsic sequence information during retests.

  16. Enhanced Multisensory Integration and Motor Reactivation after Active Motor Learning of Audiovisual Associations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Butler, Andrew J.; James, Thomas W.; James, Karin Harman

    2011-01-01

    Everyday experience affords us many opportunities to learn about objects through multiple senses using physical interaction. Previous work has shown that active motor learning of unisensory items enhances memory and leads to the involvement of motor systems during subsequent perception. However, the impact of active motor learning on subsequent…

  17. Refinement of learned skilled movement representation in motor cortex deep output layer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Qian; Ko, Ho; Qian, Zhong-Ming; Yan, Leo Y. C.; Chan, Danny C. W.; Arbuthnott, Gordon; Ke, Ya; Yung, Wing-Ho

    2017-01-01

    The mechanisms underlying the emergence of learned motor skill representation in primary motor cortex (M1) are not well understood. Specifically, how motor representation in the deep output layer 5b (L5b) is shaped by motor learning remains virtually unknown. In rats undergoing motor skill training, we detect a subpopulation of task-recruited L5b neurons that not only become more movement-encoding, but their activities are also more structured and temporally aligned to motor execution with a timescale of refinement in tens-of-milliseconds. Field potentials evoked at L5b in vivo exhibit persistent long-term potentiation (LTP) that parallels motor performance. Intracortical dopamine denervation impairs motor learning, and disrupts the LTP profile as well as the emergent neurodynamical properties of task-recruited L5b neurons. Thus, dopamine-dependent recruitment of L5b neuronal ensembles via synaptic reorganization may allow the motor cortex to generate more temporally structured, movement-encoding output signal from M1 to downstream circuitry that drives increased uniformity and precision of movement during motor learning. PMID:28598433

  18. Motor Tics, Tourette Syndrome, and Learning Disabilities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lerer, Robert J.

    1987-01-01

    Complex motor tics associated with vocal tics indicate a high likelihood of Tourette syndrome; children with this syndrome may also have learning disabilities and attentional disorders. Individuals may be treated with stimulant drugs which may precipitate or exacerbate tics. Pharmacotherapy is available for management of tics and attentional…

  19. Children show limited movement repertoire when learning a novel motor skill.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Mei-Hua; Farshchiansadegh, Ali; Ranganathan, Rajiv

    2017-09-27

    Examining age differences in motor learning using real-world tasks is often problematic due to task novelty and biomechanical confounds. Here, we investigated how children and adults acquire a novel motor skill in a virtual environment. Participants of three different age groups (9-year-olds, 12-year-olds, and adults) learned to use their upper body movements to control a cursor on a computer screen. Results showed that 9-year-old and 12-year-old children showed poorer ability to control the cursor at the end of practice. Critically, when we investigated the movement coordination, we found that the lower task performance of children was associated with limited exploration of their movement repertoire. These results reveal the critical role of motor exploration in understanding developmental differences in motor learning. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  20. Neural substrates underlying stimulation-enhanced motor skill learning after stroke.

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    Lefebvre, Stéphanie; Dricot, Laurence; Laloux, Patrice; Gradkowski, Wojciech; Desfontaines, Philippe; Evrard, Frédéric; Peeters, André; Jamart, Jacques; Vandermeeren, Yves

    2015-01-01

    Motor skill learning is one of the key components of motor function recovery after stroke, especially recovery driven by neurorehabilitation. Transcranial direct current stimulation can enhance neurorehabilitation and motor skill learning in stroke patients. However, the neural mechanisms underlying the retention of stimulation-enhanced motor skill learning involving a paretic upper limb have not been resolved. These neural substrates were explored by means of functional magnetic resonance imaging. Nineteen chronic hemiparetic stroke patients participated in a double-blind, cross-over randomized, sham-controlled experiment with two series. Each series consisted of two sessions: (i) an intervention session during which dual transcranial direct current stimulation or sham was applied during motor skill learning with the paretic upper limb; and (ii) an imaging session 1 week later, during which the patients performed the learned motor skill. The motor skill learning task, called the 'circuit game', involves a speed/accuracy trade-off and consists of moving a pointer controlled by a computer mouse along a complex circuit as quickly and accurately as possible. Relative to the sham series, dual transcranial direct current stimulation applied bilaterally over the primary motor cortex during motor skill learning with the paretic upper limb resulted in (i) enhanced online motor skill learning; (ii) enhanced 1-week retention; and (iii) superior transfer of performance improvement to an untrained task. The 1-week retention's enhancement driven by the intervention was associated with a trend towards normalization of the brain activation pattern during performance of the learned motor skill relative to the sham series. A similar trend towards normalization relative to sham was observed during performance of a simple, untrained task without a speed/accuracy constraint, despite a lack of behavioural difference between the dual transcranial direct current stimulation and sham

  1. The many facets of motor learning and their relevance for Parkinson's disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marinelli, Lucio; Quartarone, Angelo; Hallett, Mark; Frazzitta, Giuseppe; Ghilardi, Maria Felice

    2017-07-01

    The final goal of motor learning, a complex process that includes both implicit and explicit (or declarative) components, is the optimization and automatization of motor skills. Motor learning involves different neural networks and neurotransmitters systems depending on the type of task and on the stage of learning. After the first phase of acquisition, a motor skill goes through consolidation (i.e., becoming resistant to interference) and retention, processes in which sleep and long-term potentiation seem to play important roles. The studies of motor learning in Parkinson's disease have yielded controversial results that likely stem from the use of different experimental paradigms. When a task's characteristics, instructions, context, learning phase and type of measures are taken into consideration, it is apparent that, in general, only learning that relies on attentional resources and cognitive strategies is affected by PD, in agreement with the finding of a fronto-striatal deficit in this disease. Levodopa administration does not seem to reverse the learning deficits in PD, while deep brain stimulation of either globus pallidus or subthalamic nucleus appears to be beneficial. Finally and most importantly, patients with PD often show a decrease in retention of newly learned skill, a problem that is present even in the early stages of the disease. A thorough dissection and understanding of the processes involved in motor learning is warranted to provide solid bases for effective medical, surgical and rehabilitative approaches in PD. Copyright © 2017 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. All rights reserved.

  2. Neuronal mechanisms of motor learning and motor memory consolidation in healthy old adults.

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    Berghuis, K M M; Veldman, M P; Solnik, S; Koch, G; Zijdewind, I; Hortobágyi, T

    2015-06-01

    It is controversial whether or not old adults are capable of learning new motor skills and consolidate the performance gains into motor memory in the offline period. The underlying neuronal mechanisms are equally unclear. We determined the magnitude of motor learning and motor memory consolidation in healthy old adults and examined if specific metrics of neuronal excitability measured by magnetic brain stimulation mediate the practice and retention effects. Eleven healthy old adults practiced a wrist extension-flexion visuomotor skill for 20 min (MP, 71.3 years), while a second group only watched the templates without movements (attentional control, AC, n = 11, 70.5 years). There was 40 % motor learning in MP but none in AC (interaction, p learn a new motor skill and consolidate the learned skill into motor memory, processes that are most likely mediated by disinhibitory mechanisms. These results are relevant for the increasing number of old adults who need to learn and relearn movements during motor rehabilitation.

  3. Task Demands in OSCEs Influence Learning Strategies.

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    Lafleur, Alexandre; Laflamme, Jonathan; Leppink, Jimmie; Côté, Luc

    2017-01-01

    Models on pre-assessment learning effects confirmed that task demands stand out among the factors assessors can modify in an assessment to influence learning. However, little is known about which tasks in objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) improve students' cognitive and metacognitive processes. Research is needed to support OSCE designs that benefit students' metacognitive strategies when they are studying, reinforcing a hypothesis-driven approach. With that intent, hypothesis-driven physical examination (HDPE) assessments ask students to elicit and interpret findings of the physical exam to reach a diagnosis ("Examine this patient with a painful shoulder to reach a diagnosis"). When studying for HDPE, students will dedicate more time to hypothesis-driven discussions and practice than when studying for a part-task OSCE ("Perform the shoulder exam"). It is expected that the whole-task nature of HDPE will lead to a hypothesis-oriented use of the learning resources, a frequent use of adjustment strategies, and persistence with learning. In a mixed-methods study, 40 medical students were randomly paired and filmed while studying together for two hypothetical OSCE stations. Each 25-min study period began with video cues asking to study for either a part-task OSCE or an HDPE. In a crossover design, sequences were randomized for OSCEs and contents (shoulder or spine). Time-on-task for discussions or practice were categorized as "hypothesis-driven" or "sequence of signs and maneuvers." Content analysis of focus group interviews summarized students' perception of learning resources, adjustment strategies, and persistence with learning. When studying for HDPE, students allocate significantly more time for hypothesis-driven discussions and practice. Students use resources contrasting diagnoses and report persistence with learning. When studying for part-task OSCEs, time-on-task is reversed, spent on rehearsing a sequence of signs and maneuvers. OSCEs with

  4. Optimizing performance through intrinsic motivation and attention for learning: The OPTIMAL theory of motor learning.

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    Wulf, Gabriele; Lewthwaite, Rebecca

    2016-10-01

    Effective motor performance is important for surviving and thriving, and skilled movement is critical in many activities. Much theorizing over the past few decades has focused on how certain practice conditions affect the processing of task-related information to affect learning. Yet, existing theoretical perspectives do not accommodate significant recent lines of evidence demonstrating motivational and attentional effects on performance and learning. These include research on (a) conditions that enhance expectancies for future performance, (b) variables that influence learners' autonomy, and (c) an external focus of attention on the intended movement effect. We propose the OPTIMAL (Optimizing Performance through Intrinsic Motivation and Attention for Learning) theory of motor learning. We suggest that motivational and attentional factors contribute to performance and learning by strengthening the coupling of goals to actions. We provide explanations for the performance and learning advantages of these variables on psychological and neuroscientific grounds. We describe a plausible mechanism for expectancy effects rooted in responses of dopamine to the anticipation of positive experience and temporally associated with skill practice. Learner autonomy acts perhaps largely through an enhanced expectancy pathway. Furthermore, we consider the influence of an external focus for the establishment of efficient functional connections across brain networks that subserve skilled movement. We speculate that enhanced expectancies and an external focus propel performers' cognitive and motor systems in productive "forward" directions and prevent "backsliding" into self- and non-task focused states. Expected success presumably breeds further success and helps consolidate memories. We discuss practical implications and future research directions.

  5. Mental workload and motor performance dynamics during practice of reaching movements under various levels of task difficulty.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shuggi, Isabelle M; Oh, Hyuk; Shewokis, Patricia A; Gentili, Rodolphe J

    2017-09-30

    The assessment of mental workload can inform attentional resource allocation during task performance that is essential for understanding the underlying principles of human cognitive-motor behavior. While many studies have focused on mental workload in relation to human performance, a modest body of work has examined it in a motor practice/learning context without considering individual variability. Thus, this work aimed to examine mental workload by employing the NASA TLX as well as the changes in motor performance resulting from the practice of a novel reaching task. Two groups of participants practiced a reaching task at a high and low nominal difficulty during which a group-level analysis assessed the mental workload, motor performance and motor improvement dynamics. A secondary cluster analysis was also conducted to identify specific individual patterns of cognitive-motor responses. Overall, both group- and cluster-level analyses revealed that: (i) all participants improved their performance throughout motor practice, and (ii) an increase in mental workload was associated with a reduction of the quality of motor performance along with a slower rate of motor improvement. The results are discussed in the context of the optimal challenge point framework and in particular it is proposed that under the experimental conditions employed here, functional task difficulty: (i) would possibly depend on an individuals' information processing capabilities, and (ii) could be indexed by the level of mental workload which, when excessively heightened can decrease the quality of performance and more generally result in delayed motor improvements. Copyright © 2017 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Substance P signalling in primary motor cortex facilitates motor learning in rats.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Benjamin Hertler

    Full Text Available Among the genes that are up-regulated in response to a reaching training in rats, Tachykinin 1 (Tac1-a gene that encodes the neuropeptide Substance P (Sub P-shows an especially strong expression. Using Real-Time RT-PCR, a detailed time-course of Tac1 expression could be defined: a significant peak occurs 7 hours after training ended at the first and second training session, whereas no up-regulation could be detected at a later time-point (sixth training session. To assess the physiological role of Sub P during movement acquisition, microinjections into the primary motor cortex (M1 contralateral to the trained paw were performed. When Sub P was injected before the first three sessions of a reaching training, effectiveness of motor learning became significantly increased. Injections at a time-point when rats already knew the task (i.e. training session ten and eleven had no effect on reaching performance. Sub P injections did not influence the improvement of performance within a single training session, but retention of performance between sessions became strengthened at a very early stage (i.e. between baseline-training and first training session. Thus, Sub P facilitates motor learning in the very early phase of skill acquisition by supporting memory consolidation. In line with these findings, learning related expression of the precursor Tac1 occurs at early but not at later time-points during reaching training.

  7. Substance P signalling in primary motor cortex facilitates motor learning in rats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hertler, Benjamin; Hosp, Jonas Aurel; Blanco, Manuel Buitrago; Luft, Andreas Rüdiger

    2017-01-01

    Among the genes that are up-regulated in response to a reaching training in rats, Tachykinin 1 (Tac1)-a gene that encodes the neuropeptide Substance P (Sub P)-shows an especially strong expression. Using Real-Time RT-PCR, a detailed time-course of Tac1 expression could be defined: a significant peak occurs 7 hours after training ended at the first and second training session, whereas no up-regulation could be detected at a later time-point (sixth training session). To assess the physiological role of Sub P during movement acquisition, microinjections into the primary motor cortex (M1) contralateral to the trained paw were performed. When Sub P was injected before the first three sessions of a reaching training, effectiveness of motor learning became significantly increased. Injections at a time-point when rats already knew the task (i.e. training session ten and eleven) had no effect on reaching performance. Sub P injections did not influence the improvement of performance within a single training session, but retention of performance between sessions became strengthened at a very early stage (i.e. between baseline-training and first training session). Thus, Sub P facilitates motor learning in the very early phase of skill acquisition by supporting memory consolidation. In line with these findings, learning related expression of the precursor Tac1 occurs at early but not at later time-points during reaching training.

  8. Mu and delta opioid receptors oppositely regulate motor impulsivity in the signaled nose poke task.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mary C Olmstead

    Full Text Available Impulsivity is a primary feature of many psychiatric disorders, most notably attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and drug addiction. Impulsivity includes a number of processes such as the inability to delay gratification, the inability to withhold a motor response, or acting before all of the relevant information is available. These processes are mediated by neural systems that include dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, glutamate and cannabinoids. We examine, for the first time, the role of opioid systems in impulsivity by testing whether inactivation of the mu- (Oprm1 or delta- (Oprd1 opioid receptor gene alters motor impulsivity in mice. Wild-type and knockout mice were examined on either a pure C57BL6/J (BL6 or a hybrid 50% C57Bl/6J-50% 129Sv/pas (HYB background. Mice were trained to respond for sucrose in a signaled nose poke task that provides independent measures of associative learning (responses to the reward-paired cue and motor impulsivity (premature responses. Oprm1 knockout mice displayed a remarkable decrease in motor impulsivity. This was observed on the two genetic backgrounds and did not result from impaired associative learning, as responses to the cue signaling reward did not differ across genotypes. Furthermore, mutant mice were insensitive to the effects of ethanol, which increased disinhibition and decreased conditioned responding in wild-type mice. In sharp contrast, mice lacking the Oprd1 gene were more impulsive than controls. Again, mutant animals showed no deficit in associative learning. Ethanol completely disrupted performance in these animals. Together, our results suggest that mu-opioid receptors enhance, whereas delta-opioid receptors inhibit, motor impulsivity. This reveals an unanticipated contribution of endogenous opioid receptor activity to disinhibition. In a broader context, these data suggest that alterations in mu- or delta-opioid receptor function may contribute to impulse control disorders.

  9. Can a single session of motor imagery promote motor learning of locomotion in older adults? A randomized controlled trial

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholson VP

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available Vaughan P Nicholson,1 Justin WL Keogh,2–4 Nancy L Low Choy1 1School of Physiotherapy, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, QLD, Australia; 2Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University, Robina, QLD, Australia; 3Human Potential Centre, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand; 4Cluster for Health Improvement, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast, QLD, Australia Purpose: To investigate the influence of a single session of locomotor-based motor imagery training on motor learning and physical performance. Patients and methods: Thirty independent adults aged >65 years took part in the randomized controlled trial. The study was conducted within an exercise science laboratory. Participants were randomly divided into three groups following baseline locomotor testing: motor imagery training, physical training, and control groups. The motor imagery training group completed 20 imagined repetitions of a locomotor task, the physical training group completed 20 physical repetitions of a locomotor task, and the control group spent 25 minutes playing mentally stimulating games on an iPad. Imagined and physical performance times were measured for each training repetition. Gait speed (preferred and fast, timed-up-and-go, gait variability and the time to complete an obstacle course were completed before and after the single training session. Results: Motor learning occurred in both the motor imagery training and physical training groups. Motor imagery training led to refinements in motor planning resulting in imagined movements better matching the physically performed movement at the end of training. Motor imagery and physical training also promoted improvements in some locomotion outcomes as demonstrated by medium to large effect size improvements after training for fast gait speed and timed-up-and-go. There were no training effects on gait variability. Conclusion: A single session

  10. Perceptual-motor skill learning in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. Evidence for multiple procedural learning and memory systems.

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    Marsh, Rachel; Alexander, Gerianne M; Packard, Mark G; Zhu, Hongtu; Peterson, Bradley S

    2005-01-01

    Procedural learning and memory systems likely comprise several skills that are differentially affected by various illnesses of the central nervous system, suggesting their relative functional independence and reliance on differing neural circuits. Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) is a movement disorder that involves disturbances in the structure and function of the striatum and related circuitry. Recent studies suggest that patients with GTS are impaired in performance of a probabilistic classification task that putatively involves the acquisition of stimulus-response (S-R)-based habits. Assessing the learning of perceptual-motor skills and probabilistic classification in the same samples of GTS and healthy control subjects may help to determine whether these various forms of procedural (habit) learning rely on the same or differing neuroanatomical substrates and whether those substrates are differentially affected in persons with GTS. Therefore, we assessed perceptual-motor skill learning using the pursuit-rotor and mirror tracing tasks in 50 patients with GTS and 55 control subjects who had previously been compared at learning a task of probabilistic classifications. The GTS subjects did not differ from the control subjects in performance of either the pursuit rotor or mirror-tracing tasks, although they were significantly impaired in the acquisition of a probabilistic classification task. In addition, learning on the perceptual-motor tasks was not correlated with habit learning on the classification task in either the GTS or healthy control subjects. These findings suggest that the differing forms of procedural learning are dissociable both functionally and neuroanatomically. The specific deficits in the probabilistic classification form of habit learning in persons with GTS are likely to be a consequence of disturbances in specific corticostriatal circuits, but not the same circuits that subserve the perceptual-motor form of habit learning.

  11. Speech Motor Sequence Learning: Acquisition and Retention in Parkinson Disease and Normal Aging

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    Whitfield, Jason A.; Goberman, Alexander M.

    2017-01-01

    Purpose: The aim of the current investigation was to examine speech motor sequence learning in neurologically healthy younger adults, neurologically healthy older adults, and individuals with Parkinson disease (PD) over a 2-day period. Method: A sequential nonword repetition task was used to examine learning over 2 days. Participants practiced a…

  12. Long lasting structural changes in primary motor cortex after motor skill learning: a behavioural and stereological study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    PAOLA MORALES

    2008-12-01

    Full Text Available Many motor skills, once acquired, are stored over a long time period, probably sustained by permanent neuronal changes. Thus, in this paper we have investigated with quantitative stereology the generation and persistence of neuronal density changes in primary motor cortex (MI following motor skill learning (skilled reaching task. Rats were trained a lateralised reaching task during an "early" (22-31 days oíd or "late" (362-371 days oíd postnatal period. The trained and corresponding control rats were sacrificed at day 372, immediately after the behavioural testing. The "early" trained group preserved the learned skilled reaching task when tested at day 372, without requiring any additional training. The "late" trained group showed a similar capacity to that of the "early" trained group for learning the skilled reaching task. All trained animáis ("early" and "late" trained groups showed a significant Ínter hemispheric decrease of neuronal density in the corresponding motor forelimb representation área of MI (cortical layers II-III

  13. Delayed benefit of naps on motor learning in preschool children.

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    Desrochers, Phillip C; Kurdziel, Laura B F; Spencer, Rebecca M C

    2016-03-01

    Sleep benefits memory consolidation across a variety of domains in young adults. However, while declarative memories benefit from sleep in young children, such improvements are not consistently seen for procedural skill learning. Here we examined whether performance improvements on a procedural task, although not immediately observed, are evident after a longer delay when augmented by overnight sleep (24 h after learning). We trained 47 children, aged 33-71 months, on a serial reaction time task and, using a within-subject design, evaluated performance at three time points: immediately after learning, after a daytime nap (nap condition) or equivalent wake opportunity (wake condition), and 24 h after learning. Consistent with previous studies, performance improvements following the nap did not differ from performance improvements following an equivalent interval spent awake. However, significant benefits of the nap were found when performance was assessed 24 h after learning. This research demonstrates that motor skill learning is benefited by sleep, but that this benefit is only evident after an extended period of time.

  14. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to the Primary Motor Cortex Interferes with Motor Learning by Observing

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    Brown, Liana E.; Wilson, Elizabeth T.; Gribble, Paul L.

    2009-01-01

    Neural representations of novel motor skills can be acquired through visual observation. We used repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to test the idea that this "motor learning by observing" is based on engagement of neural processes for learning in the primary motor cortex (M1). Human subjects who observed another person learning…

  15. Sensorimotor Learning during a Marksmanship Task in Immersive Virtual Reality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rao, Hrishikesh M; Khanna, Rajan; Zielinski, David J; Lu, Yvonne; Clements, Jillian M; Potter, Nicholas D; Sommer, Marc A; Kopper, Regis; Appelbaum, Lawrence G

    2018-01-01

    Sensorimotor learning refers to improvements that occur through practice in the performance of sensory-guided motor behaviors. Leveraging novel technical capabilities of an immersive virtual environment, we probed the component kinematic processes that mediate sensorimotor learning. Twenty naïve subjects performed a simulated marksmanship task modeled after Olympic Trap Shooting standards. We measured movement kinematics and shooting performance as participants practiced 350 trials while receiving trial-by-trial feedback about shooting success. Spatiotemporal analysis of motion tracking elucidated the ballistic and refinement phases of hand movements. We found systematic changes in movement kinematics that accompanied improvements in shot accuracy during training, though reaction and response times did not change over blocks. In particular, we observed longer, slower, and more precise ballistic movements that replaced effort spent on corrections and refinement. Collectively, these results leverage developments in immersive virtual reality technology to quantify and compare the kinematics of movement during early learning of full-body sensorimotor orienting.

  16. Neural correlates of skill acquisition: decreased cortical activity during a serial interception sequence learning task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gobel, Eric W; Parrish, Todd B; Reber, Paul J

    2011-10-15

    Learning of complex motor skills requires learning of component movements as well as the sequential structure of their order and timing. Using a Serial Interception Sequence Learning (SISL) task, participants learned a sequence of precisely timed interception responses through training with a repeating sequence. Following initial implicit learning of the repeating sequence, functional MRI data were collected during performance of that known sequence and compared with activity evoked during novel sequences of actions, novel timing patterns, or both. Reduced activity was observed during the practiced sequence in a distributed bilateral network including extrastriate occipital, parietal, and premotor cortical regions. These reductions in evoked activity likely reflect improved efficiency in visuospatial processing, spatio-motor integration, motor planning, and motor execution for the trained sequence, which is likely supported by nondeclarative skill learning. In addition, the practiced sequence evoked increased activity in the left ventral striatum and medial prefrontal cortex, while the posterior cingulate was more active during periods of better performance. Many prior studies of perceptual-motor skill learning have found increased activity in motor areas of the frontal cortex (e.g., motor and premotor cortex, SMA) and striatal areas (e.g., the putamen). The change in activity observed here (i.e., decreased activity across a cortical network) may reflect skill learning that is predominantly expressed through more accurate performance rather than decreased reaction time. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  17. Changes in Cerebral Hemodynamics during Complex Motor Learning by Character Entry into Touch-Screen Terminals.

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    Akira Sagari

    Full Text Available Studies of cerebral hemodynamics during motor learning have mostly focused on neurorehabilitation interventions and their effectiveness. However, only a few imaging studies of motor learning and the underlying complex cognitive processes have been performed.We measured cerebral hemodynamics using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS in relation to acquisition patterns of motor skills in healthy subjects using character entry into a touch-screen terminal. Twenty healthy, right-handed subjects who had no previous experience with character entry using a touch-screen terminal participated in this study. They were asked to enter the characters of a randomly formed Japanese syllabary into the touch-screen terminal. All subjects performed the task with their right thumb for 15 s alternating with 25 s of rest for 30 repetitions. Performance was calculated by subtracting the number of incorrect answers from the number of correct answers, and gains in motor skills were evaluated according to the changes in performance across cycles. Behavioral and oxygenated hemoglobin concentration changes across task cycles were analyzed using Spearman's rank correlations.Performance correlated positively with task cycle, thus confirming motor learning. Hemodynamic activation over the left sensorimotor cortex (SMC showed a positive correlation with task cycle, whereas activations over the right prefrontal cortex (PFC and supplementary motor area (SMA showed negative correlations.We suggest that increases in finger momentum with motor learning are reflected in the activity of the left SMC. We further speculate that the right PFC and SMA were activated during the early phases of motor learning, and that this activity was attenuated with learning progress.

  18. Changes in visual and sensory-motor resting-state functional connectivity support motor learning by observing.

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    McGregor, Heather R; Gribble, Paul L

    2015-07-01

    Motor learning occurs not only through direct first-hand experience but also through observation (Mattar AA, Gribble PL. Neuron 46: 153-160, 2005). When observing the actions of others, we activate many of the same brain regions involved in performing those actions ourselves (Malfait N, Valyear KF, Culham JC, Anton JL, Brown LE, Gribble PL. J Cogn Neurosci 22: 1493-1503, 2010). Links between neural systems for vision and action have been reported in neurophysiological (Strafella AP, Paus T. Neuroreport 11: 2289-2292, 2000; Watkins KE, Strafella AP, Paus T. Neuropsychologia 41: 989-994, 2003), brain imaging (Buccino G, Binkofski F, Fink GR, Fadiga L, Fogassi L, Gallese V, Seitz RJ, Zilles K, Rizzolatti G, Freund HJ. Eur J Neurosci 13: 400-404, 2001; Iacoboni M, Woods RP, Brass M, Bekkering H, Mazziotta JC, Rizzolatti G. Science 286: 2526-2528, 1999), and eye tracking (Flanagan JR, Johansson RS. Nature 424: 769-771, 2003) studies. Here we used a force field learning paradigm coupled with resting-state fMRI to investigate the brain areas involved in motor learning by observing. We examined changes in resting-state functional connectivity (FC) after an observational learning task and found a network consisting of V5/MT, cerebellum, and primary motor and somatosensory cortices in which changes in FC were correlated with the amount of motor learning achieved through observation, as assessed behaviorally after resting-state fMRI scans. The observed FC changes in this network are not due to visual attention to motion or observation of movement errors but rather are specifically linked to motor learning. These results support the idea that brain networks linking action observation and motor control also facilitate motor learning. Copyright © 2015 the American Physiological Society.

  19. Changes in visual and sensory-motor resting-state functional connectivity support motor learning by observing

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGregor, Heather R.

    2015-01-01

    Motor learning occurs not only through direct first-hand experience but also through observation (Mattar AA, Gribble PL. Neuron 46: 153–160, 2005). When observing the actions of others, we activate many of the same brain regions involved in performing those actions ourselves (Malfait N, Valyear KF, Culham JC, Anton JL, Brown LE, Gribble PL. J Cogn Neurosci 22: 1493–1503, 2010). Links between neural systems for vision and action have been reported in neurophysiological (Strafella AP, Paus T. Neuroreport 11: 2289–2292, 2000; Watkins KE, Strafella AP, Paus T. Neuropsychologia 41: 989–994, 2003), brain imaging (Buccino G, Binkofski F, Fink GR, Fadiga L, Fogassi L, Gallese V, Seitz RJ, Zilles K, Rizzolatti G, Freund HJ. Eur J Neurosci 13: 400–404, 2001; Iacoboni M, Woods RP, Brass M, Bekkering H, Mazziotta JC, Rizzolatti G. Science 286: 2526–2528, 1999), and eye tracking (Flanagan JR, Johansson RS. Nature 424: 769–771, 2003) studies. Here we used a force field learning paradigm coupled with resting-state fMRI to investigate the brain areas involved in motor learning by observing. We examined changes in resting-state functional connectivity (FC) after an observational learning task and found a network consisting of V5/MT, cerebellum, and primary motor and somatosensory cortices in which changes in FC were correlated with the amount of motor learning achieved through observation, as assessed behaviorally after resting-state fMRI scans. The observed FC changes in this network are not due to visual attention to motion or observation of movement errors but rather are specifically linked to motor learning. These results support the idea that brain networks linking action observation and motor control also facilitate motor learning. PMID:25995349

  20. Compromised Motor Dexterity Confounds Processing Speed Task Outcomes in Stroke Patients

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    Essie Low

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available Most conventional measures of information processing speed require motor responses to facilitate performance. However, although not often addressed clinically, motor impairment, whether due to age or acquired brain injury, would be expected to confound the outcome measure of such tasks. The current study recruited 29 patients (20 stroke and 9 transient ischemic attack with documented reduction in dexterity of the dominant hand, and 29 controls, to investigate the extent to which 3 commonly used processing speed measures with varying motor demands (a Visuo-Motor Reaction Time task, and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-IV Symbol Search and Coding subtests may be measuring motor-related speed more so than cognitive speed. Analyses include correlations between indices of cognitive and motor speed obtained from two other tasks (Inspection Time and Pegboard task, respectively with the three speed measures, followed by hierarchical regressions to determine the relative contribution of cognitive and motor speed indices toward task performance. Results revealed that speed outcomes on tasks with relatively high motor demands, such as Coding, were largely reflecting motor speed in individuals with reduced dominant hand dexterity. Thus, findings indicate the importance of employing measures with minimal motor requirements, especially when the assessment of speed is aimed at understanding cognitive rather than physical function.

  1. Motor unit recruitment for dynamic tasks: current understanding and future directions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hodson-Tole, Emma F; Wakeling, James M

    2009-01-01

    Skeletal muscle contains many muscle fibres that are functionally grouped into motor units. For any motor task there are many possible combinations of motor units that could be recruited and it has been proposed that a simple rule, the 'size principle', governs the selection of motor units recruited for different contractions. Motor units can be characterised by their different contractile, energetic and fatigue properties and it is important that the selection of motor units recruited for given movements allows units with the appropriate properties to be activated. Here we review what is currently understood about motor unit recruitment patterns, and assess how different recruitment patterns are more or less appropriate for different movement tasks. During natural movements the motor unit recruitment patterns vary (not always holding to the size principle) and it is proposed that motor unit recruitment is likely related to the mechanical function of the muscles. Many factors such as mechanics, sensory feedback, and central control influence recruitment patterns and consequently an integrative approach (rather than reductionist) is required to understand how recruitment is controlled during different movement tasks. Currently, the best way to achieve this is through in vivo studies that relate recruitment to mechanics and behaviour. Various methods for determining motor unit recruitment patterns are discussed, in particular the recent wavelet-analysis approaches that have allowed motor unit recruitment to be assessed during natural movements. Directions for future studies into motor recruitment within and between functional task groups and muscle compartments are suggested.

  2. The influence of catch trials on the consolidation of motor memory in force field adaptation tasks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anne eFocke

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available In computational neuroscience it is generally accepted that human motor memory contains neural representations of the physics of the musculoskeletal system and the objects in the environment. These representations are called internal models. Force field studies, in which subjects have to adapt to dynamic perturbations induced by a robotic manipulandum, are an established tool to analyze the characteristics of such internal models. The aim of the current study was to investigate whether catch trials during force field learning could influence the consolidation of motor memory in more complex tasks. Thereby, the force field was more than double the force field of previous studies (35 Ns/m. Moreover, the arm of the subjects was not supported. A total of forty-six subjects participated in this study and performed center-out movements at a robotic manipulandum in two different force fields. Two control groups learned force field A on day 1 and were retested in the same force field on day 3 (AA. Two test groups additionally learned an interfering force field B (=-A on day 2 (ABA. The difference between the two test and control groups, respectively, was the absence (0% or presence (19% of catch trials, in which the force field was turned off suddenly. The results showed consolidation of force field A on day 3 for both control groups. Test groups showed no consolidation of force field A (19% catch trials and even poorer performance on day 3 (0% catch trials. In conclusion, it can be stated that catch trials seem to have a positive effect on the performance on day 3 but do not trigger a consolidation process as shown in previous studies that used a lower force field viscosity with supported arm. These findings indicate that the results of previous studies in which less complex tasks were analyzed, cannot be fully transferred to more complex tasks. Moreover, the effects of catch trials in these situations are insufficiently understood and further research

  3. Generalization of perceptual and motor learning: a causal link with memory encoding and consolidation?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Censor, N

    2013-10-10

    In both perceptual and motor learning, numerous studies have shown specificity of learning to the trained eye or hand and to the physical features of the task. However, generalization of learning is possible in both perceptual and motor domains. Here, I review evidence for perceptual and motor learning generalization, suggesting that generalization patterns are affected by the way in which the original memory is encoded and consolidated. Generalization may be facilitated during fast learning, with possible engagement of higher-order brain areas recurrently interacting with the primary visual or motor cortices encoding the stimuli or movements' memories. Such generalization may be supported by sleep, involving functional interactions between low and higher-order brain areas. Repeated exposure to the task may alter generalization patterns of learning and overall offline learning. Development of unifying frameworks across learning modalities and better understanding of the conditions under which learning can generalize may enable to gain insight regarding the neural mechanisms underlying procedural learning and have useful clinical implications. Copyright © 2013 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Multi-task feature learning by using trace norm regularization

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jiangmei Zhang

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Multi-task learning can extract the correlation of multiple related machine learning problems to improve performance. This paper considers applying the multi-task learning method to learn a single task. We propose a new learning approach, which employs the mixture of expert model to divide a learning task into several related sub-tasks, and then uses the trace norm regularization to extract common feature representation of these sub-tasks. A nonlinear extension of this approach by using kernel is also provided. Experiments conducted on both simulated and real data sets demonstrate the advantage of the proposed approach.

  5. Motor Unit Action Potential Clustering—Theoretical Consideration for Muscle Activation during a Motor Task

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    Michael J. Asmussen

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available During dynamic or sustained isometric contractions, bursts of muscle activity appear in the electromyography (EMG signal. Theoretically, these bursts of activity likely occur because motor units are constrained to fire temporally close to one another and thus the impulses are “clustered” with short delays to elicit bursts of muscle activity. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a sequence comprised of “clustered” motor unit action potentials (MUAP can explain spectral and amplitude changes of the EMG during a simulated motor task. This question would be difficult to answer experimentally and thus, required a model to study this type of muscle activation pattern. To this end, we modeled two EMG signals, whereby a single MUAP was either convolved with a randomly distributed impulse train (EMG-rand or a “clustered” sequence of impulses (EMG-clust. The clustering occurred in windows lasting 5–100 ms. A final mixed signal of EMG-clust and EMG-rand, with ratios (1:1–1:10, was also modeled. A ratio of 1:1 would indicate that 50% of MUAP were randomly distributed, while 50% of “clustered” MUAP occurred in a given time window (5–100 ms. The results of the model showed that clustering MUAP caused a downshift in the mean power frequency (i.e., ~30 Hz with the largest shift occurring with a cluster window of 10 ms. The mean frequency shift was largest when the ratio of EMG-clust to EMG-rand was high. Further, the clustering of MUAP also caused a substantial increase in the amplitude of the EMG signal. This model potentially explains an activation pattern that changes the EMG spectra during a motor task and thus, a potential activation pattern of muscles observed experimentally. Changes in EMG measurements during fatiguing conditions are typically attributed to slowing of conduction velocity but could, per this model, also result from changes of the clustering of MUAP. From a clinical standpoint, this type of muscle

  6. Profiles of Cognitive-Motor Interference During Walking in Children: Does the Motor or the Cognitive Task Matter?

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    Nadja Schott

    2018-06-01

    Full Text Available The evidence supporting the effects of age on the ability to coordinate a motor and a cognitive task show inconsistent results in children and adolescents, where the Dual-Task Effects (DTE – if computed at all – range from either being lower or comparable or higher in younger children than in older children, adolescents and adults. A feasible reason for the variability in such findings is the wide range of cognitive tasks (and to some extend of motor tasks used to study Cognitive-Motor Interference (CMI. Our study aims at determining the differences in CMI when performing cognitive tasks targeting different cognitive functions at varying walking pathways. 69 children and adolescents (boys, n = 45; girls, n = 24; mean age, 11.5 ± 1.50 years completed higher-level executive function tasks (2-Back, Serial Subtraction, Auditory Stroop, Clock Task, TMT-B in comparison to non-executive distracter tasks [Motor Response Task (MRT, TMT-A] to assess relative effects on gait during straight vs. repeated Change of Direction (COD walking. DT during COD walking was assessed using the Trail-Walking-Test (TWT. The motor and cognitive DTE were calculated for each task. There were significant differences between 5th and 8th graders on single gait speed on the straight (p = 0.016 and the COD pathway (p = 0.023, but not on any of the DT conditions. The calculation of DTEs revealed that motor DTEs were lowest for the MRT and highest for the TWT in the numbers/letters condition (p < 0.05 for all comparisons. In contrast, there were cognitive benefits for the higher-order cognitive tasks on the straight pathways, but cognitive costs for both DT conditions on the COD pathway (p < 0.01 for all comparisons. Our findings demonstrate that DT changes in walking when completing a secondary task that involve higher-level cognition are attributable to more than low-level divided attention or motor response processes. These results specifically show the direct competition

  7. Auditory and motor imagery modulate learning in music performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Rachel M; Palmer, Caroline

    2013-01-01

    Skilled performers such as athletes or musicians can improve their performance by imagining the actions or sensory outcomes associated with their skill. Performers vary widely in their auditory and motor imagery abilities, and these individual differences influence sensorimotor learning. It is unknown whether imagery abilities influence both memory encoding and retrieval. We examined how auditory and motor imagery abilities influence musicians' encoding (during Learning, as they practiced novel melodies), and retrieval (during Recall of those melodies). Pianists learned melodies by listening without performing (auditory learning) or performing without sound (motor learning); following Learning, pianists performed the melodies from memory with auditory feedback (Recall). During either Learning (Experiment 1) or Recall (Experiment 2), pianists experienced either auditory interference, motor interference, or no interference. Pitch accuracy (percentage of correct pitches produced) and temporal regularity (variability of quarter-note interonset intervals) were measured at Recall. Independent tests measured auditory and motor imagery skills. Pianists' pitch accuracy was higher following auditory learning than following motor learning and lower in motor interference conditions (Experiments 1 and 2). Both auditory and motor imagery skills improved pitch accuracy overall. Auditory imagery skills modulated pitch accuracy encoding (Experiment 1): Higher auditory imagery skill corresponded to higher pitch accuracy following auditory learning with auditory or motor interference, and following motor learning with motor or no interference. These findings suggest that auditory imagery abilities decrease vulnerability to interference and compensate for missing auditory feedback at encoding. Auditory imagery skills also influenced temporal regularity at retrieval (Experiment 2): Higher auditory imagery skill predicted greater temporal regularity during Recall in the presence of

  8. Auditory and motor imagery modulate learning in music performance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Rachel M.; Palmer, Caroline

    2013-01-01

    Skilled performers such as athletes or musicians can improve their performance by imagining the actions or sensory outcomes associated with their skill. Performers vary widely in their auditory and motor imagery abilities, and these individual differences influence sensorimotor learning. It is unknown whether imagery abilities influence both memory encoding and retrieval. We examined how auditory and motor imagery abilities influence musicians' encoding (during Learning, as they practiced novel melodies), and retrieval (during Recall of those melodies). Pianists learned melodies by listening without performing (auditory learning) or performing without sound (motor learning); following Learning, pianists performed the melodies from memory with auditory feedback (Recall). During either Learning (Experiment 1) or Recall (Experiment 2), pianists experienced either auditory interference, motor interference, or no interference. Pitch accuracy (percentage of correct pitches produced) and temporal regularity (variability of quarter-note interonset intervals) were measured at Recall. Independent tests measured auditory and motor imagery skills. Pianists' pitch accuracy was higher following auditory learning than following motor learning and lower in motor interference conditions (Experiments 1 and 2). Both auditory and motor imagery skills improved pitch accuracy overall. Auditory imagery skills modulated pitch accuracy encoding (Experiment 1): Higher auditory imagery skill corresponded to higher pitch accuracy following auditory learning with auditory or motor interference, and following motor learning with motor or no interference. These findings suggest that auditory imagery abilities decrease vulnerability to interference and compensate for missing auditory feedback at encoding. Auditory imagery skills also influenced temporal regularity at retrieval (Experiment 2): Higher auditory imagery skill predicted greater temporal regularity during Recall in the presence of

  9. Effects of Gait and Cognitive Task Difficulty on Cognitive-Motor Interference in Aging

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    Prudence Plummer-D'Amato

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Although gait-related dual-task interference in aging is well established, the effect of gait and cognitive task difficulty on dual-task interference is poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of gait and cognitive task difficulty on cognitive-motor interference in aging. Fifteen older adults (72.1 years, SD 5.2 and 20 young adults (21.7 years, SD 1.6 performed three walking tasks of varying difficulty (self-selected speed, fast speed, and fast speed with obstacle crossing under single- and dual-task conditions. The cognitive tasks were the auditory Stroop task and the clock task. There was a significant Group × Gait Task × Cognitive Task interaction for the dual-task effect on gait speed. After adjusting for education, there were no significant effects of gait or cognitive task difficulty on the dual-task effects on cognitive task performance. The results of this study provide evidence that gait task difficulty influences dual-task effects on gait speed, especially in older adults. Moreover, the effects of gait task difficulty on dual-task interference appear to be influenced by the difficulty of the cognitive task. Education is an important factor influencing cognitive-motor interference effects on cognition, but not gait.

  10. Cerebellar motor learning versus cerebellar motor timing: the climbing fibre story

    Science.gov (United States)

    Llinás, Rodolfo R

    2011-01-01

    Abstract Theories concerning the role of the climbing fibre system in motor learning, as opposed to those addressing the olivocerebellar system in the organization of motor timing, are briefly contrasted. The electrophysiological basis for the motor timing hypothesis in relation to the olivocerebellar system is treated in detail. PMID:21486816

  11. Functional connectivity between somatosensory and motor brain areas predicts individual differences in motor learning by observing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGregor, Heather R; Gribble, Paul L

    2017-08-01

    Action observation can facilitate the acquisition of novel motor skills; however, there is considerable individual variability in the extent to which observation promotes motor learning. Here we tested the hypothesis that individual differences in brain function or structure can predict subsequent observation-related gains in motor learning. Subjects underwent an anatomical MRI scan and resting-state fMRI scans to assess preobservation gray matter volume and preobservation resting-state functional connectivity (FC), respectively. On the following day, subjects observed a video of a tutor adapting her reaches to a novel force field. After observation, subjects performed reaches in a force field as a behavioral assessment of gains in motor learning resulting from observation. We found that individual differences in resting-state FC, but not gray matter volume, predicted postobservation gains in motor learning. Preobservation resting-state FC between left primary somatosensory cortex and bilateral dorsal premotor cortex, primary motor cortex, and primary somatosensory cortex and left superior parietal lobule was positively correlated with behavioral measures of postobservation motor learning. Sensory-motor resting-state FC can thus predict the extent to which observation will promote subsequent motor learning. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We show that individual differences in preobservation brain function can predict subsequent observation-related gains in motor learning. Preobservation resting-state functional connectivity within a sensory-motor network may be used as a biomarker for the extent to which observation promotes motor learning. This kind of information may be useful if observation is to be used as a way to boost neuroplasticity and sensory-motor recovery for patients undergoing rehabilitation for diseases that impair movement such as stroke. Copyright © 2017 the American Physiological Society.

  12. [Memory transfer in cerebellar motor learning].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nagao, Soichi

    2012-01-01

    Most of our motor skills are acquired through learning. Experiments of gain adaptation of ocular reflexes have consistently suggested that the memory of adaptation is initially formed in the cerebellar cortex, and is transferred to the cerebellar (vestibular) nuclei for consolidation to long-term memory after repetitions of training. We have recently developed a new system to evaluate the motor learning in human subjects using prism adaptation of hand reaching movement, by referring to the prism adaptation of dart throwing of Martin et al. (1996). In our system, the subject views the small target presented in the touch-panel screen, and touches it with his/her finger without direct visual feedback. After 15-30 trials of touching wearing prisms, an adaptation occurs in healthy subjects: they became able to touch the target correctly. Meanwhile, such an adaptation was impaired in patients of cerebellar disease. We have proposed a model of human prism adaptation that the memory of adaptation is initially encoded in the cerebellar cortex, and is later transferred to the cerebellar nuclei after repetitions of training. The memory in the cerebellar cortex may be formed and extinguished independently of the memory maintained in the cerebellar nuclei, and these two memories work cooperatively.

  13. Neutralization of Nogo-A Enhances Synaptic Plasticity in the Rodent Motor Cortex and Improves Motor Learning in Vivo

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weinmann, Oliver; Kellner, Yves; Yu, Xinzhu; Vicente, Raul; Gullo, Miriam; Kasper, Hansjörg; Lussi, Karin; Ristic, Zorica; Luft, Andreas R.; Rioult-Pedotti, Mengia; Zuo, Yi; Zagrebelsky, Marta; Schwab, Martin E.

    2014-01-01

    The membrane protein Nogo-A is known as an inhibitor of axonal outgrowth and regeneration in the CNS. However, its physiological functions in the normal adult CNS remain incompletely understood. Here, we investigated the role of Nogo-A in cortical synaptic plasticity and motor learning in the uninjured adult rodent motor cortex. Nogo-A and its receptor NgR1 are present at cortical synapses. Acute treatment of slices with function-blocking antibodies (Abs) against Nogo-A or against NgR1 increased long-term potentiation (LTP) induced by stimulation of layer 2/3 horizontal fibers. Furthermore, anti-Nogo-A Ab treatment increased LTP saturation levels, whereas long-term depression remained unchanged, thus leading to an enlarged synaptic modification range. In vivo, intrathecal application of Nogo-A-blocking Abs resulted in a higher dendritic spine density at cortical pyramidal neurons due to an increase in spine formation as revealed by in vivo two-photon microscopy. To investigate whether these changes in synaptic plasticity correlate with motor learning, we trained rats to learn a skilled forelimb-reaching task while receiving anti-Nogo-A Abs. Learning of this cortically controlled precision movement was improved upon anti-Nogo-A Ab treatment. Our results identify Nogo-A as an influential molecular modulator of synaptic plasticity and as a regulator for learning of skilled movements in the motor cortex. PMID:24966370

  14. Using virtual humans and computer animations to learn complex motor skills: a case study in karate

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Spanlang Bernhard

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Learning motor skills is a complex task involving a lot of cognitive issues. One of the main issues consists in retrieving the relevant information from the learning environment. In a traditional learning situation, a teacher gives oral explanations and performs actions to provide the learner with visual examples. Using virtual reality (VR as a tool for learning motor tasks is promising. However, it raises questions about the type of information this kind of environments can offer. In this paper, we propose to analyze the impact of virtual humans on the perception of the learners. As a case study, we propose to apply this research problem to karate gestures. The results of this study show no significant difference on the after training performance of learners confronted to three different learning environments (traditional group, video and VR.

  15. Semi-supervised Learning for Phenotyping Tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dligach, Dmitriy; Miller, Timothy; Savova, Guergana K

    2015-01-01

    Supervised learning is the dominant approach to automatic electronic health records-based phenotyping, but it is expensive due to the cost of manual chart review. Semi-supervised learning takes advantage of both scarce labeled and plentiful unlabeled data. In this work, we study a family of semi-supervised learning algorithms based on Expectation Maximization (EM) in the context of several phenotyping tasks. We first experiment with the basic EM algorithm. When the modeling assumptions are violated, basic EM leads to inaccurate parameter estimation. Augmented EM attenuates this shortcoming by introducing a weighting factor that downweights the unlabeled data. Cross-validation does not always lead to the best setting of the weighting factor and other heuristic methods may be preferred. We show that accurate phenotyping models can be trained with only a few hundred labeled (and a large number of unlabeled) examples, potentially providing substantial savings in the amount of the required manual chart review.

  16. Motor imagery training promotes motor learning in adolescents with cerebral palsy: comparison between left and right hemiparesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cabral-Sequeira, Audrey Sartori; Coelho, Daniel Boari; Teixeira, Luis Augusto

    2016-06-01

    This experiment was designed to evaluate the effects of pure motor imagery training (MIT) and its combination with physical practice on learning an aiming task with the more affected arm in adolescents suffering from cerebral palsy. Effect of MIT was evaluated as a function of side of hemiparesis. The experiment was accomplished by 11- to 16-year-old participants (M = 13.58 years), who suffered left (n = 16) or right (n = 15) mild hemiparesis. They were exposed to pure MIT (day 1) followed by physical practice (day 2) on an aiming task demanding movement accuracy and speed. Posttraining movement kinematics of the group receiving MIT were compared with movement kinematics of the control group after receiving recreational activities (day 1) and physical practice (day 2). Kinematic analysis showed that MIT led to decreased movement time and straighter hand displacements to the target. Performance achievements from MIT were increased with further physical practice, leading to enhanced effects on motor learning. Retention evaluation indicated that performance improvement from pure MIT and its combination with physical practice were stable over time. Performance achievements were equivalent between adolescents with either right or left hemiparesis, suggesting similar capacity between these groups to achieve performance improvement from pure imagery training and from its association with physical practice. Our results suggest that motor imagery training is a procedure potentially useful to increase motor learning achievements in individuals suffering from cerebral palsy.

  17. Clumsiness in fine motor tasks: evidence from the quantitative drawing evaluation of children with Down Syndrome.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vimercati, S L; Galli, M; Stella, G; Caiazzo, G; Ancillao, A; Albertini, G

    2015-03-01

    Drawing tests are commonly used for the clinical evaluation of cognitive capabilities in children with learning disabilities. We analysed quantitatively the drawings of children with Down Syndrome (DS) and of healthy, mental age-matched controls to characterise the features of fine motor skills in DS during a drawing task, with particular attention to clumsiness, a well-known feature of DS gross movements. Twenty-three children with DS and 13 controls hand-copied the figures of a circle, a cross and a square on a sheet. An optoelectronic system allowed the acquisition of the three-dimensional track of the drawing. The participants' posture and upper limb movements were analysed as well. Results showed that the participants with DS tended to draw faster but with less accuracy than controls. While clumsiness in gross movements manifests mainly as slow, less efficient movements, it manifests as high velocity and inaccurate movements in fine motor tasks such as drawing. © 2014 MENCAP and International Association of the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  18. The Gross Motor Skills of Children with Mild Learning Disabilities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nonis, Karen P.; Jernice, Tan Sing Yee

    2014-01-01

    Many international studies have examined the gross motor skills of children studying in special schools while local studies of such nature are limited. This study investigated the gross motor skills of children with Mild Learning Disabilities (MLD; n = 14, M age = 8.93 years, SD = 0.33) with the Test of Gross Motor Development-2 (TGMD-2, Ulrich,…

  19. Implicit perceptual-motor skill learning in mild cognitive impairment and Parkinson's disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gobel, Eric W; Blomeke, Kelsey; Zadikoff, Cindy; Simuni, Tanya; Weintraub, Sandra; Reber, Paul J

    2013-05-01

    Implicit skill learning is hypothesized to depend on nondeclarative memory that operates independent of the medial temporal lobe (MTL) memory system and instead depends on cortico striatal circuits between the basal ganglia and cortical areas supporting motor function and planning. Research with the Serial Reaction Time (SRT) task suggests that patients with memory disorders due to MTL damage exhibit normal implicit sequence learning. However, reports of intact learning rely on observations of no group differences, leading to speculation as to whether implicit sequence learning is fully intact in these patients. Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) often exhibit impaired sequence learning, but this impairment is not universally observed. Implicit perceptual-motor sequence learning was examined using the Serial Interception Sequence Learning (SISL) task in patients with amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI; n = 11) and patients with PD (n = 15). Sequence learning in SISL is resistant to explicit learning and individually adapted task difficulty controls for baseline performance differences. Patients with MCI exhibited robust sequence learning, equivalent to healthy older adults (n = 20), supporting the hypothesis that the MTL does not contribute to learning in this task. In contrast, the majority of patients with PD exhibited no sequence-specific learning in spite of matched overall task performance. Two patients with PD exhibited performance indicative of an explicit compensatory strategy suggesting that impaired implicit learning may lead to greater reliance on explicit memory in some individuals. The differences in learning between patient groups provides strong evidence in favor of implicit sequence learning depending solely on intact basal ganglia function with no contribution from the MTL memory system.

  20. Auditory and motor imagery modulate learning in music performance

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rachel M. Brown

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available Skilled performers such as athletes or musicians can improve their performance by imagining the actions or sensory outcomes associated with their skill. Performers vary widely in their auditory and motor imagery abilities, and these individual differences influence sensorimotor learning. It is unknown whether imagery abilities influence both memory encoding and retrieval. We examined how auditory and motor imagery abilities influence musicians’ encoding (during Learning, as they practiced novel melodies, and retrieval (during Recall of those melodies. Pianists learned melodies by listening without performing (auditory learning or performing without sound (motor learning; following Learning, pianists performed the melodies from memory with auditory feedback (Recall. During either Learning (Experiment 1 or Recall (Experiment 2, pianists experienced either auditory interference, motor interference, or no interference. Pitch accuracy (percentage of correct pitches produced and temporal regularity (variability of quarter-note interonset intervals were measured at Recall. Independent tests measured auditory and motor imagery skills. Pianists’ pitch accuracy was higher following auditory learning than following motor learning and lower in motor interference conditions (Experiments 1 and 2. Both auditory and motor imagery skills improved pitch accuracy overall. Auditory imagery skills modulated pitch accuracy encoding (Experiment 1: Higher auditory imagery skill corresponded to higher pitch accuracy following auditory learning with auditory or motor interference, and following motor learning with motor or no interference. These findings suggest that auditory imagery abilities decrease vulnerability to interference and compensate for missing auditory feedback at encoding. Auditory imagery skills also influenced temporal regularity at retrieval (Experiment 2: Higher auditory imagery skill predicted greater temporal regularity during Recall in the

  1. Neural Correlates of Task Cost for Stance Control with an Additional Motor Task: Phase-Locked Electroencephalogram Responses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hwang, Ing-Shiou; Huang, Cheng-Ya

    2016-01-01

    With appropriate reallocation of central resources, the ability to maintain an erect posture is not necessarily degraded by a concurrent motor task. This study investigated the neural control of a particular postural-suprapostural procedure involving brain mechanisms to solve crosstalk between posture and motor subtasks. Participants completed a single posture task and a dual-task while concurrently conducting force-matching and maintaining a tilted stabilometer stance at a target angle. Stabilometer movements and event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded. The added force-matching task increased the irregularity of postural response rather than the size of postural response prior to force-matching. In addition, the added force-matching task during stabilometer stance led to marked topographic ERP modulation, with greater P2 positivity in the frontal and sensorimotor-parietal areas of the N1-P2 transitional phase and in the sensorimotor-parietal area of the late P2 phase. The time-frequency distribution of the ERP primary principal component revealed that the dual-task condition manifested more pronounced delta (1–4 Hz) and beta (13–35 Hz) synchronizations but suppressed theta activity (4–8 Hz) before force-matching. The dual-task condition also manifested coherent fronto-parietal delta activity in the P2 period. In addition to a decrease in postural regularity, this study reveals spatio-temporal and temporal-spectral reorganizations of ERPs in the fronto-sensorimotor-parietal network due to the added suprapostural motor task. For a particular set of postural-suprapostural task, the behavior and neural data suggest a facilitatory role of autonomous postural response and central resource expansion with increasing interregional interactions for task-shift and planning the motor-suprapostural task. PMID:27010634

  2. Functional MR study of a motor task and the Tower of London task at 1.0 T

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Boghi, A.; Rampado, O.; Ropolo, R.; Bergui, M.; Coriasco, M.; Bradac, G.B.; Avidano, F.; Manzone, C.; Mortara, P.; Orsi, L.

    2006-01-01

    The use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) for clinical applications and basic neuroscience is constantly increasing. The discussion about minimum performance requirement for a correct implementation of fMRI is still open, and one of the critical points is the magnetic field strength. We tested the feasibility of fMRI at 1.0 T during motor and cognitive tasks. Fourteen healthy subjects were scanned during a motor task and 12 while performing the Tower of London task. In the activated areas, the percentage signal change due to BOLD (blood oxygenation level dependent) contrast was analysed. To check basic image quality of the acquisition system we measured quality indices in a temporal series of images of a phantom. Motor and cognitive brain activations matched previous results obtained at higher field strengths. The mean percentage change over subjects in the motor task was in the range 1.3-2.6% for the primary motor area and 0.8-6.7% for the cerebellum. In the cognitive task, the mean percentage change over subjects was 0.7-1.2% for a frontal area and 0.6-2.8% for a parietal area. The percentage noise of the phantom temporal series was less than 0.4%. Percentage changes and signal to noise ratio, although lower than that obtained with high-field systems, allowed activation maps to be obtained in all subjects. (orig.)

  3. Implicit motor sequence learning and working memory performance changes across the adult life span

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sarah Nadine Meissner

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Although implicit motor sequence learning is rather well understood in young adults, effects of aging on this kind of learning are controversial. There is first evidence that working memory (WM might play a role in implicit motor sequence learning in young adults as well as in adults above the age of 65. However the knowledge about the development of these processes across the adult life span is rather limited. As the average age of our population continues to rise, a better understanding of age-related changes in motor sequence learning and potentially mediating cognitive processes takes on increasing significance. Therefore, we investigated aging effects on implicit motor sequence learning and WM. Sixty adults (18-71 years completed verbal and visuospatial n-back tasks and were trained on a serial reaction time task. Randomly varying trials served as control condition. To further assess consolidation indicated by off-line improvement and reduced susceptibility to interference, reaction times (RTs were determined 1 h after initial learning. Young and older but not middle-aged adults showed motor sequence learning. Nine out of 20 older adults (compared to one young/one middle-aged exhibited some evidence of sequence awareness. After 1 h, young and middle-aged adults showed off-line improvement. However, RT facilitation was not specific to sequence trials. Importantly, susceptibility to interference was reduced in young and older adults indicating the occurrence of consolidation. Although WM performance declined in older participants when load was high, it was not significantly related to sequence learning. The data reveal a decline in motor sequence learning in middle-aged but not in older adults. The use of explicit learning strategies in older adults might account for the latter result.

  4. Altered synaptic plasticity in Tourette's syndrome and its relationship to motor skill learning.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Valerie Cathérine Brandt

    Full Text Available Gilles de la Tourette syndrome is a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by motor and phonic tics that can be considered motor responses to preceding inner urges. It has been shown that Tourette patients have inferior performance in some motor learning tasks and reduced synaptic plasticity induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation. However, it has not been investigated whether altered synaptic plasticity is directly linked to impaired motor skill acquisition in Tourette patients. In this study, cortical plasticity was assessed by measuring motor-evoked potentials before and after paired associative stimulation in 14 Tourette patients (13 male; age 18-39 and 15 healthy controls (12 male; age 18-33. Tic and urge severity were assessed using the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale and the Premonitory Urges for Tics Scale. Motor learning was assessed 45 minutes after inducing synaptic plasticity and 9 months later, using the rotary pursuit task. On average, long-term potentiation-like effects in response to the paired associative stimulation were present in healthy controls but not in patients. In Tourette patients, long-term potentiation-like effects were associated with more and long-term depression-like effects with less severe urges and tics. While motor learning did not differ between patients and healthy controls 45 minutes after inducing synaptic plasticity, the learning curve of the healthy controls started at a significantly higher level than the Tourette patients' 9 months later. Induced synaptic plasticity correlated positively with motor skills in healthy controls 9 months later. The present study confirms previously found long-term improvement in motor performance after paired associative stimulation in healthy controls but not in Tourette patients. Tourette patients did not show long-term potentiation in response to PAS and also showed reduced levels of motor skill consolidation after 9 months compared to healthy controls. Moreover

  5. Modulation of motor performance and motor learning by transcranial direct current stimulation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reis, Janine; Fritsch, Brita

    2011-12-01

    Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has shown preliminary success in improving motor performance and motor learning in healthy individuals, and restitution of motor deficits in stroke patients. This brief review highlights some recent work. Within the past years, behavioural studies have confirmed and specified the timing and polarity specific effects of tDCS on motor skill learning and motor adaptation. There is strong evidence that timely co-application of (hand/arm) training and anodal tDCS to the contralateral M1 can improve motor learning. Improvements in motor function as measured by clinical scores have been described for combined tDCS and training in stroke patients. For this purpose, electrode montages have been modified with respect to interhemispheric imbalance after brain injury. Cathodal tDCS applied to the unlesioned M1 or bihemispheric M1 stimulation appears to be well tolerated and useful to induce improvements in motor function. Mechanistic studies in humans and animals are discussed with regard to physiological motor learning. tDCS is well tolerated, easy to use and capable of inducing lasting improvements in motor function. This method holds promise for the rehabilitation of motor disabilities, although acute studies in patients with brain injury are so far lacking.

  6. The Effects of Divided Attention on Speech Motor, Verbal Fluency, and Manual Task Performance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dromey, Christopher; Shim, Erin

    2008-01-01

    Purpose: The goal of this study was to evaluate aspects of the "functional distance hypothesis," which predicts that tasks regulated by brain networks in closer anatomic proximity will interfere more with each other than tasks controlled by spatially distant regions. Speech, verbal fluency, and manual motor tasks were examined to ascertain whether…

  7. Fine and gross motor skills: The effects on skill-focused dual-tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raisbeck, Louisa D; Diekfuss, Jed A

    2015-10-01

    Dual-task methodology often directs participants' attention towards a gross motor skill involved in the execution of a skill, but researchers have not investigated the comparative effects of attention on fine motor skill tasks. Furthermore, there is limited information about participants' subjective perception of workload with respect to task performance. To examine this, the current study administered the NASA-Task Load Index following a simulated shooting dual-task. The task required participants to stand 15 feet from a projector screen which depicted virtual targets and fire a modified Glock 17 handgun equipped with an infrared laser. Participants performed the primary shooting task alone (control), or were also instructed to focus their attention on a gross motor skill relevant to task execution (gross skill-focused) and a fine motor skill relevant to task execution (fine skill-focused). Results revealed that workload was significantly greater during the fine skill-focused task for both skill levels, but performance was only affected for the lesser-skilled participants. Shooting performance for the lesser-skilled participants was greater during the gross skill-focused condition compared to the fine skill-focused condition. Correlational analyses also demonstrated a significant negative relationship between shooting performance and workload during the gross skill-focused task for the higher-skilled participants. A discussion of the relationship between skill type, workload, skill level, and performance in dual-task paradigms is presented. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. Investigating Antecedents of Task Commitment and Task Attraction in Service Learning Team Projects

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaffer, Bryan S.; Manegold, Jennifer G.

    2018-01-01

    The authors investigated the antecedents of team task cohesiveness in service learning classroom environments. Focusing on task commitment and task attraction as key dependent variables representing cohesiveness, and task interdependence as the primary independent variable, the authors position three important task action phase processes as…

  9. Movement sonification: Effects on motor learning beyond rhythmic adjustments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alfred Oliver Effenberg

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available Motor learning is based on motor perception and emergent perceptual-motor representations. A lot of behavioral research is related to single perceptual modalities, but during last two decades the contribution of multimodal perception on motor behavior was discovered more and more. A growing number of studies indicate an enhanced impact of multimodal stimuli on motor perception, motor control and motor learning in terms of better precision and higher reliability of the related actions. Behavioral research is supported by neurophysiological data, revealing that multisensory integration supports motor control and learning. But the overwhelming part of both research lines is dedicated to basic research. Besides research in the domains of music, dance and motor rehabilitation there is nearly no evidence about enhanced effectiveness of multisensory information on learning of gross motor skills. To reduce this gap movement sonification is used here in applied research on motor learning in sports.Based on the current knowledge on the multimodal organization of the perceptual system we generate additional real-time movement information being suitable for integration with perceptual feedback streams of visual and proprioceptive modality. With ongoing training synchronously processed auditory information should be initially integrated into the emerging internal models, enhancing the efficacy of motor learning. This is achieved by a direct mapping of kinematic and dynamic motion parameters to electronic sounds, resulting in continuous auditory and convergent audiovisual or audio-proprioceptive stimulus arrays. In sharp contrast to other approaches using acoustic information as error feedback in motor learning settings we try to generate additional movement information suitable for acceleration and enhancement of adequate sensorimotor representations and processible below the level of consciousness. In the experimental setting participants were asked to

  10. Movement Sonification: Effects on Motor Learning beyond Rhythmic Adjustments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Effenberg, Alfred O; Fehse, Ursula; Schmitz, Gerd; Krueger, Bjoern; Mechling, Heinz

    2016-01-01

    Motor learning is based on motor perception and emergent perceptual-motor representations. A lot of behavioral research is related to single perceptual modalities but during last two decades the contribution of multimodal perception on motor behavior was discovered more and more. A growing number of studies indicates an enhanced impact of multimodal stimuli on motor perception, motor control and motor learning in terms of better precision and higher reliability of the related actions. Behavioral research is supported by neurophysiological data, revealing that multisensory integration supports motor control and learning. But the overwhelming part of both research lines is dedicated to basic research. Besides research in the domains of music, dance and motor rehabilitation, there is almost no evidence for enhanced effectiveness of multisensory information on learning of gross motor skills. To reduce this gap, movement sonification is used here in applied research on motor learning in sports. Based on the current knowledge on the multimodal organization of the perceptual system, we generate additional real-time movement information being suitable for integration with perceptual feedback streams of visual and proprioceptive modality. With ongoing training, synchronously processed auditory information should be initially integrated into the emerging internal models, enhancing the efficacy of motor learning. This is achieved by a direct mapping of kinematic and dynamic motion parameters to electronic sounds, resulting in continuous auditory and convergent audiovisual or audio-proprioceptive stimulus arrays. In sharp contrast to other approaches using acoustic information as error-feedback in motor learning settings, we try to generate additional movement information suitable for acceleration and enhancement of adequate sensorimotor representations and processible below the level of consciousness. In the experimental setting, participants were asked to learn a closed

  11. Movement Sonification: Effects on Motor Learning beyond Rhythmic Adjustments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Effenberg, Alfred O.; Fehse, Ursula; Schmitz, Gerd; Krueger, Bjoern; Mechling, Heinz

    2016-01-01

    Motor learning is based on motor perception and emergent perceptual-motor representations. A lot of behavioral research is related to single perceptual modalities but during last two decades the contribution of multimodal perception on motor behavior was discovered more and more. A growing number of studies indicates an enhanced impact of multimodal stimuli on motor perception, motor control and motor learning in terms of better precision and higher reliability of the related actions. Behavioral research is supported by neurophysiological data, revealing that multisensory integration supports motor control and learning. But the overwhelming part of both research lines is dedicated to basic research. Besides research in the domains of music, dance and motor rehabilitation, there is almost no evidence for enhanced effectiveness of multisensory information on learning of gross motor skills. To reduce this gap, movement sonification is used here in applied research on motor learning in sports. Based on the current knowledge on the multimodal organization of the perceptual system, we generate additional real-time movement information being suitable for integration with perceptual feedback streams of visual and proprioceptive modality. With ongoing training, synchronously processed auditory information should be initially integrated into the emerging internal models, enhancing the efficacy of motor learning. This is achieved by a direct mapping of kinematic and dynamic motion parameters to electronic sounds, resulting in continuous auditory and convergent audiovisual or audio-proprioceptive stimulus arrays. In sharp contrast to other approaches using acoustic information as error-feedback in motor learning settings, we try to generate additional movement information suitable for acceleration and enhancement of adequate sensorimotor representations and processible below the level of consciousness. In the experimental setting, participants were asked to learn a closed

  12. Effects of transcranial direct current stimulation on motor learning in healthy individuals: a systematic review

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Águida Foerster

    Full Text Available Introduction Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS has been used to modify cortical excitability and promote motor learning. Objective To systematically review published data to investigate the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation on motor learning in healthy individuals. Methods Randomized or quasi-randomized studies that evaluated the tDCS effects on motor learning were included and the risk of bias was examined by Cochrane Collaboration’s tool. The following electronic databases were used: PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, LILACS, CINAHL with no language restriction. Results It was found 160 studies; after reading the title and abstract, 17 of those were selected, but just 4 were included. All studies involved healthy, right-handed adults. All studies assessed motor learning by the Jebsen Taylor Test or by the Serial Finger Tapping Task (SFTT. Almost all studies were randomized and all were blinding for participants. Some studies presented differences at SFTT protocol. Conclusion The result is insufficient to draw conclusions if tDCS influences the motor learning. Furthermore, there was significant heterogeneity of the stimulation parameters used. Further researches are needed to investigate the parameters that are more important for motor learning improvement and measure whether the effects are long-lasting or limited in time.

  13. Probabilistic Motor Sequence Yields Greater Offline and Less Online Learning than Fixed Sequence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Du, Yue; Prashad, Shikha; Schoenbrun, Ilana; Clark, Jane E

    2016-01-01

    It is well acknowledged that motor sequences can be learned quickly through online learning. Subsequently, the initial acquisition of a motor sequence is boosted or consolidated by offline learning. However, little is known whether offline learning can drive the fast learning of motor sequences (i.e., initial sequence learning in the first training session). To examine offline learning in the fast learning stage, we asked four groups of young adults to perform the serial reaction time (SRT) task with either a fixed or probabilistic sequence and with or without preliminary knowledge (PK) of the presence of a sequence. The sequence and PK were manipulated to emphasize either procedural (probabilistic sequence; no preliminary knowledge (NPK)) or declarative (fixed sequence; with PK) memory that were found to either facilitate or inhibit offline learning. In the SRT task, there were six learning blocks with a 2 min break between each consecutive block. Throughout the session, stimuli followed the same fixed or probabilistic pattern except in Block 5, in which stimuli appeared in a random order. We found that PK facilitated the learning of a fixed sequence, but not a probabilistic sequence. In addition to overall learning measured by the mean reaction time (RT), we examined the progressive changes in RT within and between blocks (i.e., online and offline learning, respectively). It was found that the two groups who performed the fixed sequence, regardless of PK, showed greater online learning than the other two groups who performed the probabilistic sequence. The groups who performed the probabilistic sequence, regardless of PK, did not display online learning, as indicated by a decline in performance within the learning blocks. However, they did demonstrate remarkably greater offline improvement in RT, which suggests that they are learning the probabilistic sequence offline. These results suggest that in the SRT task, the fast acquisition of a motor sequence is driven

  14. No association of the BDNF val66met polymorphism with implicit associative vocabulary and motor learning.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nils Freundlieb

    Full Text Available Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF has been suggested to play a major role in plasticity, neurogenesis and learning in the adult brain. The BDNF gene contains a common val66met polymorphism associated with decreased activity-dependent excretion of BDNF and a potential influence on behaviour, more specifically, on motor learning. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of the BDNF val66met polymorphism on short-term implicit associative learning and whether its influence is cognitive domain-specific (motor vs. language. A sample of 38 young healthy participants was genotyped, screened for background and neuropsychological differences, and tested with two associative implicit learning paradigms in two different cognitive domains, i.e., motor and vocabulary learning. Subjects performed the serial reaction time task (SRTT to determine implicit motor learning and a recently established associative vocabulary learning task (AVL for implicit learning of action and object words. To determine the influence of the BDNF polymorphism on domain-specific implicit learning, behavioural improvements in the two tasks were compared between val/val (n = 22 and met carriers (val/met: n = 15 and met/met: n = 1. There was no evidence for an impact of the BDNF val66met polymorphism on the behavioural outcome in implicit short-term learning paradigms in young healthy subjects. Whether this polymorphism plays a relevant role in long-term training paradigms or in subjects with impaired neuronal plasticity or reduced learning capacity, such as aged individuals, demented patients or patients with brain lesions, has to be determined in future studies.

  15. Motor learning interference is proportional to occlusion of LTP-like plasticity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cantarero, Gabriela; Tang, Byron; O'Malley, Rebecca; Salas, Rachel; Celnik, Pablo

    2013-03-13

    Learning interference occurs when learning something new causes forgetting of an older memory (retrograde interference) or when learning a new task disrupts learning of a second subsequent task (anterograde interference). This phenomenon, described in cognitive, sensory, and motor domains, limits our ability to learn multiple tasks in close succession. It has been suggested that the source of interference is competition of neural resources, although the neuronal mechanisms are unknown. Learning induces long-term potentiation (LTP), which can ultimately limit the ability to induce further LTP, a phenomenon known as occlusion. In humans we quantified the magnitude of occlusion of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation-induced increased excitability after learning a skill task as an index of the amount of LTP-like plasticity used. We found that retention of a newly acquired skill, as reflected by performance in the second day of practice, is proportional to the magnitude of occlusion. Moreover, the degree of behavioral interference was correlated with the magnitude of occlusion. Individuals with larger occlusion after learning the first skill were (1) more resilient to retrograde interference and (2) experienced larger anterograde interference when training a second task, as expressed by decreased performance of the learned skill in the second day of practice. This effect was not observed if sufficient time elapsed between training the two skills and LTP-like occlusion was not present. These findings suggest competition of LTP-like plasticity is a factor that limits the ability to remember multiple tasks trained in close succession.

  16. Motor learning characterization in people with autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Moraes, Íbis Ariana Peña; Massetti, Thais; Crocetta, Tânia Brusque; da Silva, Talita Dias; de Menezes, Lilian Del Ciello; Monteiro, Carlos Bandeira de Mello; Magalhães, Fernando Henrique

    2017-01-01

    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder primarily characterized by deficits in social interaction, communication and implicit skill learning. To analyse the results of research on "motor learning" and the means used for measuring "autistic disorder". A systematic literature search was done using Medline/PubMed, Web of Science, BVS (virtual health library), and PsycINFO. We included articles that contained the keywords "autism" and "motor learning". The variables considered were the methodological aspects; results presented, and the methodological quality of the studies. A total of 42 studies were identified; 33 articles were excluded because they did not meet the inclusion criteria. Data were extracted from nine eligible studies and summarized. We concluded that although individuals with ASD showed performance difficulties in different memory and motor learning tasks, acquisition of skills still takes place in this population; however, this skill acquisition is related to heterogeneous events, occurring without the awareness of the individual.

  17. Learning from sensory and reward prediction errors during motor adaptation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Izawa, Jun; Shadmehr, Reza

    2011-03-01

    Voluntary motor commands produce two kinds of consequences. Initially, a sensory consequence is observed in terms of activity in our primary sensory organs (e.g., vision, proprioception). Subsequently, the brain evaluates the sensory feedback and produces a subjective measure of utility or usefulness of the motor commands (e.g., reward). As a result, comparisons between predicted and observed consequences of motor commands produce two forms of prediction error. How do these errors contribute to changes in motor commands? Here, we considered a reach adaptation protocol and found that when high quality sensory feedback was available, adaptation of motor commands was driven almost exclusively by sensory prediction errors. This form of learning had a distinct signature: as motor commands adapted, the subjects altered their predictions regarding sensory consequences of motor commands, and generalized this learning broadly to neighboring motor commands. In contrast, as the quality of the sensory feedback degraded, adaptation of motor commands became more dependent on reward prediction errors. Reward prediction errors produced comparable changes in the motor commands, but produced no change in the predicted sensory consequences of motor commands, and generalized only locally. Because we found that there was a within subject correlation between generalization patterns and sensory remapping, it is plausible that during adaptation an individual's relative reliance on sensory vs. reward prediction errors could be inferred. We suggest that while motor commands change because of sensory and reward prediction errors, only sensory prediction errors produce a change in the neural system that predicts sensory consequences of motor commands.

  18. Effect of task-oriented training and high-variability practice on gross motor performance and activities of daily living in children with spastic diplegia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kwon, Hae-Yeon; Ahn, So-Yoon

    2016-10-01

    [Purpose] This study investigates how a task-oriented training and high-variability practice program can affect the gross motor performance and activities of daily living for children with spastic diplegia and provides an effective and reliable clinical database for future improvement of motor performances skills. [Subjects and Methods] This study randomly assigned seven children with spastic diplegia to each intervention group including that of a control group, task-oriented training group, and a high-variability practice group. The control group only received neurodevelopmental treatment for 40 minutes, while the other two intervention groups additionally implemented a task-oriented training and high-variability practice program for 8 weeks (twice a week, 60 min per session). To compare intra and inter-relationships of the three intervention groups, this study measured gross motor performance measure (GMPM) and functional independence measure for children (WeeFIM) before and after 8 weeks of training. [Results] There were statistically significant differences in the amount of change before and after the training among the three intervention groups for the gross motor performance measure and functional independence measure. [Conclusion] Applying high-variability practice in a task-oriented training course may be considered an efficient intervention method to improve motor performance skills that can tune to movement necessary for daily livelihood through motor experience and learning of new skills as well as change of tasks learned in a complex environment or similar situations to high-variability practice.

  19. Classification of EEG signals to identify variations in attention during motor task execution

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Aliakbaryhosseinabadi, Susan; Kamavuako, Ernest Nlandu; Jiang, Ning

    2017-01-01

    attentionlevels onmotor tasks ineachparticipant. Then, a globalfeature distribution was constructed with the projected time-frequency features of all participants from all channels and applied for attention classification during motor movement execution. Results: Time-frequency features led to significantly...... BCI systems with time-frequency features. This is the first step towards an adaptive real-time BCI with an integrated function to reveal attention shifts from the motor task....

  20. Motor-cognitive dual-task deficits in individuals with early-mid stage Huntington disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fritz, Nora E; Hamana, Katy; Kelson, Mark; Rosser, Anne; Busse, Monica; Quinn, Lori

    2016-09-01

    Huntington disease (HD) results in a range of cognitive and motor impairments that progress throughout the disease stages; however, little research has evaluated specific dual-task abilities in this population, and the degree to which they may be related to functional ability. The purpose of this study was to a) examine simple and complex motor-cognitive dual-task performance in individuals with HD, b) determine relationships between dual-task walking ability and disease-specific measures of motor, cognitive and functional ability, and c) examine the relationship of dual-task measures to falls in individuals with HD. Thirty-two individuals with HD were evaluated for simple and complex dual-task ability using the Walking While Talking Test. Demographics and disease-specific measures of motor, cognitive and functional ability were also obtained. Individuals with HD had impairments in simple and complex dual-task ability. Simple dual-task walking was correlated to disease-specific motor scores as well as cognitive performance, but complex dual-task walking was correlated with total functional capacity, as well as a range of cognitive measures. Number of prospective falls was moderately-strongly correlated to dual-task measures. Our results suggest that individuals with HD have impairments in cognitive-motor dual-task ability that are related to disease progression and specifically functional ability. Dual-task measures appear to evaluate a unique construct in individuals with early to mid-stage HD, and may have value in improving the prediction of falls risk in this population. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. Motor cortical encoding of serial order in a context-recall task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carpenter, A F; Georgopoulos, A P; Pellizzer, G

    1999-03-12

    The neural encoding of serial order was studied in the motor cortex of monkeys performing a context-recall memory scanning task. Up to five visual stimuli were presented successively on a circle (list presentation phase), and then one of them (test stimulus) changed color; the monkeys had to make a single motor response toward the stimulus that immediately followed the test stimulus in the list. Correct performance in this task depends on memorization of the serial order of the stimuli during their presentation. It was found that changes in neural activity during the list presentation phase reflected the serial order of the stimuli; the effect on cell activity of the serial order of stimuli during their presentation was at least as strong as the effect of motor direction on cell activity during the execution of the motor response. This establishes the serial order of stimuli in a motor task as an important determinant of motor cortical activity during stimulus presentation and in the absence of changes in peripheral motor events, in contrast to the commonly held view of the motor cortex as just an "upper motor neuron."

  2. Functional near infrared spectroscopy of the sensory and motor brain regions with simultaneous kinematic and EMG monitoring during motor tasks

    OpenAIRE

    Sukal-Moulton, Theresa; de Campos, Ana Carolina; Stanley, Christopher J; Damiano, Diane L

    2014-01-01

    There are several advantages that functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) presents in the study of the neural control of human movement. It is relatively flexible with respect to participant positioning and allows for some head movements during tasks. Additionally, it is inexpensive, light weight, and portable, with very few contraindications to its use. This presents a unique opportunity to study functional brain activity during motor tasks in individuals who are typically developing, ...

  3. Trial-to-trial reoptimization of motor behavior due to changes in task demands is limited.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Orban de Xivry J-J

    Full Text Available Each task requires a specific motor behavior that is tuned to task demands. For instance, writing requires a lot of accuracy while clapping does not. It is known that the brain adjusts the motor behavior to different task demands as predicted by optimal control theory. In this study, the mechanism of this reoptimization process is investigated by varying the accuracy demands of a reaching task. In this task, the width of the reaching target (0.5 or 8 cm was varied either on a trial-to-trial basis (random schedule or in blocks (blocked schedule. On some trials, the hand of the subjects was clamped to a rectilinear trajectory that ended 2 cm on the left or right of the target center. The rejection of this perturbation largely varied with target width in the blocked schedule but not in the random schedule. That is, subjects exhibited different motor behavior in the different schedules despite identical accuracy demands. Therefore, while reoptimization has been considered immediate and automatic, the differences in motor behavior observed across schedules suggest that the reoptimization of the motor behavior is neither happening on a trial-by-trial basis nor obligatory. The absence of trial-to-trial mechanisms, the inability of the brain to adapt to two conflicting task demands and the existence of a switching cost are discussed as possible sources of the non-optimality of motor behavior during the random schedule.

  4. Specific Deficit in Implicit Motor Sequence Learning following Spinal Cord Injury.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ayala Bloch

    Full Text Available Physical and psychosocial rehabilitation following spinal cord injury (SCI leans heavily on learning and practicing new skills. However, despite research relating motor sequence learning to spinal cord activity and clinical observations of impeded skill-learning after SCI, implicit procedural learning following spinal cord damage has not been examined.To test the hypothesis that spinal cord injury (SCI in the absence of concomitant brain injury is associated with a specific implicit motor sequence learning deficit that cannot be explained by depression or impairments in other cognitive measures.Ten participants with SCI in T1-T11, unharmed upper limb motor and sensory functioning, and no concomitant brain injury were compared to ten matched control participants on measures derived from the serial reaction time (SRT task, which was used to assess implicit motor sequence learning. Explicit generation of the SRT sequence, depression, and additional measures of learning, memory, and intelligence were included to explore the source and specificity of potential learning deficits.There was no between-group difference in baseline reaction time, indicating that potential differences between the learning curves of the two groups could not be attributed to an overall reduction in response speed in the SCI group. Unlike controls, the SCI group showed no decline in reaction time over the first six blocks of the SRT task and no advantage for the initially presented sequence over the novel interference sequence. Meanwhile, no group differences were found in explicit learning, depression, or any additional cognitive measures.The dissociation between impaired implicit learning and intact declarative memory represents novel empirical evidence of a specific implicit procedural learning deficit following SCI, with broad implications for rehabilitation and adjustment.

  5. Two chronic motor training paradigms differentially influe nce acute instrume ntal learning in spinally transected rats

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bigbee, Allison J.; Crown, Eric D.; Ferguson, Adam R.; Roy, Roland R.; Tillakaratne, Niranjala J.K.; Grau, James W.; Edgerton, V. Reggie

    2008-01-01

    The effect of two chronic motor training paradigms on the ability of the lumbar spinal cord to perform an acute instrumental learning task was examined in neonatally (postnatal day 5; P5) spinal cord transected (i.e., spinal) rats. At ∼P30, rats began either unipedal hindlimb stand training (Stand-Tr; 20-25 min/day, 5 days/wk), or bipedal hindlimb step training (Step-Tr; 20 min/day; 5 days/wk) for 7 wks. Non-trained spinal rats (Non-Tr) served as controls. After 7 wks all groups were tested on the flexor-biased instrumental learning paradigm. We hypothesized that 1) Step-Tr rats would exhibit an increased capacity to learn the flexor-biased task relative to Non-Tr subjects, as locomotion involves repetitive training of the tibialis anterior (TA), the ankle flexor whose activation is important for successful instrumental learning, and 2) Stand-Tr rats would exhibit a deficit in acute motor learning, as unipedal training activates the ipsilateral ankle extensors, but not flexors. Results showed no differences in acute learning potential between Non-Tr and Step-Tr rats, while the Stand-Tr group showed a reduced capacity to learn the acute task. Further investigation of the Stand-Tr group showed that, while both the ipsilateral and contralateral hindlimbs were significantly impaired in their acute learning potential, the contralateral, untrained hindlimbs exhibited significantly greater learning deficits. These results suggest that different types of chronic peripheral input may have a significant impact on the ability to learn a novel motor task, and demonstrate the potential for experience-dependent plasticity in the spinal cord in the absence of supraspinal connectivity. PMID:17434606

  6. Task-dependent engagements of the primary visual cortex during kinesthetic and visual motor imagery.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mizuguchi, Nobuaki; Nakamura, Maiko; Kanosue, Kazuyuki

    2017-01-01

    Motor imagery can be divided into kinesthetic and visual aspects. In the present study, we investigated excitability in the corticospinal tract and primary visual cortex (V1) during kinesthetic and visual motor imagery. To accomplish this, we measured motor evoked potentials (MEPs) and probability of phosphene occurrence during the two types of motor imageries of finger tapping. The MEPs and phosphenes were induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation to the primary motor cortex and V1, respectively. The amplitudes of MEPs and probability of phosphene occurrence during motor imagery were normalized based on the values obtained at rest. Corticospinal excitability increased during both kinesthetic and visual motor imagery, while excitability in V1 was increased only during visual motor imagery. These results imply that modulation of cortical excitability during kinesthetic and visual motor imagery is task dependent. The present finding aids in the understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying motor imagery and provides useful information for the use of motor imagery in rehabilitation or motor imagery training. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Does transcranial direct current stimulation affect the learning of a fine sequential hand motor skill with motor imagery?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sobierajewicz, Jagna; Jaskowski, Wojciech; van der Lubbe, Robert Henricus Johannes

    2017-01-01

    Learning a fine sequential hand motor skill, comparable to playing the piano or learning to type, improves not only due to physical practice, but also due to motor imagery. Previous studies revealed that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and motor imagery independently affect motor

  8. Task-specific modulation of effective connectivity during two simple unimanual motor tasks: A 122-channel EEG study

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Herz, Damian M.; Christensen, Mark S.; Reck, Christiane

    2012-01-01

    Neural oscillations are thought to underlie coupling of spatially remote neurons and gating of information within the human sensorimotor system. Here we tested the hypothesis that different unimanual motor tasks are specifically associated with distinct patterns of oscillatory coupling in human...

  9. Sub-processes of motor learning revealed by a robotic manipulandum for rodents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lambercy, O; Schubring-Giese, M; Vigaru, B; Gassert, R; Luft, A R; Hosp, J A

    2015-02-01

    Rodent models are widely used to investigate neural changes in response to motor learning. Usually, the behavioral readout of motor learning tasks used for this purpose is restricted to a binary measure of performance (i.e. "successful" movement vs. "failure"). Thus, the assignability of research in rodents to concepts gained in human research - implying diverse internal models that constitute motor learning - is still limited. To solve this problem, we recently introduced a three-degree-of-freedom robotic platform designed for rats (the ETH-Pattus) that combines an accurate behavioral readout (in the form of kinematics) with the possibility to invasively assess learning related changes within the brain (e.g. by performing immunohistochemistry or electrophysiology in acute slice preparations). Here, we validate this platform as a tool to study motor learning by establishing two forelimb-reaching paradigms that differ in degree of skill. Both conditions can be precisely differentiated in terms of their temporal pattern and performance levels. Based on behavioral data, we hypothesize the presence of several sub-processes contributing to motor learning. These share close similarities with concepts gained in humans or primates. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  10. Isolating Visual and Proprioceptive Components of Motor Sequence Learning in ASD.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharer, Elizabeth A; Mostofsky, Stewart H; Pascual-Leone, Alvaro; Oberman, Lindsay M

    2016-05-01

    In addition to defining impairments in social communication skills, individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) also show impairments in more basic sensory and motor skills. Development of new skills involves integrating information from multiple sensory modalities. This input is then used to form internal models of action that can be accessed when both performing skilled movements, as well as understanding those actions performed by others. Learning skilled gestures is particularly reliant on integration of visual and proprioceptive input. We used a modified serial reaction time task (SRTT) to decompose proprioceptive and visual components and examine whether patterns of implicit motor skill learning differ in ASD participants as compared with healthy controls. While both groups learned the implicit motor sequence during training, healthy controls showed robust generalization whereas ASD participants demonstrated little generalization when visual input was constant. In contrast, no group differences in generalization were observed when proprioceptive input was constant, with both groups showing limited degrees of generalization. The findings suggest, when learning a motor sequence, individuals with ASD tend to rely less on visual feedback than do healthy controls. Visuomotor representations are considered to underlie imitative learning and action understanding and are thereby crucial to social skill and cognitive development. Thus, anomalous patterns of implicit motor learning, with a tendency to discount visual feedback, may be an important contributor in core social communication deficits that characterize ASD. Autism Res 2016, 9: 563-569. © 2015 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  11. Motor Learning: An Analysis of 100 Trials of a Ski Slalom Game in Children with and without Developmental Coordination Disorder.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smits-Engelsman, Bouwien C M; Jelsma, Lemke Dorothee; Ferguson, Gillian D; Geuze, Reint H

    2015-01-01

    Although Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is often characterized as a skill acquisition deficit disorder, few studies have addressed the process of motor learning. This study examined learning of a novel motor task; the Wii Fit ski slalom game. The main objectives were to determine: 1) whether learning occurs over 100 trial runs of the game, 2) if the learning curve is different between children with and without DCD, 3) if learning is different in an easier or harder version of the task, 4) if learning transfers to other balance tasks. 17 children with DCD (6-10 years) and a matched control group of 17 typically developing (TD) children engaged in 20 minutes of gaming, twice a week for five weeks. Each training session comprised of alternating trial runs, with five runs at an easy level and five runs at a difficult level. Wii scores, which combine speed and accuracy per run, were recorded. Standardized balance tasks were used to measure transfer. Significant differences in initial performance were found between groups on the Wii score and balance tasks. Both groups improved their Wii score over the five weeks. Improvement in the easy and in the hard task did not differ between groups. Retention in the time between training sessions was not different between TD and DCD groups either. The DCD group improved significantly on all balance tasks. The findings in this study give a fairly coherent picture of the learning process over a medium time scale (5 weeks) in children novice to active computer games; they learn, retain and there is evidence of transfer to other balance tasks. The rate of motor learning is similar for those with and without DCD. Our results raise a number of questions about motor learning that need to be addressed in future research.

  12. Functional aging impairs the role of feedback in motor learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Yu; Cao, Chunmei; Yan, Jin H

    2013-10-01

    Optimal motor skill acquisition frequently requires augmented feedback or knowledge of results (KR). However, the effect of functional declines on the benefits of KR remains to be determined. The objective of this research was to examine how cognitive and motor deficits of older adults influence the use of KR for motor skill learning. A total of 57 older adults (mean 73.1 years; SD 4.2) received both cognitive and eye-hand coordination assessments, whereas 55 young controls (mean 25.8 years; SD 3.8) took only the eye-hand coordination test. All young and older participants learned a time-constrained arm movement through KR in three pre-KR and post-KR intervals. In the subsequent no-KR skill retests, absolute and variable time errors were not significantly reduced for the older learners who had KR during skill practice, especially for those with cognitive and motor dysfunctions. The finding suggests that KR results in no measureable improvement for older adults with cognitive and motor functional deficiencies. More importantly, for the older adults, longer post-KR intervals showed greater detrimental effects on feedback-based motor learning than shorter pauses after KR delivery. The findings support the hypothesis about the effects of cognitive and motor deficits on KR in motor skill learning of older adults. The dynamics of cognitive and motor aging, external feedback and internal control mechanisms collectively explain the deterioration in the sensory-motor learning of older adults. The theoretical implications and practical relevance of functional aging for motor skill learning are discussed. © 2013 Japan Geriatrics Society.

  13. Sensorimotor Learning during a Marksmanship Task in Immersive Virtual Reality

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hrishikesh M. Rao

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Sensorimotor learning refers to improvements that occur through practice in the performance of sensory-guided motor behaviors. Leveraging novel technical capabilities of an immersive virtual environment, we probed the component kinematic processes that mediate sensorimotor learning. Twenty naïve subjects performed a simulated marksmanship task modeled after Olympic Trap Shooting standards. We measured movement kinematics and shooting performance as participants practiced 350 trials while receiving trial-by-trial feedback about shooting success. Spatiotemporal analysis of motion tracking elucidated the ballistic and refinement phases of hand movements. We found systematic changes in movement kinematics that accompanied improvements in shot accuracy during training, though reaction and response times did not change over blocks. In particular, we observed longer, slower, and more precise ballistic movements that replaced effort spent on corrections and refinement. Collectively, these results leverage developments in immersive virtual reality technology to quantify and compare the kinematics of movement during early learning of full-body sensorimotor orienting.

  14. Real-time changes in corticospinal excitability related to motor imagery of a force control task

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Tatemoto, Tsuyoshi; Tsuchiya, Junko; Numata, Atsuki

    2017-01-01

    Objective To investigate real-time excitability changes in corticospinal pathways related to motor imagery in a changing force control task, using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Methods Ten healthy volunteers learnt to control the contractile force of isometric right wrist dorsiflexion...... in order to track an on-screen sine wave form. Participants performed the trained task 40 times with actual muscle contraction in order to construct the motor image. They were then instructed to execute the task without actual muscle contraction, but by imagining contraction of the right wrist...... in dorsiflexion. Motor evoked potentials (MEPs), induced by TMS in the right extensor carpi radialis muscle (ECR) and flexor carpi radialis muscle (FCR), were measured during motor imagery. MEPs were induced at five time points: prior to imagery, during the gradual generation of the imaged wrist dorsiflexion...

  15. The effect of caffeine on cognitive task performance and motor fatigue

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Duinen, Hiske; Lorist, Monicque M.; Zijdewind, Inge

    Rationale: In everyday life, people are usually capable of performing two tasks simultaneously. However, in a previous study we showed that during a fatiguing motor task, cognitive performance declined progressively. There is extensive literature on the ( positive) effects of caffeine on cognitive

  16. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to the supplementary motor area (SMA) influences performance on motor tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hupfeld, K E; Ketcham, C J; Schneider, H D

    2017-03-01

    The supplementary motor area (SMA) is believed to be highly involved in the planning and execution of both simple and complex motor tasks. This study aimed to examine the role of the SMA in planning the movements required to complete reaction time, balance, and pegboard tasks using anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), which passes a weak electrical current between two electrodes, in order to modulate neuronal activity. Twenty healthy adults were counterbalanced to receive either tDCS (experimental condition) or no tDCS (control condition) for 3 days. During administration of tDCS, participants performed a balance task significantly faster than controls. After tDCS, subjects significantly improved their simple and choice reaction time. These results demonstrate that the SMA is highly involved in planning and executing fine and gross motor skill tasks and that tDCS is an effective modality for increasing SMA-related performance on these tasks. The findings may be generalizable and therefore indicate implications for future interventions using tDCS as a therapeutic tool.

  17. Does Narrative Feedback Enhance Children's Motor Learning in a Virtual Environment?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Levac, Danielle E; Lu, Amy S

    2018-04-30

    Augmented feedback has motivational and informational functions in motor learning, and is a key feature of practice in a virtual environment (VE). This study evaluated the impact of narrative (story-based) feedback as compared to standard feedback during practice of a novel task in a VE on typically developing children's motor learning, motivation and engagement. Thirty-eight children practiced navigating through a virtual path, receiving narrative or non-narrative feedback following each trial. All participants improved their performance on retention but not transfer, with no significant differences between groups. Self-reported engagement was associated with acquisition, retention and transfer for both groups. A narrative approach to feedback delivery did not offer an additive benefit; additional affective advantages of augmented feedback for motor learning in VEs should be explored.

  18. Tissue Plasminogen Activator Induction in Purkinje Neurons After Cerebellar Motor Learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seeds, Nicholas W.; Williams, Brian L.; Bickford, Paula C.

    1995-12-01

    The cerebellar cortex is implicated in the learning of complex motor skills. This learning may require synaptic remodeling of Purkinje cell inputs. An extracellular serine protease, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), is involved in remodeling various nonneural tissues and is associated with developing and regenerating neurons. In situ hybridization showed that expression of tPA messenger RNA was increased in the Purkinje neurons of rats within an hour of their being trained for a complex motor task. Antibody to tPA also showed the induction of tPA protein associated with cerebellar Purkinje cells. Thus, the induction of tPA during motor learning may play a role in activity-dependent synaptic plasticity.

  19. Rehearsal strategies during motor-sequence learning in old age : Execution vs motor imagery

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Stoter, Arjan J. R.; Scherder, Erik J. A.; Kamsma, Yvo P. T.; Mulder, Theo

    Motor imagery and action-based rehearsal were compared during motor sequence-learning by young adults (M = 25 yr., SD = 3) and aged adults (M = 63 yr., SD = 7). General accuracy of aged adults was lower than that of young adults (F-1,F-28 = 7.37, p = .01) even though working-memory capacity was

  20. Studies in Motor Behavior: 75 Years of Research in Motor Development, Learning, and Control

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ulrich, Beverly D.; Reeve, T. Gilmour

    2005-01-01

    Research focused on human motor development, learning, and control has been a prominent feature in the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport (RQES) since it was first published in 1930. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the papers in the RQES that demonstrate the journal's contributions to the study of motor development,…

  1. Robust visual tracking via multi-task sparse learning

    KAUST Repository

    Zhang, Tianzhu; Ghanem, Bernard; Liu, Si; Ahuja, Narendra

    2012-01-01

    In this paper, we formulate object tracking in a particle filter framework as a multi-task sparse learning problem, which we denote as Multi-Task Tracking (MTT). Since we model particles as linear combinations of dictionary templates

  2. Task-specific compensation and recovery following focal motor cortex lesion in stressed rats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kirkland, Scott W; Smith, Lori K; Metz, Gerlinde A

    2012-03-01

    One reason for the difficulty to develop effective therapies for stroke is that intrinsic factors, such as stress, may critically influence pathological mechanisms and recovery. In cognitive tasks, stress can both exaggerate and alleviate functional loss after focal ischemia in rodents. Using a comprehensive motor assessment in rats, this study examined if chronic stress and corticosterone treatment affect skill recovery and compensation in a task-specific manner. Groups of rats received daily restraint stress or oral corticosterone supplementation for two weeks prior to a focal motor cortex lesion. After lesion, stress and corticosterone treatments continued for three weeks. Motor performance was assessed in two skilled reaching tasks, skilled walking, forelimb inhibition, forelimb asymmetry and open field behavior. The results revealed that persistent stress and elevated corticosterone levels mainly limit motor recovery. Treated animals dropped larger amounts of food in successful reaches and showed exaggerated loss of forelimb inhibition early after lesion. Stress also caused a moderate, but non-significant increase in infarct size. By contrast, stress and corticosterone treatments promoted reaching success and other quantitative measures in the tray reaching task. Comparative analysis revealed that improvements are due to task-specific development of compensatory strategies. These findings suggest that stress and stress hormones may partially facilitate task-specific and adaptive compensatory movement strategies. The observations support the notion that hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activation may be a key determinant of recovery and motor system plasticity after ischemic stroke.

  3. Primary motor and premotor cortex in implicit sequence learning--evidence for competition between implicit and explicit human motor memory systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kantak, Shailesh S; Mummidisetty, Chaithanya K; Stinear, James W

    2012-09-01

    Implicit and explicit memory systems for motor skills compete with each other during and after motor practice. Primary motor cortex (M1) is known to be engaged during implicit motor learning, while dorsal premotor cortex (PMd) is critical for explicit learning. To elucidate the neural substrates underlying the interaction between implicit and explicit memory systems, adults underwent a randomized crossover experiment of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (AtDCS) applied over M1, PMd or sham stimulation during implicit motor sequence (serial reaction time task, SRTT) practice. We hypothesized that M1-AtDCS during practice will enhance online performance and offline learning of the implicit motor sequence. In contrast, we also hypothesized that PMd-AtDCS will attenuate performance and retention of the implicit motor sequence. Implicit sequence performance was assessed at baseline, at the end of acquisition (EoA), and 24 h after practice (retention test, RET). M1-AtDCS during practice significantly improved practice performance and supported offline stabilization compared with Sham tDCS. Performance change from EoA to RET revealed that PMd-AtDCS during practice attenuated offline stabilization compared with M1-AtDCS and sham stimulation. The results support the role of M1 in implementing online performance gains and offline stabilization for implicit motor sequence learning. In contrast, enhancing the activity within explicit motor memory network nodes such as the PMd during practice may be detrimental to offline stabilization of the learned implicit motor sequence. These results support the notion of competition between implicit and explicit motor memory systems and identify underlying neural substrates that are engaged in this competition. © 2012 The Authors. European Journal of Neuroscience © 2012 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  4. Training Attentional Control Improves Cognitive and Motor Task Performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ducrocq, Emmanuel; Wilson, Mark; Vine, Sam; Derakshan, Nazanin

    2016-10-01

    Attentional control is a necessary function for the regulation of goal-directed behavior. In three experiments we investigated whether training inhibitory control using a visual search task could improve task-specific measures of attentional control and performance. In Experiment 1 results revealed that training elicited a near-transfer effect, improving performance on a cognitive (antisaccade) task assessing inhibitory control. In Experiment 2 an initial far-transfer effect of training was observed on an index of attentional control validated for tennis. The principal aim of Experiment 3 was to expand on these findings by assessing objective gaze measures of inhibitory control during the performance of a tennis task. Training improved inhibitory control and performance when pressure was elevated, confirming the mechanisms by which cognitive anxiety impacts performance. These results suggest that attentional control training can improve inhibition and reduce taskspecific distractibility with promise of transfer to more efficient sporting performance in competitive contexts.

  5. Motor skill learning and offline-changes in TGA patients with acute hippocampal CA1 lesions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Döhring, Juliane; Stoldt, Anne; Witt, Karsten; Schönfeld, Robby; Deuschl, Günther; Born, Jan; Bartsch, Thorsten

    2017-04-01

    Learning and the formation of memory are reflected in various memory systems in the human brain such as the hippocampus based declarative memory system and the striatum-cortex based system involved in motor sequence learning. It is a matter of debate how both memory systems interact in humans during learning and consolidation and how this interaction is influenced by sleep. We studied the effect of an acute dysfunction of hippocampal CA1 neurons on the acquisition (on-line condition) and off-line changes of a motor skill in patients with a transient global amnesia (TGA). Sixteen patients (68 ± 4.4 yrs) were studied in the acute phase and during follow-up using a declarative and procedural test, and were compared to controls. Acute TGA patients displayed profound deficits in all declarative memory functions. During the acute amnestic phase, patients were able to acquire the motor skill task reflected by increasing finger tapping speed across the on-line condition, albeit to a lesser degree than during follow-up or compared to controls. Retrieval two days later indicated a greater off-line gain in motor speed in patients than controls. Moreover, this gain in motor skill performance was negatively correlated to the declarative learning deficit. Our results suggest a differential interaction between procedural and declarative memory systems during acquisition and consolidation of motor sequences in older humans. During acquisition, hippocampal dysfunction attenuates fast learning and thus unmasks the slow and rigid learning curve of striatum-based procedural learning. The stronger gains in the post-consolidation condition in motor skill in CA1 lesioned patients indicate a facilitated consolidation process probably occurring during sleep, and suggest a competitive interaction between the memory systems. These findings might be a reflection of network reorganization and plasticity in older humans and in the presence of CA1 hippocampal pathology. Copyright © 2016

  6. Self-Efficacy, Task Complexity and Task Performance: Exploring Interactions in Two Versions of Vocabulary Learning Tasks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Xiaoli; Lowyck, Joost; Sercu, Lies; Elen, Jan

    2012-01-01

    The present study aimed for better understanding of the interactions between task complexity and students' self-efficacy beliefs and students' use of learning strategies, and finally their interacting effects on task performance. This investigation was carried out in the context of Chinese students learning English as a foreign language in a…

  7. Learning trajectories for speech motor performance in children with specific language impairment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richtsmeier, Peter T; Goffman, Lisa

    2015-01-01

    Children with specific language impairment (SLI) often perform below expected levels, including on tests of motor skill and in learning tasks, particularly procedural learning. In this experiment we examined the possibility that children with SLI might also have a motor learning deficit. Twelve children with SLI and thirteen children with typical development (TD) produced complex nonwords in an imitation task. Productions were collected across three blocks, with the first and second blocks on the same day and the third block one week later. Children's lip movements while producing the nonwords were recorded using an Optotrak camera system. Movements were then analyzed for production duration and stability. Movement analyses indicated that both groups of children produced shorter productions in later blocks (corroborated by an acoustic analysis), and the rate of change was comparable for the TD and SLI groups. A nonsignificant trend for more stable productions was also observed in both groups. SLI is regularly accompanied by a motor deficit, and this study does not dispute that. However, children with SLI learned to make more efficient productions at a rate similar to their peers with TD, revealing some modification of the motor deficit associated with SLI. The reader will learn about deficits commonly associated with specific language impairment (SLI) that often occur alongside the hallmark language deficit. The authors present an experiment showing that children with SLI improved speech motor performance at a similar rate compared to typically developing children. The implication is that speech motor learning is not impaired in children with SLI. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. Biomechanical procedure to assess sleep restriction on motor control and learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Umemura, G S; Noriega, C L; Soares, D F; Forner-Cordero, A

    2017-07-01

    The analysis of sleep quality during long periods and its impact on motor control and learning performance are crucial aspects for human health. The aim of this study is to analyze effects of chronic sleep restriction on motor performance. It is intended to establish motor control indicators in sleep quality analysis. A wearable actigraphy that records accelerometry, ambient light, and body temperature was used to monitor the sleep habits of 12 healthy subjects for two weeks before performing motor control and learning tests. The day of the motor test, the subjects filled two questionnaires about the quality of sleep (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index - PSQI) and sleepiness (Epworth Sleepiness Scale - ESS). Afterwards they performed a coincident timing task that consisted of hitting a virtual target falling on the screen with the hand. An elbow flexion in the horizontal plane had to be performed on the correct time to reach the real target on a table at the same time as the virtual target on the screen. The subjects performed three sets of acquisition and transfer blocks of the coincident timing task. The subjects were clustered in two groups based on the PSQI and ESS scores. Actigraphy and motor control parameters (L5, correct responses, time variance) were compared between groups and experimental sets. The group with better sleep parameters did show a constant performance across blocks of task acquisition while the bad sleeper group improved from the first to the second acquisition block. Despite of this improvement, their performance is not better than the one of the good sleepers group. Although the number of subjects is low and it should be increased, these results indicate that the subjects with better sleep converged rapidly to a high level of performance, while the worse sleepers needed more trials to learn the task and their performance was not superior to the other group.

  9. Focus of Attention in Children's Motor Learning: Examining the Role of Age and Working Memory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brocken, J E A; Kal, E C; van der Kamp, J

    2016-01-01

    The authors investigated the relative effectiveness of different attentional focus instructions on motor learning in primary school children. In addition, we explored whether the effect of attentional focus on motor learning was influenced by children's age and verbal working memory capacity. Novice 8-9-year old children (n = 30) and 11-12-year-old children (n = 30) practiced a golf putting task. For each age group, half the participants received instructions to focus (internally) on the swing of their arm, while the other half was instructed to focus (externally) on the swing of the club. Children's verbal working memory capacity was assessed with the Automated Working Memory Assessment. Consistent with many reports on adult's motor learning, children in the external groups demonstrated greater improvements in putting accuracy than children who practiced with an internal focus. This effect was similar across age groups. Verbal working memory capacity was not found to be predictive of motor learning, neither for children in the internal focus groups nor for children in the external focus groups. In conclusion, primary school children's motor learning is enhanced by external focus instructions compared to internal focus instructions. The purported modulatory roles of children's working memory, attentional capacity, or focus preferences require further investigation.

  10. Gender Expression and Homophobia: A Motor Development and Learning Perspective

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garcia, Clersida

    2011-01-01

    Homosexuality and homophobia are rarely discussed in schools, yet they are relevant in motor-development and motor-learning settings because people hold gender-stereotyped beliefs about movement and about lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered individuals. This article addresses homophobia and related stereotypes in physical education settings…

  11. ROBOT LEARNING OF OBJECT MANIPULATION TASK ACTIONS FROM HUMAN DEMONSTRATIONS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maria Kyrarini

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Robot learning from demonstration is a method which enables robots to learn in a similar way as humans. In this paper, a framework that enables robots to learn from multiple human demonstrations via kinesthetic teaching is presented. The subject of learning is a high-level sequence of actions, as well as the low-level trajectories necessary to be followed by the robot to perform the object manipulation task. The multiple human demonstrations are recorded and only the most similar demonstrations are selected for robot learning. The high-level learning module identifies the sequence of actions of the demonstrated task. Using Dynamic Time Warping (DTW and Gaussian Mixture Model (GMM, the model of demonstrated trajectories is learned. The learned trajectory is generated by Gaussian mixture regression (GMR from the learned Gaussian mixture model.  In online working phase, the sequence of actions is identified and experimental results show that the robot performs the learned task successfully.

  12. Assessment of Teaching and Learning Styles in Practical Motor ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    ... of Teaching and Learning Styles in Practical Motor Vehicle Mechanics Work At ... Board should organize workshop for its teachers in technical colleges on the ... students to participate actively in any activities when teaching practical skills.

  13. Temporary Nerve Block at Selected Digits Revealed Hand Motor Deficits in Grasping Tasks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aude Carteron

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available Peripheral sensory feedback plays a crucial role in ensuring correct motor execution throughout hand grasp control. Previous studies utilized local anesthesia to deprive somatosensory feedback in the digits or hand, observations included sensorimotor deficits at both corticospinal and peripheral levels. However, the questions of how the disturbed and intact sensory input integrate and interact with each other to assist the motor program execution, and whether the motor coordination based on motor output variability between affected and non-affected elements (e.g., digits becomes interfered by the local sensory deficiency, have not been answered. The current study aims to investigate the effect of peripheral deafferentation through digital nerve blocks at selective digits on motor performance and motor coordination in grasp control. Our results suggested that the absence of somatosensory information induced motor deficits in hand grasp control, as evidenced by reduced maximal force production ability in both local and non-local digits, impairment of force and moment control during object lift and hold, and attenuated motor synergies in stabilizing task performance variables, namely the tangential force and moment of force. These findings implied that individual sensory input is shared across all the digits and the disturbed signal from local sensory channel(s has a more comprehensive impact on the process of the motor output execution in the sensorimotor integration process. Additionally, a feedback control mechanism with a sensation-based component resides in the formation process for the motor covariation structure.

  14. Functional near infrared spectroscopy of the sensory and motor brain regions with simultaneous kinematic and EMG monitoring during motor tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sukal-Moulton, Theresa; de Campos, Ana Carolina; Stanley, Christopher J; Damiano, Diane L

    2014-12-05

    There are several advantages that functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) presents in the study of the neural control of human movement. It is relatively flexible with respect to participant positioning and allows for some head movements during tasks. Additionally, it is inexpensive, light weight, and portable, with very few contraindications to its use. This presents a unique opportunity to study functional brain activity during motor tasks in individuals who are typically developing, as well as those with movement disorders, such as cerebral palsy. An additional consideration when studying movement disorders, however, is the quality of actual movements performed and the potential for additional, unintended movements. Therefore, concurrent monitoring of both blood flow changes in the brain and actual movements of the body during testing is required for appropriate interpretation of fNIRS results. Here, we show a protocol for the combination of fNIRS with muscle and kinematic monitoring during motor tasks. We explore gait, a unilateral multi-joint movement (cycling), and two unilateral single-joint movements (isolated ankle dorsiflexion, and isolated hand squeezing). The techniques presented can be useful in studying both typical and atypical motor control, and can be modified to investigate a broad range of tasks and scientific questions.

  15. Non-physical practice improves task performance in an unstable, perturbed environment: Motor imagery and observational balance training

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wolfgang eTaube

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available For consciously performed motor tasks executed in a defined and constant way, both motor imagery (MI and action observation (AO have been shown to promote motor learning. It is not known whether these forms of non-physical training also improve motor actions when these actions have to be variably applied in an unstable and unpredictable environment. The present study therefore investigated the influence of MI balance training (MI_BT and a balance training combining AO and MI (AO+MI_BT on postural control of undisturbed and disturbed upright stance on unstable ground. As spinal reflex excitability after classical (i.e., physical balance training (BT is generally decreased, we tested whether non-physical BT also has an impact on spinal reflex circuits. Thirty-six participants were randomly allocated into an MI_BT group, in which participants imagined postural exercises, an AO+MI_BT group, in which participants observed videos of other people performing balance exercises and imagined being the person in the video, and a non-active control group (CON. Before and after 4 weeks of non-physical training, balance performance was assessed on a free-moving platform during stance without perturbation and during perturbed stance. Soleus H-reflexes were recorded during stable and unstable stance. The post measurement revealed significantly decreased postural sway during undisturbed and disturbed stance after both MI_BT and AO+MI_BT. Spinal reflex excitability remained unchanged. This is the first study showing that non-physical training (MI_BT and AO+MI_BT not only promotes motor learning of ‘rigid’ postural tasks but also improves performance of highly variable and unpredictable balance actions. These findings may be relevant to improve postural control and thus reduce the risk of falls in temporarily immobilized patients.

  16. Classification of EEG signals to identify variations in attention during motor task execution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aliakbaryhosseinabadi, Susan; Kamavuako, Ernest Nlandu; Jiang, Ning; Farina, Dario; Mrachacz-Kersting, Natalie

    2017-06-01

    Brain-computer interface (BCI) systems in neuro-rehabilitation use brain signals to control external devices. User status such as attention affects BCI performance; thus detecting the user's attention drift due to internal or external factors is essential for high detection accuracy. An auditory oddball task was applied to divert the users' attention during a simple ankle dorsiflexion movement. Electroencephalogram signals were recorded from eighteen channels. Temporal and time-frequency features were projected to a lower dimension space and used to analyze the effect of two attention levels on motor tasks in each participant. Then, a global feature distribution was constructed with the projected time-frequency features of all participants from all channels and applied for attention classification during motor movement execution. Time-frequency features led to significantly better classification results with respect to the temporal features, particularly for electrodes located over the motor cortex. Motor cortex channels had a higher accuracy in comparison to other channels in the global discrimination of attention level. Previous methods have used the attention to a task to drive external devices, such as the P300 speller. However, here we focus for the first time on the effect of attention drift while performing a motor task. It is possible to explore user's attention variation when performing motor tasks in synchronous BCI systems with time-frequency features. This is the first step towards an adaptive real-time BCI with an integrated function to reveal attention shifts from the motor task. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  17. Concurrent Learning of Control in Multi agent Sequential Decision Tasks

    Science.gov (United States)

    2018-04-17

    Concurrent Learning of Control in Multi-agent Sequential Decision Tasks The overall objective of this project was to develop multi-agent reinforcement... learning (MARL) approaches for intelligent agents to autonomously learn distributed control policies in decentral- ized partially observable... learning of policies in Dec-POMDPs, established performance bounds, evaluated these algorithms both theoretically and empirically, The views

  18. Synergetic motor control paradigm for optimizing energy efficiency of multijoint reaching via tacit learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hayashibe, Mitsuhiro; Shimoda, Shingo

    2014-01-01

    A human motor system can improve its behavior toward optimal movement. The skeletal system has more degrees of freedom than the task dimensions, which incurs an ill-posed problem. The multijoint system involves complex interaction torques between joints. To produce optimal motion in terms of energy consumption, the so-called cost function based optimization has been commonly used in previous works.Even if it is a fact that an optimal motor pattern is employed phenomenologically, there is no evidence that shows the existence of a physiological process that is similar to such a mathematical optimization in our central nervous system.In this study, we aim to find a more primitive computational mechanism with a modular configuration to realize adaptability and optimality without prior knowledge of system dynamics.We propose a novel motor control paradigm based on tacit learning with task space feedback. The motor command accumulation during repetitive environmental interactions, play a major role in the learning process. It is applied to a vertical cyclic reaching which involves complex interaction torques.We evaluated whether the proposed paradigm can learn how to optimize solutions with a 3-joint, planar biomechanical model. The results demonstrate that the proposed method was valid for acquiring motor synergy and resulted in energy efficient solutions for different load conditions. The case in feedback control is largely affected by the interaction torques. In contrast, the trajectory is corrected over time with tacit learning toward optimal solutions.Energy efficient solutions were obtained by the emergence of motor synergy. During learning, the contribution from feedforward controller is augmented and the one from the feedback controller is significantly minimized down to 12% for no load at hand, 16% for a 0.5 kg load condition.The proposed paradigm could provide an optimization process in redundant system with dynamic-model-free and cost-function-free approach

  19. Synergetic motor control paradigm for optimizing energy efficiency of multijoint reaching via tacit learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hayashibe, Mitsuhiro; Shimoda, Shingo

    2014-01-01

    A human motor system can improve its behavior toward optimal movement. The skeletal system has more degrees of freedom than the task dimensions, which incurs an ill-posed problem. The multijoint system involves complex interaction torques between joints. To produce optimal motion in terms of energy consumption, the so-called cost function based optimization has been commonly used in previous works.Even if it is a fact that an optimal motor pattern is employed phenomenologically, there is no evidence that shows the existence of a physiological process that is similar to such a mathematical optimization in our central nervous system.In this study, we aim to find a more primitive computational mechanism with a modular configuration to realize adaptability and optimality without prior knowledge of system dynamics.We propose a novel motor control paradigm based on tacit learning with task space feedback. The motor command accumulation during repetitive environmental interactions, play a major role in the learning process. It is applied to a vertical cyclic reaching which involves complex interaction torques.We evaluated whether the proposed paradigm can learn how to optimize solutions with a 3-joint, planar biomechanical model. The results demonstrate that the proposed method was valid for acquiring motor synergy and resulted in energy efficient solutions for different load conditions. The case in feedback control is largely affected by the interaction torques. In contrast, the trajectory is corrected over time with tacit learning toward optimal solutions.Energy efficient solutions were obtained by the emergence of motor synergy. During learning, the contribution from feedforward controller is augmented and the one from the feedback controller is significantly minimized down to 12% for no load at hand, 16% for a 0.5 kg load condition.The proposed paradigm could provide an optimization process in redundant system with dynamic-model-free and cost-function-free approach.

  20. The role of motor memory in action selection and procedural learning: insights from children with typical and atypical development

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jessica Tallet

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Motor memory is the process by which humans can adopt both persistent and flexible motor behaviours. Persistence and flexibility can be assessed through the examination of the cooperation/competition between new and old motor routines in the motor memory repertoire. Two paradigms seem to be particularly relevant to examine this competition/cooperation. First, a manual search task for hidden objects, namely the C-not-B task, which allows examining how a motor routine may influence the selection of action in toddlers. The second paradigm is procedural learning, and more precisely the consolidation stage, which allows assessing how a previously learnt motor routine becomes resistant to subsequent programming or learning of a new – competitive – motor routine. The present article defends the idea that results of both paradigms give precious information to understand the evolution of motor routines in healthy children. Moreover, these findings echo some clinical observations in developmental neuropsychology, particularly in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder. Such studies suggest that the level of equilibrium between persistence and flexibility of motor routines is an index of the maturity of the motor system.

  1. The role of motor memory in action selection and procedural learning: insights from children with typical and atypical development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tallet, Jessica; Albaret, Jean-Michel; Rivière, James

    2015-01-01

    Motor memory is the process by which humans can adopt both persistent and flexible motor behaviours. Persistence and flexibility can be assessed through the examination of the cooperation/competition between new and old motor routines in the motor memory repertoire. Two paradigms seem to be particularly relevant to examine this competition/cooperation. First, a manual search task for hidden objects, namely the C-not-B task, which allows examining how a motor routine may influence the selection of action in toddlers. The second paradigm is procedural learning, and more precisely the consolidation stage, which allows assessing how a previously learnt motor routine becomes resistant to subsequent programming or learning of a new - competitive - motor routine. The present article defends the idea that results of both paradigms give precious information to understand the evolution of motor routines in healthy children. Moreover, these findings echo some clinical observations in developmental neuropsychology, particularly in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder. Such studies suggest that the level of equilibrium between persistence and flexibility of motor routines is an index of the maturity of the motor system.

  2. Age-related changes in consolidation of perceptual and muscle-based learning of motor skills

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rebecca M. C. Spencer

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available Improvements in motor sequence learning come about via goal-based learning of the sequence of visual stimuli and muscle-based learning of the sequence of movement responses. In young adults, consolidation of goal-based learning is observed after intervals of sleep but not following wake, whereas consolidation of muscle-based learning is greater following intervals with wake compared to sleep. While the benefit of sleep on motor sequence learning has been shown to decline with age, how sleep contributes to consolidation of goal-based versus muscle-based learning in older adults has not been disentangled. We trained young (n=62 and older (n=50 adults on a motor sequence learning task and re-tested learning following 12 hr intervals containing overnight sleep or daytime wake. To probe consolidation of goal-based learning of the sequence, half of the participants were re-tested in a configuration in which the stimulus sequence was the same but, due to a shift in stimulus-response mapping, the movement response sequence differed. To probe consolidation of muscle-based learning, the remaining participants were tested in a configuration in which the stimulus sequence was novel, but now the sequence of movements used for responding was unchanged. In young adults, there was a significant condition (goal-based v. muscle-based learning by interval (sleep v. wake interaction, F(1,58=6.58, p=.013: Goal-based learning tended to be greater following sleep compared to wake, t(29=1.47, p=.072. Conversely, muscle-based learning was greater following wake than sleep, t(29=2.11, p=.021. Unlike young adults, this interaction was not significant in older adults, F(1,46=.04, p=.84, nor was there a main effect of interval, F(1,46=1.14, p=.29. Thus, older adults do not preferentially consolidate sequence learning over wake or sleep.

  3. A Deep Learning Approach for Fault Diagnosis of Induction Motors in Manufacturing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shao, Si-Yu; Sun, Wen-Jun; Yan, Ru-Qiang; Wang, Peng; Gao, Robert X.

    2017-11-01

    Extracting features from original signals is a key procedure for traditional fault diagnosis of induction motors, as it directly influences the performance of fault recognition. However, high quality features need expert knowledge and human intervention. In this paper, a deep learning approach based on deep belief networks (DBN) is developed to learn features from frequency distribution of vibration signals with the purpose of characterizing working status of induction motors. It combines feature extraction procedure with classification task together to achieve automated and intelligent fault diagnosis. The DBN model is built by stacking multiple-units of restricted Boltzmann machine (RBM), and is trained using layer-by-layer pre-training algorithm. Compared with traditional diagnostic approaches where feature extraction is needed, the presented approach has the ability of learning hierarchical representations, which are suitable for fault classification, directly from frequency distribution of the measurement data. The structure of the DBN model is investigated as the scale and depth of the DBN architecture directly affect its classification performance. Experimental study conducted on a machine fault simulator verifies the effectiveness of the deep learning approach for fault diagnosis of induction motors. This research proposes an intelligent diagnosis method for induction motor which utilizes deep learning model to automatically learn features from sensor data and realize working status recognition.

  4. Procedural learning in Tourette syndrome, ADHD, and comorbid Tourette-ADHD: Evidence from a probabilistic sequence learning task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takács, Ádám; Shilon, Yuval; Janacsek, Karolina; Kóbor, Andrea; Tremblay, Antoine; Németh, Dezső; Ullman, Michael T

    2017-10-01

    Procedural memory, which is rooted in the basal ganglia, plays an important role in the implicit learning of motor and cognitive skills. Few studies have examined procedural learning in either Tourette syndrome (TS) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), despite basal ganglia abnormalities in both of these neurodevelopmental disorders. We aimed to assess procedural learning in children with TS (n=13), ADHD (n=22), and comorbid TS-ADHD (n=20), as well as in typically developing children (n=21). Procedural learning was measured with a well-studied implicit probabilistic sequence learning task, the alternating serial reaction time task. All four groups showed evidence of sequence learning, and moreover did not differ from each other in sequence learning. This result, from the first study to examine procedural memory across TS, ADHD and comorbid TS-ADHD, is consistent with previous findings of intact procedural learning of sequences in both TS and ADHD. In contrast, some studies have found impaired procedural learning of non-sequential probabilistic categories in TS. This suggests that sequence learning may be spared in TS and ADHD, while at least some other forms of learning in procedural memory are impaired, at least in TS. Our findings indicate that disorders associated with basal ganglia abnormalities do not necessarily show procedural learning deficits, and provide a possible path for more effective diagnostic tools, and educational and training programs. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  5. Effect of cognitive and motor tasks on postural stability in Parkinson's disease: a posturographic study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marchese, Roberta; Bove, Marco; Abbruzzese, Giovanni

    2003-06-01

    To analyse the effect of concomitant cognitive or motor task performance on balance control in Parkinson's disease (PD), we performed a posturographic study in 24 PD patients and in 20 sex- and age-matched control subjects. Postural sway was measured with eyes open (EO) and eyes closed (EC) during quiet stance and during performance of calculation or motor sequence of thumb opposition to the other fingers. No difference of centre of foot pressure (COP) parameters was observed during quiet standing (either EO or EC) between patients and controls, but visual deprivation induced in both groups a worsening of postural stability. COP area was significantly increased in PD patients during dual task performance, whereas no difference of COP path and x-y axes was observed. The effects induced by the performance of cognitive or motor task were significantly more evident in PD patients with clinical evidence of postural instability (presence of prior falls in the history). This study demonstrates that dual task interference on postural control can be observed in PD patients during performance of cognitive as well as motor tasks. The balance deterioration during dual task performance was significantly enhanced in patients with history of prior falls. These findings have some implications for the strategies to be used in reducing the risk of fall in PD. Copyright 2003 Movement Disorder Society

  6. Task-specific gross motor skills training for ambulant school-aged children with cerebral palsy: a systematic review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toovey, Rachel; Bernie, Charmaine; Harvey, Adrienne R; McGinley, Jennifer L; Spittle, Alicia J

    2017-01-01

    The primary objective is to systematically evaluate the evidence for the effectiveness of task-specific training (TST) of gross motor skills for improving activity and/or participation outcomes in ambulant school-aged children with cerebral palsy (CP). The secondary objective is to identify motor learning strategies reported within TST and assess relationship to outcome. Systematic review. Relevant databases were searched for studies including: children with CP (mean age >4 years and >60% of the sample ambulant); TST targeting gross motor skills and activity (skill performance, gross motor function and functional skills) and/or participation-related outcomes. Quality of included studies was assessed using standardised tools for risk of bias, study design and quality of evidence across outcomes. Continuous data were summarised for each study using standardised mean difference (SMD) and 95% CIs. Thirteen studies met inclusion criteria: eight randomised controlled trials (RCTs), three comparative studies, one repeated-measures study and one single-subject design study. Risk of bias was moderate across studies. Components of TST varied and were often poorly reported. Within-group effects of TST were positive across all outcomes of interest in 11 studies. In RCTs, between-group effects were conflicting for skill performance and functional skills, positive for participation-related outcomes (one study: Life-HABITS performance SMD=1.19, 95% CI 0.3 to 2.07, pmotor function. The quality of evidence was low-to-moderate overall. Variability and poor reporting of motor learning strategies limited assessment of relationship to outcome. Limited evidence for TST for gross motor skills in ambulant children with CP exists for improving activity and participation-related outcomes and recommendations for use over other interventions are limited by poor study methodology and heterogeneous interventions. PROSPERO ID42016036727.

  7. Motor contingency learning and infants with Spina Bifida.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taylor, Heather B; Barnes, Marcia A; Landry, Susan H; Swank, Paul; Fletcher, Jack M; Huang, Furong

    2013-02-01

    Infants with Spina Bifida (SB) were compared to typically developing infants (TD) using a conjugate reinforcement paradigm at 6 months-of-age (n = 98) to evaluate learning, and retention of a sensory-motor contingency. Analyses evaluated infant arm-waving rates at baseline (wrist not tethered to mobile), during acquisition of the sensory-motor contingency (wrist tethered), and immediately after the acquisition phase and then after a delay (wrist not tethered), controlling for arm reaching ability, gestational age, and socioeconomic status. Although both groups responded to the contingency with increased arm-waving from baseline to acquisition, 15% to 29% fewer infants with SB than TD were found to learn the contingency depending on the criterion used to determine contingency learning. In addition, infants with SB who had learned the contingency had more difficulty retaining the contingency over time when sensory feedback was absent. The findings suggest that infants with SB do not learn motor contingencies as easily or at the same rate as TD infants, and are more likely to decrease motor responses when sensory feedback is absent. Results are discussed with reference to research on contingency learning in infants with and without neurodevelopmental disorders, and with reference to motor learning in school-age children with SB.

  8. 5 Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation over the ipsilesional sensory cortex enhances motor learning after stroke

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sonia M Brodie

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Sensory feedback is critical for motor learning, and thus to neurorehabilitation after stroke. Whether enhancing sensory feedback by applying excitatory repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS over the ipsilesional primary sensory cortex (IL-S1 might enhance motor learning in chronic stroke has yet to be investigated. The present study investigated the effects of 5 Hz rTMS over IL-S1 paired with skilled motor practice on motor learning, hemiparetic cutaneous somatosensation, and motor function. Individuals with unilateral chronic stroke were pseudo-randomly divided into either Active or Sham 5 Hz rTMS groups (n=11/group. Following stimulation, both groups practiced a Serial Tracking Task (STT with the hemiparetic arm; this was repeated for 5 days. Performance on the STT was quantified by response time, peak velocity, and cumulative distance tracked at baseline, during the 5 days of practice, and at a no-rTMS retention test. Cutaneous somatosensation was measured using two-point discrimination. Standardized sensorimotor tests were performed to assess whether the effects might generalize to impact hemiparetic arm function. The active 5Hz rTMS + training group demonstrated significantly greater improvements in STT performance [response time (F1,286.04=13.016, p< 0.0005, peak velocity (F1,285.95=4.111, p=0.044, and cumulative distance (F1,285.92=4.076, p=0.044] and cutaneous somatosensation (F1,21.15=8.793, p=0.007 across all sessions compared to the sham rTMS + training group. Measures of upper extremity motor function were not significantly different for either group. Our preliminary results suggest that, when paired with motor practice, 5Hz rTMS over IL-S1 enhances motor learning related change in individuals with chronic stroke, potentially as a consequence of improved cutaneous somatosensation, however no improvement in general upper extremity function was observed.

  9. Applications of Task-Based Learning in TESOL

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shehadeh, Ali, Ed.; Coombe, Christine, Ed.

    2010-01-01

    Why are many teachers around the world moving toward task-based learning (TBL)? This shift is based on the strong belief that TBL facilitates second language acquisition and makes second language learning and teaching more principled and effective. Based on insights gained from using tasks as research tools, this volume shows how teachers can use…

  10. Neurofeedback fMRI-mediated learning and consolidation of regional brain activation during motor imagery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yoo, Seung-Schik; Lee, Jong-Hwan; O’Leary, Heather; Panych, Lawrence P.; Jolesz, Ferenc A.

    2009-01-01

    We report the long-term effect of real-time functional MRI (rtfMRI) training on voluntary regulation of the level of activation from a hand motor area. During the performance of a motor imagery task of a right hand, blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) signal originating from a primary motor area was presented back to the subject in real-time. Demographically matched individuals also received the same procedure without valid feedback information. Followed by the initial rtfMRI sessions, both groups underwent two-week long, daily-practice of the task. Off-line data analysis revealed that the individuals in the experimental group were able to increase the level of BOLD signal from the regulatory target to a greater degree compared to the control group. Furthermore, the learned level of activation was maintained after the two-week period, with the recruitment of additional neural circuitries such as the hippocampus and the limbo-thalamo-cortical pathway. The activation obtained from the control group, in the absence of proper feedback, was indifferent across the training conditions. The level of BOLD activity from the target regulatory region was positively correlated with a self evaluative score within the experimental group, while the majority of control subjects had difficulty adopting a strategy to attain the desired level of functional regulation. Our results suggest that rtfMRI helped individuals learn how to increase region-specific cortical activity associated with a motor imagery task, and the level of increased activation in motor areas was consolidated after the two-week self-practice period, with the involvement of neural circuitries implicated in motor skill learning. PMID:19526048

  11. Directionality analysis on functional magnetic resonance imaging during motor task using Granger causality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anwar, A R; Muthalib, M; Perrey, S; Galka, A; Granert, O; Wolff, S; Deuschl, G; Raethjen, J; Heute, U; Muthuraman, M

    2012-01-01

    Directionality analysis of signals originating from different parts of brain during motor tasks has gained a lot of interest. Since brain activity can be recorded over time, methods of time series analysis can be applied to medical time series as well. Granger Causality is a method to find a causal relationship between time series. Such causality can be referred to as a directional connection and is not necessarily bidirectional. The aim of this study is to differentiate between different motor tasks on the basis of activation maps and also to understand the nature of connections present between different parts of the brain. In this paper, three different motor tasks (finger tapping, simple finger sequencing, and complex finger sequencing) are analyzed. Time series for each task were extracted from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data, which have a very good spatial resolution and can look into the sub-cortical regions of the brain. Activation maps based on fMRI images show that, in case of complex finger sequencing, most parts of the brain are active, unlike finger tapping during which only limited regions show activity. Directionality analysis on time series extracted from contralateral motor cortex (CMC), supplementary motor area (SMA), and cerebellum (CER) show bidirectional connections between these parts of the brain. In case of simple finger sequencing and complex finger sequencing, the strongest connections originate from SMA and CMC, while connections originating from CER in either direction are the weakest ones in magnitude during all paradigms.

  12. Is Rest Really Rest? Resting State Functional Connectivity during Rest and Motor Task Paradigms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jurkiewicz, Michael T; Crawley, Adrian P; Mikulis, David J

    2018-04-18

    Numerous studies have identified the default mode network (DMN) within the brain of healthy individuals, which has been attributed to the ongoing mental activity of the brain during the wakeful resting-state. While engaged during specific resting-state fMRI paradigms, it remains unclear as to whether traditional block-design simple movement fMRI experiments significantly influence the default mode network or other areas. Using blood-oxygen level dependent (BOLD) fMRI we characterized the pattern of functional connectivity in healthy subjects during a resting-state paradigm and compared this to the same resting-state analysis performed on motor task data residual time courses after regressing out the task paradigm. Using seed-voxel analysis to define the DMN, the executive control network (ECN), and sensorimotor, auditory and visual networks, the resting-state analysis of the residual time courses demonstrated reduced functional connectivity in the motor network and reduced connectivity between the insula and the ECN compared to the standard resting-state datasets. Overall, performance of simple self-directed motor tasks does little to change the resting-state functional connectivity across the brain, especially in non-motor areas. This would suggest that previously acquired fMRI studies incorporating simple block-design motor tasks could be mined retrospectively for assessment of the resting-state connectivity.

  13. How do we learn to "kill" in volleyball?: The role of working memory capacity and expertise in volleyball motor learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bisagno, Elisa; Morra, Sergio

    2018-03-01

    This study examines young volleyball players' learning of increasingly complex attack gestures. The main purpose of the study was to examine the predictive role of a cognitive variable, working memory capacity (or "M capacity"), in the acquisition and development of motor skills in a structured sport. Pascual-Leone's theory of constructive operators (TCO) was used as a framework; it defines working memory capacity as the maximum number of schemes that can be simultaneously activated by attentional resources. The role of expertise in motor learning was also considered. The expertise of each athlete was assessed in terms of years of practice and number of training sessions per week. The participants were 120 volleyball players, aged between 6 and 26 years, who performed both working memory tests and practical tests of volleyball involving the execution of the "third touch" by means of technical gestures of varying difficulty. We proposed a task analysis of these different gestures framed within the TCO. The results pointed to a very clear dissociation. On the one hand, M capacity was the best predictor of correct motor performance, and a specific capacity threshold was found for learning each attack gesture. On the other hand, experience was the key for the precision of the athletic gestures. This evidence could underline the existence of two different cognitive mechanisms in motor learning. The first one, relying on attentional resources, is required to learn a gesture. The second one, based on repeated experience, leads to its automatization. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  14. Task type and incidental L2 vocabulary learning: Repetition versus ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    This study investigated the effect of task type on incidental L2 vocabulary learning. The different tasks investigated in this study differed in terms of repetition of encounters and task involvement load. In a within-subjects design, 72 Iranian learners of English practised 18 target words in three exercise conditions: three ...

  15. Children benefit differently from night- and day-time sleep in motor learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yan, Jin H

    2017-08-01

    Motor skill acquisition occurs while practicing (on-line) and when asleep or awake (off-line). However, developmental questions still remain about whether children of various ages benefit similarly or differentially from night- and day-time sleeping. The likely circadian effects (time-of-day) and the possible between-test-interference (order effects) associated with children's off-line motor learning are currently unknown. Therefore, this study examines the contributions of over-night sleeping and mid-day napping to procedural skill learning. One hundred and eight children were instructed to practice a finger sequence task using computer keyboards. After an equivalent 11-h interval in one of the three states (sleep, nap, wakefulness), children performed the same sequence in retention tests and a novel sequence in transfer tests. Changes in the movement time and sequence accuracy were evaluated between ages (6-7, 8-9, 10-11years) during practice, and from skill training to retrievals across three states. Results suggest that night-time sleeping and day-time napping improved the tapping speed, especially for the 6-year-olds. The circadian factor did not affect off-line motor learning in children. The interference between the two counter-balanced retrieval tests was not found for the off-line motor learning. This research offers possible evidence about the age-related motor learning characteristics in children and a potential means for enhancing developmental motor skills. The dynamics between age, experience, memory formation, and the theoretical implications of motor skill acquisition are discussed. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. Deep imitation learning for 3D navigation tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hussein, Ahmed; Elyan, Eyad; Gaber, Mohamed Medhat; Jayne, Chrisina

    2018-01-01

    Deep learning techniques have shown success in learning from raw high-dimensional data in various applications. While deep reinforcement learning is recently gaining popularity as a method to train intelligent agents, utilizing deep learning in imitation learning has been scarcely explored. Imitation learning can be an efficient method to teach intelligent agents by providing a set of demonstrations to learn from. However, generalizing to situations that are not represented in the demonstrations can be challenging, especially in 3D environments. In this paper, we propose a deep imitation learning method to learn navigation tasks from demonstrations in a 3D environment. The supervised policy is refined using active learning in order to generalize to unseen situations. This approach is compared to two popular deep reinforcement learning techniques: deep-Q-networks and Asynchronous actor-critic (A3C). The proposed method as well as the reinforcement learning methods employ deep convolutional neural networks and learn directly from raw visual input. Methods for combining learning from demonstrations and experience are also investigated. This combination aims to join the generalization ability of learning by experience with the efficiency of learning by imitation. The proposed methods are evaluated on 4 navigation tasks in a 3D simulated environment. Navigation tasks are a typical problem that is relevant to many real applications. They pose the challenge of requiring demonstrations of long trajectories to reach the target and only providing delayed rewards (usually terminal) to the agent. The experiments show that the proposed method can successfully learn navigation tasks from raw visual input while learning from experience methods fail to learn an effective policy. Moreover, it is shown that active learning can significantly improve the performance of the initially learned policy using a small number of active samples.

  17. Patterned-string tasks: relation between fine motor skills and visual-spatial abilities in parrots.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anastasia Krasheninnikova

    Full Text Available String-pulling and patterned-string tasks are often used to analyse perceptual and cognitive abilities in animals. In addition, the paradigm can be used to test the interrelation between visual-spatial and motor performance. Two Australian parrot species, the galah (Eolophus roseicapilla and the cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus, forage on the ground, but only the galah uses its feet to manipulate food. I used a set of string pulling and patterned-string tasks to test whether usage of the feet during foraging is a prerequisite for solving the vertical string pulling problem. Indeed, the two species used techniques that clearly differed in the extent of beak-foot coordination but did not differ in terms of their success in solving the string pulling task. However, when the visual-spatial skills of the subjects were tested, the galahs outperformed the cockatiels. This supports the hypothesis that the fine motor skills needed for advanced beak-foot coordination may be interrelated with certain visual-spatial abilities needed for solving patterned-string tasks. This pattern was also found within each of the two species on the individual level: higher motor abilities positively correlated with performance in patterned-string tasks. This is the first evidence of an interrelation between visual-spatial and motor abilities in non-mammalian animals.

  18. The Neural Feedback Response to Error As a Teaching Signal for the Motor Learning System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shadmehr, Reza

    2016-01-01

    When we experience an error during a movement, we update our motor commands to partially correct for this error on the next trial. How does experience of error produce the improvement in the subsequent motor commands? During the course of an erroneous reaching movement, proprioceptive and visual sensory pathways not only sense the error, but also engage feedback mechanisms, resulting in corrective motor responses that continue until the hand arrives at its goal. One possibility is that this feedback response is co-opted by the learning system and used as a template to improve performance on the next attempt. Here we used electromyography (EMG) to compare neural correlates of learning and feedback to test the hypothesis that the feedback response to error acts as a template for learning. We designed a task in which mixtures of error-clamp and force-field perturbation trials were used to deconstruct EMG time courses into error-feedback and learning components. We observed that the error-feedback response was composed of excitation of some muscles, and inhibition of others, producing a complex activation/deactivation pattern during the reach. Despite this complexity, across muscles the learning response was consistently a scaled version of the error-feedback response, but shifted 125 ms earlier in time. Across people, individuals who produced a greater feedback response to error, also learned more from error. This suggests that the feedback response to error serves as a teaching signal for the brain. Individuals who learn faster have a better teacher in their feedback control system. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Our sensory organs transduce errors in behavior. To improve performance, we must generate better motor commands. How does the nervous system transform an error in sensory coordinates into better motor commands in muscle coordinates? Here we show that when an error occurs during a movement, the reflexes transform the sensory representation of error into motor

  19. Using Mobile Devices for Motor-Learning Laboratory Exercises

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hill, Kory

    2014-01-01

    When teaching motor-learning concepts, laboratory experiments can be valuable tools for promoting learning. In certain circumstances, traditional laboratory exercises are often impractical due to facilities, time, or cost. Inexpensive or free applications (apps) that run on mobile devices can serve as useful alternatives. This article details…

  20. The influence of errors during practice on motor learning in young individuals with cerebral palsy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Abswoude, Femke; Santos-Vieira, Beatriz; van der Kamp, John; Steenbergen, Bert

    2015-01-01

    The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of errors during practice on motor skill learning in young individuals with cerebral palsy (CP). Minimizing errors has been validated in typically developing children and children with intellectual disabilities as a method for implicit learning, because it reduces working memory involvement during learning. The present study assessed whether a practice protocol that aims at minimizing errors can induce implicit learning in young individuals with CP as well. Accordingly, we hypothesized that reducing errors during practice would lead to enhanced learning and a decrease in the dependency of performance on working memory. Young individuals with CP practiced an aiming task following either an error-minimizing (N=20) or an error-strewn (N=18) practice protocol. Aiming accuracy was assessed in pre-, post- and retention test. Dual task performance was assessed to establish dependency on working memory. The two practice protocols did not invoke different amounts or types of learning in the participants with CP. Yet, participants improved aiming accuracy and showed stable motor performance after learning, irrespective of the protocol they followed. Across groups the number of errors made during practice was related to the amount of learning, and the degree of conscious monitoring of the movement. Only participants with relatively good working memory capacity and a poor initial performance showed a rudimentary form of (most likely, explicit) learning. These new findings on the effect of the amount of practice errors on motor learning in children of CP are important for designing interventions for children and adolescents with CP. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Walking and talking: an investigation of cognitive-motor dual tasking in multiple sclerosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hamilton, F; Rochester, L; Paul, L; Rafferty, D; O'Leary, C P; Evans, J J

    2009-10-01

    Deficits in motor functioning, including walking, and in cognitive functions, including attention, are known to be prevalent in multiple sclerosis (MS), though little attention has been paid to how impairments in these areas of functioning interact. This study investigated the effects of performing a concurrent cognitive task when walking in people with MS. Level of task demand was manipulated to investigate whether this affected level of dual-task decrement. Eighteen participants with MS and 18 healthy controls took part. Participants completed walking and cognitive tasks under single- and dual-task conditions. Compared to healthy controls, MS participants showed greater decrements in performance under dual-task conditions in cognitive task performance, walking speed and swing time variability. In the MS group, the degree of decrement under dual-task conditions was related to levels of fatigue, a measure of general cognitive functioning and self-reported everyday cognitive errors, but not to measures of disease severity or duration. Difficulty with walking and talking in MS may be a result of a divided attention deficit or of overloading of the working memory system, and further investigation is needed. We suggest that difficulty with walking and talking in MS may lead to practical problems in everyday life, including potentially increasing the risk of falls. Clinical tools to assess cognitive-motor dual-tasking ability are needed.

  2. Cognitive ability predicts motor learning on a virtual reality game in patients with TBI.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Neil, Rochelle L; Skeel, Reid L; Ustinova, Ksenia I

    2013-01-01

    Virtual reality games and simulations have been utilized successfully for motor rehabilitation of individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Little is known, however, how TBI-related cognitive decline affects learning of motor tasks in virtual environments. To fill this gap, we examined learning within a virtual reality game involving various reaching motions in 14 patients with TBI and 15 healthy individuals with different cognitive abilities. All participants practiced ten 90-second gaming trials to assess various aspects of motor learning. Cognitive abilities were assessed with a battery of tests including measures of memory, executive functioning, and visuospatial ability. Overall, participants with TBI showed both reduced performance and a slower learning rate in the virtual reality game compared to healthy individuals. Numerous correlations between overall performance and several of the cognitive ability domains were revealed for both the patient and control groups, with the best predictor being overall cognitive ability. The results may provide a starting point for rehabilitation programs regarding which cognitive domains interact with motor learning.

  3. The role of plastic changes in the motor cortex and spinal cord for motor learning

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nielsen, Jens Bo; Lundbye-Jensen, Jesper

    2010-01-01

    Adaptive changes of the efficacy of neural circuitries at different sites of the central nervous system is the basis of acquisition of new motor skills. Non-invasive human imaging and electrophysiological experiments have demonstrated that the primary motor cortex and spinal cord circuitries...... are key players in the early stages of skill acquisition and consolidation of motor learning. Expansion of the cortical representation of the trained muscles, changes in corticomuscular coupling and changes in stretch reflex activity are thus all markers of neuroplastic changes accompanying early skill...... acquisition. We have shown in recent experiments that sensory feedback from the active muscles play a surprisingly specific role at this stage of learning. Following motor skill training, repeated activation of sensory afferents from the muscle that has been involved in a previous training session, interfered...

  4. Algorithm-Dependent Generalization Bounds for Multi-Task Learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Tongliang; Tao, Dacheng; Song, Mingli; Maybank, Stephen J

    2017-02-01

    Often, tasks are collected for multi-task learning (MTL) because they share similar feature structures. Based on this observation, in this paper, we present novel algorithm-dependent generalization bounds for MTL by exploiting the notion of algorithmic stability. We focus on the performance of one particular task and the average performance over multiple tasks by analyzing the generalization ability of a common parameter that is shared in MTL. When focusing on one particular task, with the help of a mild assumption on the feature structures, we interpret the function of the other tasks as a regularizer that produces a specific inductive bias. The algorithm for learning the common parameter, as well as the predictor, is thereby uniformly stable with respect to the domain of the particular task and has a generalization bound with a fast convergence rate of order O(1/n), where n is the sample size of the particular task. When focusing on the average performance over multiple tasks, we prove that a similar inductive bias exists under certain conditions on the feature structures. Thus, the corresponding algorithm for learning the common parameter is also uniformly stable with respect to the domains of the multiple tasks, and its generalization bound is of the order O(1/T), where T is the number of tasks. These theoretical analyses naturally show that the similarity of feature structures in MTL will lead to specific regularizations for predicting, which enables the learning algorithms to generalize fast and correctly from a few examples.

  5. Resting-state brain activity in the motor cortex reflects task-induced activity: A multi-voxel pattern analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kusano, Toshiki; Kurashige, Hiroki; Nambu, Isao; Moriguchi, Yoshiya; Hanakawa, Takashi; Wada, Yasuhiro; Osu, Rieko

    2015-08-01

    It has been suggested that resting-state brain activity reflects task-induced brain activity patterns. In this study, we examined whether neural representations of specific movements can be observed in the resting-state brain activity patterns of motor areas. First, we defined two regions of interest (ROIs) to examine brain activity associated with two different behavioral tasks. Using multi-voxel pattern analysis with regularized logistic regression, we designed a decoder to detect voxel-level neural representations corresponding to the tasks in each ROI. Next, we applied the decoder to resting-state brain activity. We found that the decoder discriminated resting-state neural activity with accuracy comparable to that associated with task-induced neural activity. The distribution of learned weighted parameters for each ROI was similar for resting-state and task-induced activities. Large weighted parameters were mainly located on conjunctive areas. Moreover, the accuracy of detection was higher than that for a decoder whose weights were randomly shuffled, indicating that the resting-state brain activity includes multi-voxel patterns similar to the neural representation for the tasks. Therefore, these results suggest that the neural representation of resting-state brain activity is more finely organized and more complex than conventionally considered.

  6. Task complexity, student perceptions of vocabulary learning in EFL, and task performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Xiaoli; Lowyck, Joost; Sercu, Lies; Elen, Jan

    2013-03-01

    The study deepened our understanding of how students' self-efficacy beliefs contribute to the context of teaching English as a foreign language in the framework of cognitive mediational paradigm at a fine-tuned task-specific level. The aim was to examine the relationship among task complexity, self-efficacy beliefs, domain-related prior knowledge, learning strategy use, and task performance as they were applied to English vocabulary learning from reading tasks. Participants were 120 second-year university students (mean age 21) from a Chinese university. This experiment had two conditions (simple/complex). A vocabulary level test was first conducted to measure participants' prior knowledge of English vocabulary. Participants were then randomly assigned to one of the learning tasks. Participants were administered task booklets together with the self-efficacy scales, measures of learning strategy use, and post-tests. Data obtained were submitted to multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and path analysis. Results from the MANOVA model showed a significant effect of vocabulary level on self-efficacy beliefs, learning strategy use, and task performance. Task complexity showed no significant effect; however, an interaction effect between vocabulary level and task complexity emerged. Results from the path analysis showed self-efficacy beliefs had an indirect effect on performance. Our results highlighted the mediating role of self-efficacy beliefs and learning strategy use. Our findings indicate that students' prior knowledge plays a crucial role on both self-efficacy beliefs and task performance, and the predictive power of self-efficacy on task performance may lie in its association with learning strategy use. © 2011 The British Psychological Society.

  7. Knowledge discovery in databases of biomechanical variables: application to the sit to stand motor task

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Benvenuti Francesco

    2004-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The interpretation of data obtained in a movement analysis laboratory is a crucial issue in clinical contexts. Collection of such data in large databases might encourage the use of modern techniques of data mining to discover additional knowledge with automated methods. In order to maximise the size of the database, simple and low-cost experimental set-ups are preferable. The aim of this study was to extract knowledge inherent in the sit-to-stand task as performed by healthy adults, by searching relationships among measured and estimated biomechanical quantities. An automated method was applied to a large amount of data stored in a database. The sit-to-stand motor task was already shown to be adequate for determining the level of individual motor ability. Methods The technique of search for association rules was chosen to discover patterns as part of a Knowledge Discovery in Databases (KDD process applied to a sit-to-stand motor task observed with a simple experimental set-up and analysed by means of a minimum measured input model. Selected parameters and variables of a database containing data from 110 healthy adults, of both genders and of a large range of age, performing the task were considered in the analysis. Results A set of rules and definitions were found characterising the patterns shared by the investigated subjects. Time events of the task turned out to be highly interdependent at least in their average values, showing a high level of repeatability of the timing of the performance of the task. Conclusions The distinctive patterns of the sit-to-stand task found in this study, associated to those that could be found in similar studies focusing on subjects with pathologies, could be used as a reference for the functional evaluation of specific subjects performing the sit-to-stand motor task.

  8. The cognitive complexity of concurrent cognitive-motor tasks reveals age-related deficits in motor performance

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Oliveira, Anderson Souza; Reiche, Mikkel Staall; Vinescu, Cristina Ioana

    2018-01-01

    Aging reduces cognitive functions, and such impairments have implications in mental and motor performance. Cognitive function has been recently linked to the risk of falls in older adults. Physical activities have been used to attenuate the declines in cognitive functions and reduce fall incidence......, but little is known whether a physically active lifestyle can maintain physical performance under cognitively demanding conditions. The aim of this study was to verify whether physically active older adults present similar performance deficits during upper limb response time and precision stepping walking...... tasks when compared to younger adults. Both upper limb and walking tasks involved simple and complex cognitive demands through decision-making. For both tasks, decision-making was assessed by including a distracting factor to the execution. The results showed that older adults were substantially slower...

  9. Neuronal Substrates Underlying Performance Variability in Well-Trained Skillful Motor Task in Humans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mizuguchi, Nobuaki; Uehara, Shintaro; Hirose, Satoshi; Yamamoto, Shinji; Naito, Eiichi

    2016-01-01

    Motor performance fluctuates trial by trial even in a well-trained motor skill. Here we show neural substrates underlying such behavioral fluctuation in humans. We first scanned brain activity with functional magnetic resonance imaging while healthy participants repeatedly performed a 10 s skillful sequential finger-tapping task. Before starting the experiment, the participants had completed intensive training. We evaluated task performance per trial (number of correct sequences in 10 s) and depicted brain regions where the activity changes in association with the fluctuation of the task performance across trials. We found that the activity in a broader range of frontoparietocerebellar network, including the bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), anterior cingulate and anterior insular cortices, and left cerebellar hemisphere, was negatively correlated with the task performance. We further showed in another transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) experiment that task performance deteriorated, when we applied anodal tDCS to the right DLPFC. These results indicate that fluctuation of brain activity in the nonmotor frontoparietocerebellar network may underlie trial-by-trial performance variability even in a well-trained motor skill, and its neuromodulation with tDCS may affect the task performance.

  10. Enhanced motor learning with bilateral transcranial direct current stimulation: Impact of polarity or current flow direction?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Naros, Georgios; Geyer, Marc; Koch, Susanne; Mayr, Lena; Ellinger, Tabea; Grimm, Florian; Gharabaghi, Alireza

    2016-04-01

    Bilateral transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) is superior to unilateral TDCS when targeting motor learning. This effect could be related to either the current flow direction or additive polarity-specific effects on each hemisphere. This sham-controlled randomized study included fifty right-handed healthy subjects in a parallel-group design who performed an exoskeleton-based motor task of the proximal left arm on three consecutive days. Prior to training, we applied either sham, right anodal (a-TDCS), left cathodal (c-TDCS), concurrent a-TDCS and c-TDCS with two independent current sources and return electrodes (double source (ds)-TDCS) or classical bilateral stimulation (bi-TDCS). Motor performance improved over time for both unilateral (a-TDCS, c-TDCS) and bilateral (bi-TDCS, ds-TDCS) TDCS montages. However, only the two bilateral paradigms led to an improvement of the final motor performance at the end of the training period as compared to the sham condition. There was no difference between the two bilateral stimulation conditions (bi-TDCS, ds-TDCS). Bilateral TDCS is more effective than unilateral stimulation due to its polarity-specific effects on each hemisphere rather than due to its current flow direction. This study is the first systematic evaluation of stimulation polarity and current flow direction of bi-hemispheric motor cortex TDCS on motor learning of proximal upper limb muscles. Copyright © 2016 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Collaborative Tasks in Wiki-Based Environment in EFL Learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zou, Bin; Wang, Dongshuo; Xing, Minjie

    2016-01-01

    Wikis provide users with opportunities to post and edit messages to collaborate in the language learning process. Many studies have offered findings to show positive impact of Wiki-based language learning for learners. This paper explores the effect of collaborative task in error correction for English as a Foreign Language learning in an online…

  12. Human θ burst stimulation enhances subsequent motor learning and increases performance variability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teo, James T H; Swayne, Orlando B C; Cheeran, Binith; Greenwood, Richard J; Rothwell, John C

    2011-07-01

    Intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) transiently increases motor cortex excitability in healthy humans by a process thought to involve synaptic long-term potentiation (LTP), and this is enhanced by nicotine. Acquisition of a ballistic motor task is likewise accompanied by increased excitability and presumed intracortical LTP. Here, we test how iTBS and nicotine influences subsequent motor learning. Ten healthy subjects participated in a double-blinded placebo-controlled trial testing the effects of iTBS and nicotine. iTBS alone increased the rate of learning but this increase was blocked by nicotine. We then investigated factors other than synaptic strengthening that may play a role. Behavioral analysis and modeling suggested that iTBS increased performance variability, which correlated with learning outcome. A control experiment confirmed the increase in motor output variability by showing that iTBS increased the dispersion of involuntary transcranial magnetic stimulation-evoked thumb movements. We suggest that in addition to the effect on synaptic plasticity, iTBS may have facilitated performance by increasing motor output variability; nicotine negated this effect on variability perhaps via increasing the signal-to-noise ratio in cerebral cortex.

  13. Task-dependent output of human parasternal intercostal motor units across spinal levels.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hudson, Anna L; Gandevia, Simon C; Butler, Jane E

    2017-12-01

    During breathing, there is differential activity in the human parasternal intercostal muscles and the activity is tightly coupled to the known mechanical advantages for inspiration of the same regions of muscles. It is not known whether differential activity is preserved for the non-respiratory task of ipsilateral trunk rotation. In the present study, we compared single motor units during resting breathing and axial rotation of the trunk during apnoea. We not only confirmed non-uniform recruitment of motor units across parasternal intercostal muscles in breathing, but also demonstrated that the same motor units show an altered pattern of recruitment in the non-respiratory task of trunk rotation. The output of parasternal intercostal motoneurones is modulated differently across spinal levels depending on the task and these results help us understand the mechanisms that may govern task-dependent differences in motoneurone output. During inspiration, there is differential activity in the human parasternal intercostal muscles across interspaces. We investigated whether the earlier recruitment of motor units in the rostral interspaces compared to more caudal spaces during inspiration is preserved for the non-respiratory task of ipsilateral trunk rotation. Single motor unit activity (SMU) was recorded from the first, second and fourth parasternal interspaces on the right side in five participants in two tasks: resting breathing and 'isometric' axial rotation of the trunk during apnoea. Recruitment of the same SMUs was compared between tasks (n = 123). During resting breathing, differential activity was indicated by earlier recruitment of SMUs in the first and second interspaces compared to the fourth space in inspiration (P motor units showed an altered pattern of recruitment because SMUs in the first interspace were recruited later and at a higher rotation torque than those in the second and fourth interspaces (P recruitment measures, was good-excellent [intraclass

  14. Modeling speech imitation and ecological learning of auditory-motor maps

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Claudia eCanevari

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available Classical models of speech consider an antero-posterior distinction between perceptive and productive functions. However, the selective alteration of neural activity in speech motor centers, via transcranial magnetic stimulation, was shown to affect speech discrimination. On the automatic speech recognition (ASR side, the recognition systems have classically relied solely on acoustic data, achieving rather good performance in optimal listening conditions. The main limitations of current ASR are mainly evident in the realistic use of such systems. These limitations can be partly reduced by using normalization strategies that minimize inter-speaker variability by either explicitly removing speakers’ peculiarities or adapting different speakers to a reference model. In this paper we aim at modeling a motor-based imitation learning mechanism in ASR. We tested the utility of a speaker normalization strategy that uses motor representations of speech and compare it with strategies that ignore the motor domain. Specifically, we first trained a regressor through state-of-the-art machine learning techniques to build an auditory-motor mapping, in a sense mimicking a human learner that tries to reproduce utterances produced by other speakers. This auditory-motor mapping maps the speech acoustics of a speaker into the motor plans of a reference speaker. Since, during recognition, only speech acoustics are available, the mapping is necessary to recover motor information. Subsequently, in a phone classification task, we tested the system on either one of the speakers that was used during training or a new one. Results show that in both cases the motor-based speaker normalization strategy almost always outperforms all other strategies where only acoustics is taken into account.

  15. Developmental Differences in Motor Task Integration: A Test of Pascual-Leone's Theory of Constructive Operators.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Todor, John I.

    1979-01-01

    Assesses the ability of Pascual-Leone's Theory of Constructive Operators to predict the minimum age or maturational level at which integration of a motor task could be achieved. Subjects were 114 elementary school children ranging in age from 5 to 12. (Author/MP)

  16. Intact Acquisition and Short-Term Retention of Non-Motor Procedural Learning in Parkinson's Disease.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Muriel T N Panouillères

    Full Text Available Procedural learning is a form of memory where people implicitly acquire a skill through repeated practice. People with Parkinson's disease (PD have been found to acquire motor adaptation, a form of motor procedural learning, similarly to healthy older adults but they have deficits in long-term retention. A similar pattern of normal learning on initial exposure with a deficit in retention seen on subsequent days has also been seen in mirror-reading, a form of non-motor procedural learning. It is a well-studied fact that disrupting sleep will impair the consolidation of procedural memories. Given the prevalence of sleep disturbances in PD, the lack of retention on following days seen in these studies could simply be a side effect of this well-known symptom of PD. Because of this, we wondered whether people with PD would present with deficits in the short-term retention of a non-motor procedural learning task, when the test of retention was done the same day as the initial exposure. The aim of the present study was then to investigate acquisition and retention in the immediate short term of cognitive procedural learning using the mirror-reading task in people with PD. This task involved two conditions: one where triads of mirror-inverted words were always new that allowed assessing the learning of mirror-reading skill and another one where some of the triads were presented repeatedly during the experiment that allowed assessing the word-specific learning. People with PD both ON and OFF their normal medication were compared to healthy older adults and young adults. Participants were re-tested 50 minutes break after initial exposure to probe for short-term retention. The results of this study show that all groups of participants acquired and retained the two skills (mirror-reading and word-specific similarly. These results suggest that neither healthy ageing nor the degeneration within the basal ganglia that occurs in PD does affect the mechanisms

  17. Is Motor Learning Mediated by tDCS Intensity?

    OpenAIRE

    Cuypers, Koen; Leenus, Daphnie J. F.; van den Berg, Femke E.; Nitsche, Michael A.; Thijs, Herbert; Wenderoth, Nicole; Meesen, Raf L. J.

    2013-01-01

    Although tDCS has been shown to improve motor learning, previous studies reported rather small effects. Since physiological effects of tDCS depend on intensity, the present study evaluated this parameter in order to enhance the effect of tDCS on skill acquisition. The effect of different stimulation intensities of anodal tDCS (atDCS) was investigated in a double blind, sham controlled crossover design. In each condition, thirteen healthy subjects were instructed to perform a unimanual motor (...

  18. Motor learning in animal models of Parkinson's disease: Aberrant synaptic plasticity in the motor cortex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Tonghui; Wang, Shaofang; Lalchandani, Rupa R; Ding, Jun B

    2017-04-01

    In Parkinson's disease (PD), dopamine depletion causes major changes in the brain, resulting in the typical cardinal motor features of the disease. PD neuropathology has been restricted to postmortem examinations, which are limited to only a single time of PD progression. Models of PD in which dopamine tone in the brain is chemically or physically disrupted are valuable tools in understanding the mechanisms of the disease. The basal ganglia have been well studied in the context of PD, and circuit changes in response to dopamine loss have been linked to the motor dysfunctions in PD. However, the etiology of the cognitive dysfunctions that are comorbid in PD patients has remained unclear until now. In this article, we review recent studies exploring how dopamine depletion affects the motor cortex at the synaptic level. In particular, we highlight our recent findings on abnormal spine dynamics in the motor cortex of PD mouse models through in vivo time-lapse imaging and motor skill behavior assays. In combination with previous studies, a role of the motor cortex in skill learning and the impairment of this ability with the loss of dopamine are becoming more apparent. Taken together, we conclude with a discussion on the potential role for the motor cortex in PD, with the possibility of targeting the motor cortex for future PD therapeutics. © 2017 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society. © 2017 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

  19. Effects of acute sleep deprivation on motor and reversal learning in mice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Varga, Andrew W; Kang, Mihwa; Ramesh, Priyanka V; Klann, Eric

    2014-10-01

    Sleep supports the formation of a variety of declarative and non-declarative memories, and sleep deprivation often impairs these types of memories. In human subjects, natural sleep either during a nap or overnight leads to long-lasting improvements in visuomotor and fine motor tasks, but rodent models recapitulating these findings have been scarce. Here we present evidence that 5h of acute sleep deprivation impairs mouse skilled reach learning compared to a matched period of ad libitum sleep. In sleeping mice, the duration of total sleep time during the 5h of sleep opportunity or during the first bout of sleep did not correlate with ultimate gain in motor performance. In addition, we observed that reversal learning during the skilled reaching task was also affected by sleep deprivation. Consistent with this observation, 5h of sleep deprivation also impaired reversal learning in the water-based Y-maze. In conclusion, acute sleep deprivation negatively impacts subsequent motor and reversal learning and memory. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. Motor dual-tasking deficits predict falls in Parkinson's disease: A prospective study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heinzel, Sebastian; Maechtel, Mirjam; Hasmann, Sandra E; Hobert, Markus A; Heger, Tanja; Berg, Daniela; Maetzler, Walter

    2016-05-01

    Falls severely affect lives of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. Cognitive impairment including dual-tasking deficits contribute to fall risk in PD. However, types of dual-tasking deficits preceding falls in PD are still unclear. Walking velocities during box-checking and subtracting serial 7s were assessed twice a year in 40 PD patients over 2.8 ± 1.0 years. Fourteen patients reported a fall within this period (4 excluded fallers already reported falls at baseline). Their dual-task costs (DTC; mean ± standard deviation) 4.2 ± 2.2 months before the first fall were compared with 22 patients never reporting falls. ROC analyses and logistic regressions accounting for DTC, UPDRS-III and disease duration were used for faller classification and prediction. Only walking/box-checking predicted fallers. Fallers showed higher DTC for walking while box-checking, p = 0.029, but not for box-checking while walking, p = 0.178 (combined motor DTC, p = 0.022), than non-fallers. Combined motor DTC classified fallers and non-fallers (area under curve: 0.75; 95% confidence interval, CI: 0.60-0.91) with 71.4% sensitivity (95%CI: 41.9%-91.6%) and 77.3% specificity (54.6%-92.2%), and significantly predicted future fallers (p = 0.023). Here, 20.4%-points higher combined motor DTC (i.e. the mean difference between fallers and non-fallers) was associated with a 2.6 (1.1-6.0) times higher odds to be a future faller. Motor dual-tasking is a potentially valuable predictor of falls in PD, suggesting that avoiding dual task situations as well as specific motor dual-task training might help to prevent falls in PD. These findings and their therapeutic relevance need to be further validated in PD patients without fall history, in early PD stages, and with various motor-motor dual-task challenges. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Enhancement of motor learning by focal intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) of either the primary motor (M1) or somatosensory area (S1) in healthy human subjects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Platz, Thomas; Adler-Wiebe, Marija; Roschka, Sybille; Lotze, Martin

    2018-01-01

    Motor rehabilitation after brain damage relies on motor re-learning as induced by specific training. Non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) can alter cortical excitability and thereby has a potential to enhance subsequent training-induced learning. Knowledge about any priming effects of NIBS on motor learning in healthy subjects can help to design targeted therapeutic applications in brain-damaged subjects. To examine whether complex motor learning in healthy subjects can be enhanced by intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) to primary motor or sensory cortical areas. Eighteen young healthy subjects trained eight different arm motor tasks (arm ability training, AAT) once a day for 5 days using their left non-dominant arm. Except for day 1 (baseline), training was performed after applying an excitatory form of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (iTBS) to either (I) right M1 or (II) S1, or (III) sham stimulation to the right M1. Subjects were randomly assigned to conditions I, II, or III. A principal component analysis of the motor behaviour data suggested eight independent motor abilities corresponding to the 8 trained tasks. AAT induced substantial motor learning across abilities with generalisation to a non-trained test of finger dexterity (Nine-Hole-Peg-Test, NHPT). Participants receiving iTBS (to either M1 or S1) showed better performance with the AAT tasks over the period of training compared to sham stimulation as well as a bigger improvement with the generalisation task (NHPT) for the trained left hand after training completion. Priming with an excitatory repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation as iTBS of either M1 or S1 can enhance motor learning across different sensorimotor abilities.

  2. Self-Control of Haptic Assistance for Motor Learning: Influences of Frequency and Opinion of Utility

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Camille K.; Tseung, Victrine; Carnahan, Heather

    2017-01-01

    Studies of self-controlled practice have shown benefits when learners controlled feedback schedule, use of assistive devices and task difficulty, with benefits attributed to information processing and motivational advantages of self-control. Although haptic assistance serves as feedback, aids task performance and modifies task difficulty, researchers have yet to explore whether self-control over haptic assistance could be beneficial for learning. We explored whether self-control of haptic assistance would be beneficial for learning a tracing task. Self-controlled participants selected practice blocks on which they would receive haptic assistance, while participants in a yoked group received haptic assistance on blocks determined by a matched self-controlled participant. We inferred learning from performance on retention tests without haptic assistance. From qualitative analysis of open-ended questions related to rationales for/experiences of the haptic assistance that was chosen/provided, themes emerged regarding participants’ views of the utility of haptic assistance for performance and learning. Results showed that learning was directly impacted by the frequency of haptic assistance for self-controlled participants only and view of haptic assistance. Furthermore, self-controlled participants’ views were significantly associated with their requested haptic assistance frequency. We discuss these findings as further support for the beneficial role of self-controlled practice for motor learning. PMID:29255438

  3. Real-time changes in corticospinal excitability related to motor imagery of a force control task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tatemoto, Tsuyoshi; Tsuchiya, Junko; Numata, Atsuki; Osawa, Ryuji; Yamaguchi, Tomofumi; Tanabe, Shigeo; Kondo, Kunitsugu; Otaka, Yohei; Sugawara, Kenichi

    2017-09-29

    To investigate real-time excitability changes in corticospinal pathways related to motor imagery in a changing force control task, using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Ten healthy volunteers learnt to control the contractile force of isometric right wrist dorsiflexion in order to track an on-screen sine wave form. Participants performed the trained task 40 times with actual muscle contraction in order to construct the motor image. They were then instructed to execute the task without actual muscle contraction, but by imagining contraction of the right wrist in dorsiflexion. Motor evoked potentials (MEPs), induced by TMS in the right extensor carpi radialis muscle (ECR) and flexor carpi radialis muscle (FCR), were measured during motor imagery. MEPs were induced at five time points: prior to imagery, during the gradual generation of the imaged wrist dorsiflexion (Increasing phase), the peak value of the sine wave, during the gradual reduction (Decreasing phase), and after completion of the task. The MEP ratio, as the ratio of imaged MEPs to resting-state, was compared between pre- and post-training at each time point. In the ECR muscle, the MEP ratio significantly increased during the Increasing phase and at the peak force of dorsiflexion imagery after training. Moreover, the MEP ratio was significantly greater in the Increasing phase than in the Decreasing phase. In the FCR, there were no significant consistent changes. Corticospinal excitability during motor imagery in an isometric contraction task was modulated in relation to the phase of force control after image construction. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. Using the Hand Laterality Judgement Task to Assess Motor Imagery: A Study of Practice Effects in Repeated Measurements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boonstra, Anne M.; de Vries, Sjoerd J.; Veenstra, Evelien; Tepper, Marga; Feenstra, Wya; Otten, Egbert

    2012-01-01

    The aim of this study was to determine whether there is a practice effect on the Hand Laterality Judgement Task (HLJT). The HLJT task is a mental rotation task that can be used to assess motor imagery ability in stroke patients. Thirty-three healthy individuals performed the HLJT and two control tasks twice at a 3-week interval. Differences in the…

  5. Mapping Learning Outcomes and Assignment Tasks for SPIDER Activities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lyn Brodie

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available Modern engineering programs have to address rapidly changing technical content and have to enable students to develop transferable skills such as critical evaluation, communication skills and lifelong learning. This paper introduces a combined learning and assessment activity that provides students with opportunities to develop and practice their soft skills, but also extends their theoretical knowledge base. Key tasks included self directed inquiry, oral and written communication as well as peer assessment. To facilitate the SPIDER activities (Select, Prepare and Investigate, Discuss, Evaluate, Reflect, a software tool has been implemented in the learning management system Moodle. Evidence shows increased student engagement and better learning outcomes for both transferable as well as technical skills. The study focuses on generalising the relationship between learning outcomes and assignment tasks as well as activities that drive these tasks. Trail results inform the approach. Staff evaluations and their views of assignments and intended learning outcomes also supported this analysis.

  6. Automatic motor task selection via a bandit algorithm for a brain-controlled button

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fruitet, Joan; Carpentier, Alexandra; Munos, Rémi; Clerc, Maureen

    2013-02-01

    Objective. Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) based on sensorimotor rhythms use a variety of motor tasks, such as imagining moving the right or left hand, the feet or the tongue. Finding the tasks that yield best performance, specifically to each user, is a time-consuming preliminary phase to a BCI experiment. This study presents a new adaptive procedure to automatically select (online) the most promising motor task for an asynchronous brain-controlled button. Approach. We develop for this purpose an adaptive algorithm UCB-classif based on the stochastic bandit theory and design an EEG experiment to test our method. We compare (offline) the adaptive algorithm to a naïve selection strategy which uses uniformly distributed samples from each task. We also run the adaptive algorithm online to fully validate the approach. Main results. By not wasting time on inefficient tasks, and focusing on the most promising ones, this algorithm results in a faster task selection and a more efficient use of the BCI training session. More precisely, the offline analysis reveals that the use of this algorithm can reduce the time needed to select the most appropriate task by almost half without loss in precision, or alternatively, allow us to investigate twice the number of tasks within a similar time span. Online tests confirm that the method leads to an optimal task selection. Significance. This study is the first one to optimize the task selection phase by an adaptive procedure. By increasing the number of tasks that can be tested in a given time span, the proposed method could contribute to reducing ‘BCI illiteracy’.

  7. Impaired Retention of Motor Learning of Writing Skills in Patients with Parkinson's Disease with Freezing of Gait.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elke Heremans

    Full Text Available Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD and freezing of gait (FOG suffer from more impaired motor and cognitive functioning than their non-freezing counterparts. This underlies an even higher need for targeted rehabilitation programs in this group. However, so far it is unclear whether FOG affects the ability for consolidation and generalization of motor learning and thus the efficacy of rehabilitation.To investigate the hallmarks of motor learning in people with FOG compared to those without by comparing the effects of an intensive motor learning program to improve handwriting.Thirty five patients with PD, including 19 without and 16 with FOG received six weeks of handwriting training consisting of exercises provided on paper and on a touch-sensitive writing tablet. Writing training was based on single- and dual-task writing and was supported by means of visual target zones. To investigate automatization, generalization and retention of learning, writing performance was assessed before and after training in the presence and absence of cues and dual tasking and after a six-week retention period. Writing amplitude was measured as primary outcome measure and variability of writing and dual-task accuracy as secondary outcomes.Significant learning effects were present on all outcome measures in both groups, both for writing under single- and dual-task conditions. However, the gains in writing amplitude were not retained after a retention period of six weeks without training in the patient group without FOG. Furthermore, patients with FOG were highly dependent on the visual target zones, reflecting reduced generalization of learning in this group.Although short-term learning effects were present in both groups, generalization and retention of motor learning were specifically impaired in patients with PD and FOG. The results of this study underscore the importance of individualized rehabilitation protocols.

  8. Impaired Retention of Motor Learning of Writing Skills in Patients with Parkinson's Disease with Freezing of Gait.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heremans, Elke; Nackaerts, Evelien; Vervoort, Griet; Broeder, Sanne; Swinnen, Stephan P; Nieuwboer, Alice

    2016-01-01

    Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and freezing of gait (FOG) suffer from more impaired motor and cognitive functioning than their non-freezing counterparts. This underlies an even higher need for targeted rehabilitation programs in this group. However, so far it is unclear whether FOG affects the ability for consolidation and generalization of motor learning and thus the efficacy of rehabilitation. To investigate the hallmarks of motor learning in people with FOG compared to those without by comparing the effects of an intensive motor learning program to improve handwriting. Thirty five patients with PD, including 19 without and 16 with FOG received six weeks of handwriting training consisting of exercises provided on paper and on a touch-sensitive writing tablet. Writing training was based on single- and dual-task writing and was supported by means of visual target zones. To investigate automatization, generalization and retention of learning, writing performance was assessed before and after training in the presence and absence of cues and dual tasking and after a six-week retention period. Writing amplitude was measured as primary outcome measure and variability of writing and dual-task accuracy as secondary outcomes. Significant learning effects were present on all outcome measures in both groups, both for writing under single- and dual-task conditions. However, the gains in writing amplitude were not retained after a retention period of six weeks without training in the patient group without FOG. Furthermore, patients with FOG were highly dependent on the visual target zones, reflecting reduced generalization of learning in this group. Although short-term learning effects were present in both groups, generalization and retention of motor learning were specifically impaired in patients with PD and FOG. The results of this study underscore the importance of individualized rehabilitation protocols.

  9. Effect of visual feedback on brain activation during motor tasks: an FMRI study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noble, Jeremy W; Eng, Janice J; Boyd, Lara A

    2013-07-01

    This study examined the effect of visual feedback and force level on the neural mechanisms responsible for the performance of a motor task. We used a voxel-wise fMRI approach to determine the effect of visual feedback (with and without) during a grip force task at 35% and 70% of maximum voluntary contraction. Two areas (contralateral rostral premotor cortex and putamen) displayed an interaction between force and feedback conditions. When the main effect of feedback condition was analyzed, higher activation when visual feedback was available was found in 22 of the 24 active brain areas, while the two other regions (contralateral lingual gyrus and ipsilateral precuneus) showed greater levels of activity when no visual feedback was available. The results suggest that there is a potentially confounding influence of visual feedback on brain activation during a motor task, and for some regions, this is dependent on the level of force applied.

  10. [Connectionist models of social learning: a case of learning by observing a simple task].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paignon, A; Desrichard, O; Bollon, T

    2004-03-01

    This article proposes a connectionist model of the social learning theory developed by Bandura (1977). The theory posits that an individual in an interactive situation is capable of learning new behaviours merely by observing them in others. Such learning is acquired through an initial phase in which the individual memorizes what he has observed (observation phase), followed by a second phase where he puts the recorded observations to use as a guide for adjusting his own behaviour (reproduction phase). We shall refer to the two above-mentioned phases to demonstrate that it is conceivable to simulate learning by observation otherwise than through the recording of perceived information using symbolic representation. To this end we shall rely on the formalism of ecological neuron networks (Parisi, Cecconi, & Nolfi, 1990) to implement an agent provided with the major processes identified as essential to learning through observation. The connectionist model so designed shall implement an agent capable of recording perceptive information and producing motor behaviours. The learning situation we selected associates an agent demonstrating goal-achievement behaviour and an observer agent learning the same behaviour by observation. Throughout the acquisition phase, the demonstrator supervises the observer's learning process based on association between spatial information (input) and behavioural information (output). Representation thus constructed then serves as an adjustment guide during the production phase, involving production by the observer of a sequence of actions which he compares to the representation stored in distributed form as constructed through observation. An initial simulation validates model architecture by confirming the requirement for both phases identified in the literature (Bandura, 1977) to simulate learning through observation. The representation constructed over the observation phase evidences acquisition of observed behaviours, although this phase

  11. Effect of Auditory Constraints on Motor Learning Depends on Stage of Recovery Post Stroke

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Viswanath eAluru

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available In order to develop evidence-based rehabilitation protocols post stroke, one must first reconcile the vast heterogeneity in the post-stroke population and develop protocols to facilitate motor learning in the various subgroups. The main purpose of this study is to show that auditory constraints interact with the stage of recovery post stroke to influence motor learning. We characterized the stages of upper limb recovery using task-based kinematic measures in twenty subjects with chronic hemiparesis, and used a bimanual wrist extension task using a custom-made wrist trainer to facilitate learning of wrist extension in the paretic hand under four auditory conditions: 1 without auditory cueing; 2 to non-musical happy sounds; 3 to self-selected music; and 4 to a metronome beat set at a comfortable tempo. Two bimanual trials (15 s each were followed by one unimanual trial with the paretic hand over six cycles under each condition. Clinical metrics, wrist and arm kinematics and electromyographic activity were recorded. Hierarchical cluster analysis with the Mahalanobis metric based on baseline speed and extent of wrist movement stratified subjects into three distinct groups which reflected their stage of recovery: spastic paresis, spastic co-contraction, and minimal paresis. In spastic paresis, the metronome beat increased wrist extension, but also increased muscle co-activation across the wrist. In contrast, in spastic co-contraction, no auditory stimulation increased wrist extension and reduced co-activation. In minimal paresis, wrist extension did not improve under any condition. The results suggest that auditory task constraints interact with stage of recovery during motor learning after stroke, perhaps due to recruitment of distinct neural substrates over the course of recovery. The findings advance our understanding of the mechanisms of progression of motor recovery and lay the foundation for personalized treatment algorithms post stroke.

  12. Impact of online visual feedback on motor acquisition and retention when learning to reach in a force field.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Batcho, C S; Gagné, M; Bouyer, L J; Roy, J S; Mercier, C

    2016-11-19

    When subjects learn a novel motor task, several sources of feedback (proprioceptive, visual or auditory) contribute to the performance. Over the past few years, several studies have investigated the role of visual feedback in motor learning, yet evidence remains conflicting. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate the role of online visual feedback (VFb) on the acquisition and retention stages of motor learning associated with training in a reaching task. Thirty healthy subjects made ballistic reaching movements with their dominant arm toward two targets, on 2 consecutive days using a robotized exoskeleton (KINARM). They were randomly assigned to a group with (VFb) or without (NoVFb) VFb of index position during movement. On day 1, the task was performed before (baseline) and during the application of a velocity-dependent resistive force field (adaptation). To assess retention, participants repeated the task with the force field on day 2. Motor learning was characterized by: (1) the final endpoint error (movement accuracy) and (2) the initial angle (iANG) of deviation (motor planning). Even though both groups showed motor adaptation, the NoVFb-group exhibited slower learning and higher final endpoint error than the VFb-group. In some condition, subjects trained without visual feedback used more curved initial trajectories to anticipate for the perturbation. This observation suggests that learning to reach targets in a velocity-dependent resistive force field is possible even when feedback is limited. However, the absence of VFb leads to different strategies that were only apparent when reaching toward the most challenging target. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  13. Age-Related Differences in Corticospinal Excitability during Observation and Motor Imagery of Balance Tasks.

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    Mouthon, Audrey A; Ruffieux, Jan; Keller, Martin; Taube, Wolfgang

    2016-01-01

    Postural control declines across adult lifespan. Non-physical balance training has been suggested as an alternative to improve postural control in frail/immobilized elderly people. Previous studies showed that this kind of training can improve balance control in young and older adults. However, it is unclear whether the brain of young and older adults is activated differently during mental simulations of balance tasks. For this purpose, soleus (SOL) and tibialis motor evoked potentials (MEPs) and SOL H-reflexes were elicited while 15 elderly (mean ± SD = 71 ± 4.6 years) and 15 young participants (mean ± SD = 27 ± 4.6 years) mentally simulated static and dynamic balance tasks using motor imagery (MI), action observation (AO) or the combination of AO and MI (AO + MI). Young subjects displayed significant modulations of MEPs that depended on the kind of mental simulation and the postural task. Elderly adults also revealed differences between tasks, but not between mental simulation conditions. Furthermore, the elderly displayed larger MEP facilitation during mental simulation (AGE-GROUP; F (1,28) = 5.9; p = 0.02) in the SOL muscle compared to the young and a task-dependent modulation of the tibialis background electromyography (bEMG) activity. H-reflex amplitudes and bEMG in the SOL showed neither task- nor age-dependent modulation. As neither mental simulation nor balance tasks modulated H-reflexes and bEMG in the SOL muscle, despite large variations in the MEP-amplitudes, there seems to be an age-related change in the internal cortical representation of balance tasks. Moreover, the modulation of the tibialis bEMG in the elderly suggests that aging partially affects the ability to inhibit motor output.

  14. Location versus task relevance: The impact of differing internal focus of attention instructions on motor performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pelleck, Valerie; Passmore, Steven R

    2017-05-01

    Impaired performance while executing a motor task is attributed to a disruption of normal automatic processes when an internal focus of attention is used. What remains unclear is whether the specificity of internally focused task instructions may impact task performance. The present study assessed the implications of changing the attentional focus of novice and skilled golfers by measuring behavioural, neurophysiological and kinematic changes during a golf putting task. Over six blocks of ten putting trials each, attention was directed either externally (towards the target) or internally in one of two ways: 1) proximal (keeping the elbows extended and the hands gripping the putter); or 2) distal (keeping the weight evenly distributed between both legs) to the critical elements of the task. Results provided evidence that when novice participants use an internal focus of attention more closely associated with task performance that their: 1) execution; 2) accuracy; 3) variability of surface electromyography (sEMG) activity; and 4) kinematics of the putter movement are all adversely affected. Skilled golfers are much more resilient to changes in attentional focus, while all participants interpret a distal internal focus of attention similar to an external focus. All participants produced decreased activity in the muscle (tibialis anterior) associated with the distal (less task relevant) focus of attention even when the "internal" focus was on the lower extremity. Our results provide evidence that the skill level of the participant and the distance of the internal focus of attention from the key elements of a motor skill directly impact the execution, muscle activity, and movement kinematics associated with skilled motor task performance. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. Differences in visuo-motor control in skilled vs. novice martial arts athletes during sustained and transient attention tasks: a motor-related cortical potential study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sanchez-Lopez, Javier; Fernandez, Thalia; Silva-Pereyra, Juan; Martinez Mesa, Juan A; Di Russo, Francesco

    2014-01-01

    Cognitive and motor processes are essential for optimal athletic performance. Individuals trained in different skills and sports may have specialized cognitive abilities and motor strategies related to the characteristics of the activity and the effects of training and expertise. Most studies have investigated differences in motor-related cortical potential (MRCP) during self-paced tasks in athletes but not in stimulus-related tasks. The aim of the present study was to identify the differences in performance and MRCP between skilled and novice martial arts athletes during two different types of tasks: a sustained attention task and a transient attention task. Behavioral and electrophysiological data from twenty-two martial arts athletes were obtained while they performed a continuous performance task (CPT) to measure sustained attention and a cued continuous performance task (c-CPT) to measure transient attention. MRCP components were analyzed and compared between groups. Electrophysiological data in the CPT task indicated larger prefrontal positive activity and greater posterior negativity distribution prior to a motor response in the skilled athletes, while novices showed a significantly larger response-related P3 after a motor response in centro-parietal areas. A different effect occurred in the c-CPT task in which the novice athletes showed strong prefrontal positive activity before a motor response and a large response-related P3, while in skilled athletes, the prefrontal activity was absent. We propose that during the CPT, skilled athletes were able to allocate two different but related processes simultaneously according to CPT demand, which requires controlled attention and controlled motor responses. On the other hand, in the c-CPT, skilled athletes showed better cue facilitation, which permitted a major economy of resources and "automatic" or less controlled responses to relevant stimuli. In conclusion, the present data suggest that motor expertise

  16. Using Goal Setting and Task Analysis to Enhance Task-Based Language Learning and Teaching

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rubin, Joan

    2015-01-01

    Task-Based Language Learning and Teaching has received sustained attention from teachers and researchers for over thirty years. It is a well-established pedagogy that includes the following characteristics: major focus on authentic and real-world tasks, choice of linguistic resources by learners, and a clearly defined non-linguistic outcome. This…

  17. Discordant tasks and motor adjustments affect interactions between adaptations to altered kinematics and dynamics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fritzie Arce

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Motor control and adaptation are multi-determinate processes with complex interactions. This is reflected for example in the ambiguous nature of interactions during sequential adaptation of reaching under kinematics and dynamics perturbations. It has been suggested that perturbations based on the same kinematic parameter interfere. Others posited that opposing motor adjustments underlie interference. Here, we examined the influence of discordances in task and in motor adjustments on sequential adaptations to visuomotor rotation and viscous force field perturbations. These two factors – perturbation direction and task discordance – have been examined separately by previous studies, thus the inherent difficulty to identify the roots of interference. Forty-eight human subjects adapted sequentially to one or two types of perturbations, of matched or conflicting directions. We found a gradient of interaction effects based on perturbation direction and task discordance. Perturbations of matched directions showed facilitation while perturbations of opposite directions, which required opposing motor adjustments, interfered with each other. Further, interaction effects increased with greater task discordance. We also found that force field and visuomotor rotation had mutual anterograde and retrograde effects. However, we found independence between anterograde and retrograde interferences between similar tasks. The results suggest that the newly acquired internal models of kinematic and dynamic perturbations are not independent but they share common neuronal resources and interact between them. Such overlap does not necessarily imply competition of resources. Rather, our results point to an additional principle of sensorimotor adaptation allowing the system to tap or harness common features across diverse sensory inputs and task contexts whenever available.

  18. The roles of the olivocerebellar pathway in motor learning and motor control. A consensus paper

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lang, Eric J.; Apps, Richard; Bengtsson, Fredrik; Cerminara, Nadia L.; De Zeeuw, Chris I.; Ebner, Timothy J.; Heck, Detlef H.; Jaeger, Dieter; Jörntell, Henrik; Kawato, Mitsuo; Otis, Thomas S.; Ozyildirim, Ozgecan; Popa, Laurentiu S.; Reeves, Alexander M.B.; Schweighofer, Nicolas; Sugihara, Izumi; Xiao, Jianqiang

    2016-01-01

    For many decades the predominant view in the cerebellar field has been that the olivocerebellar system's primary function is to induce plasticity in the cerebellar cortex, specifically, at the parallel fiber-Purkinje cell synapse. However, it has also long been proposed that the olivocerebellar system participates directly in motor control by helping to shape ongoing motor commands being issued by the cerebellum. Evidence consistent with both hypotheses exists; however, they are often investigated as mutually exclusive alternatives. In contrast, here we take the perspective that the olivocerebellar system can contribute to both the motor learning and motor control functions of the cerebellum, and might also play a role in development. We then consider the potential problems and benefits of its having multiple functions. Moreover, we discuss how its distinctive characteristics (e.g., low firing rates, synchronization, variable complex spike waveform) make it more or less suitable for one or the other of these functions, and why its having a dual role makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. We did not attempt to reach a consensus on the specific role(s) the olivocerebellar system plays in different types of movements, as that will ultimately be determined experimentally; however, collectively, the various contributions highlight the flexibility of the olivocerebellar system, and thereby suggest it has the potential to act in both the motor learning and motor control functions of the cerebellum. PMID:27193702

  19. Reinforcement learning of targeted movement in a spiking neuronal model of motor cortex.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    George L Chadderdon

    Full Text Available Sensorimotor control has traditionally been considered from a control theory perspective, without relation to neurobiology. In contrast, here we utilized a spiking-neuron model of motor cortex and trained it to perform a simple movement task, which consisted of rotating a single-joint "forearm" to a target. Learning was based on a reinforcement mechanism analogous to that of the dopamine system. This provided a global reward or punishment signal in response to decreasing or increasing distance from hand to target, respectively. Output was partially driven by Poisson motor babbling, creating stochastic movements that could then be shaped by learning. The virtual forearm consisted of a single segment rotated around an elbow joint, controlled by flexor and extensor muscles. The model consisted of 144 excitatory and 64 inhibitory event-based neurons, each with AMPA, NMDA, and GABA synapses. Proprioceptive cell input to this model encoded the 2 muscle lengths. Plasticity was only enabled in feedforward connections between input and output excitatory units, using spike-timing-dependent eligibility traces for synaptic credit or blame assignment. Learning resulted from a global 3-valued signal: reward (+1, no learning (0, or punishment (-1, corresponding to phasic increases, lack of change, or phasic decreases of dopaminergic cell firing, respectively. Successful learning only occurred when both reward and punishment were enabled. In this case, 5 target angles were learned successfully within 180 s of simulation time, with a median error of 8 degrees. Motor babbling allowed exploratory learning, but decreased the stability of the learned behavior, since the hand continued moving after reaching the target. Our model demonstrated that a global reinforcement signal, coupled with eligibility traces for synaptic plasticity, can train a spiking sensorimotor network to perform goal-directed motor behavior.

  20. Reinforcement learning of targeted movement in a spiking neuronal model of motor cortex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chadderdon, George L; Neymotin, Samuel A; Kerr, Cliff C; Lytton, William W

    2012-01-01

    Sensorimotor control has traditionally been considered from a control theory perspective, without relation to neurobiology. In contrast, here we utilized a spiking-neuron model of motor cortex and trained it to perform a simple movement task, which consisted of rotating a single-joint "forearm" to a target. Learning was based on a reinforcement mechanism analogous to that of the dopamine system. This provided a global reward or punishment signal in response to decreasing or increasing distance from hand to target, respectively. Output was partially driven by Poisson motor babbling, creating stochastic movements that could then be shaped by learning. The virtual forearm consisted of a single segment rotated around an elbow joint, controlled by flexor and extensor muscles. The model consisted of 144 excitatory and 64 inhibitory event-based neurons, each with AMPA, NMDA, and GABA synapses. Proprioceptive cell input to this model encoded the 2 muscle lengths. Plasticity was only enabled in feedforward connections between input and output excitatory units, using spike-timing-dependent eligibility traces for synaptic credit or blame assignment. Learning resulted from a global 3-valued signal: reward (+1), no learning (0), or punishment (-1), corresponding to phasic increases, lack of change, or phasic decreases of dopaminergic cell firing, respectively. Successful learning only occurred when both reward and punishment were enabled. In this case, 5 target angles were learned successfully within 180 s of simulation time, with a median error of 8 degrees. Motor babbling allowed exploratory learning, but decreased the stability of the learned behavior, since the hand continued moving after reaching the target. Our model demonstrated that a global reinforcement signal, coupled with eligibility traces for synaptic plasticity, can train a spiking sensorimotor network to perform goal-directed motor behavior.

  1. Mild Contralesional Hypothermia Reduces Use of the Unimpaired Forelimb in a Skilled Reaching Task After Motor Cortex Injury in Rats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klahr, Ana C; Fagan, Kelly; Aziz, Jasmine R; John, Roseleen; Colbourne, Frederick

    2018-06-01

    Therapeutic hypothermia (TH) mitigates neuronal injury in models of ischemic stroke. Although this therapy is meant for injured tissue, most protocols cool the whole body, including the contralesional hemisphere. Neuroplasticity responses within this hemisphere can affect functional outcome. Thus, cooling the contralesional hemisphere serves no clear neuroprotective function and may instead be detrimental. In this study, we cooled the contralesional hemisphere to determine whether this harms behavioral recovery after cortical injury in rats. All rats were trained on skilled reaching and walking tasks. Rats then received a motor cortex insult contralateral to their dominant paw after which they were randomly assigned to focal contralesional TH (∼33°C) for 1-48, 1-97, or 48-96 hours postinjury, or to a normothermic control group. Contralesional cooling did not impact lesion volume (p = 0.371) and had minimal impact on neurological outcome of the impaired limb. However, rats cooled early were significantly less likely to shift paw preference to the unimpaired paw (p ≤ 0.043), suggesting that cooling reduced learned nonuse. In a second experiment, we tested whether cooling impaired learning of the skilled reaching task in naive rats. Localized TH applied to the hemisphere contralateral or ipsilateral to the preferred paw did not impair learning (p ≥ 0.677) or dendritic branching/length in the motor cortex (p ≥ 0.105). In conclusion, localized TH did not impair learning or plasticity in the absence of neural injury, but contralesional TH may reduce unwanted shifts in limb preference after stroke.

  2. Concrete and abstract visualizations in history learning tasks

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Prangsma, Maaike; Van Boxtel, Carla; Kanselaar, Gellof; Kirschner, Paul A.

    2010-01-01

    Prangsma, M. E., Van Boxtel, C. A. M., Kanselaar, G., & Kirschner, P. A. (2009). Concrete and abstract visualizations in history learning tasks. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 79, 371-387.

  3. Concrete and abstract visualizations in history learning tasks

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Prangsma, M.E.; van Boxtel, C.A.M.; Kanselaar, G.; Kirschner, P.A.

    2009-01-01

    Background: History learning requires that students understand historical phenomena, abstract concepts and the relations between them. Students have problems grasping, using and relating complex historical developments and structures. Aims: A study was conducted to determine the effects of tasks

  4. On the optimal degree of fluctuations in practice for motor learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hossner, Ernst-Joachim; Käch, Boris; Enz, Jonas

    2016-06-01

    In human movement science, it is widely accepted that random practice generally enhances complex motor-skill learning compared to repetitive practice. In two experiments, a particular variability-related concept is put to empirical test, namely the concept of differencial learning (DL), which assumes (i) that learners should not be distracted from task-space exploration by corrections, and (ii) that learning is facilitated by large inter-trial fluctuations. In both experiments, the advantage of DL over repetitive learning was not statistically significant. Moreover, learning was more pronounced when participants either received corrections in addition to DL (Exp. 1) or practiced in an order in which differences between consecutive trials were relatively small (Exp. 2). These findings suggest that the positive DL effects reported in literature cannot be attributed to the reduction of feedback or to the increase of inter-trial fluctuations. These results are discussed in the light of the structural-learning approach and the two-state model of motor learning in which structure-related learning effects are distinguished from the capability to adapt to current changes. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  5. Sleep parameters, functional status and time post-stroke are associated with off-line motor skill learning in people with chronic stroke

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    Catherine eSiengsukon

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Background: Mounting evidence demonstrates that individuals with stroke benefit from sleep to enhance learning of a motor task. While stage NREM2 sleep and REM sleep have been associated with off-line motor skill learning in neurologically-intact individuals, it remains unknown which sleep parameters or specific sleep stages are associated with off-line motor skill learning in individuals with stroke. Methods: Twenty individuals with chronic stroke (> 6 months following stroke and 10 neurologically slept for three consecutive nights in a sleep laboratory with polysomnography. Participants practiced a tracking task the morning before the third night and underwent a retention test the morning following the third night. Off-line learning on the tracking task was assessed. Pearson’s correlations assessed for associations between the magnitude of off-line learning and sleep variables, age, upper extremity motor function, stroke severity, depression and time since stroke occurrence.Results: Individuals with stroke performed with significantly less error on the tracking task following a night of sleep (p=.006 while the control participants did not (p=.816. Increased sleep efficiency (r= -.285, less time spent in stage NREM3 sleep (r=.260, and more time spent in stage REM sleep (r= -.266 was weakly-to-moderately associated with increased magnitude of off-line motor learning. Furthermore, higher upper-extremity motor function (r = -.400, lower stroke severity (r = .360, and less time since stroke occurrence (r=.311 were moderately associated with increased magnitude of off-line motor learning. Conclusion: This study is the first study to provide insight into which sleep stages and individual characteristics may be associated with off-line learning in people with stroke. Future work should continue to understand which factors or combination of factors promote off-line motor learning in people with neurologic injury to best promote motor recovery in

  6. Cognitive-motor dual-task interference: A systematic review of neural correlates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leone, Carmela; Feys, Peter; Moumdjian, Lousin; D'Amico, Emanuele; Zappia, Mario; Patti, Francesco

    2017-04-01

    Cognitive-motor interference refers to dual-tasking (DT) interference (DTi) occurring when the simultaneous performance of a cognitive and a motor task leads to a percentage change in one or both tasks. Several theories exist to explain DTi in humans: the capacity-sharing, the bottleneck and the cross-talk theories. Numerous studies investigating whether a specific brain locus is associated with cognitive-motor DTi have been conducted, but not systematically reviewed. We aimed to review the evidences on brain activity associated with the cognitive-motor DT, in order to better understand the neurological basis of the CMi. Results were reported according to the technique used to assess brain activity. Twenty-three articles met the inclusion criteria. Out of them, nine studies used functional magnetic resonance imaging to show an additive, under-additive, over- additive, or a mixed activation pattern of the brain. Seven studies used near-infrared spectroscopy, and seven neurophysiological instruments. Yet a specific DT locus in the brain cannot be concluded from the overall current literature. Future studies are warranted to overcome the shortcomings identified. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. A Preliminary Comparison of Motor Learning Across Different Non-invasive Brain Stimulation Paradigms Shows No Consistent Modulations

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    Virginia Lopez-Alonso

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available Non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS has been widely explored as a way to safely modulate brain activity and alter human performance for nearly three decades. Research using NIBS has grown exponentially within the last decade with promising results across a variety of clinical and healthy populations. However, recent work has shown high inter-individual variability and a lack of reproducibility of previous results. Here, we conducted a small preliminary study to explore the effects of three of the most commonly used excitatory NIBS paradigms over the primary motor cortex (M1 on motor learning (Sequential Visuomotor Isometric Pinch Force Tracking Task and secondarily relate changes in motor learning to changes in cortical excitability (MEP amplitude and SICI. We compared anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS, paired associative stimulation (PAS25, and intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS, along with a sham tDCS control condition. Stimulation was applied prior to motor learning. Participants (n = 28 were randomized into one of the four groups and were trained on a skilled motor task. Motor learning was measured immediately after training (online, 1 day after training (consolidation, and 1 week after training (retention. We did not find consistent differential effects on motor learning or cortical excitability across groups. Within the boundaries of our small sample sizes, we then assessed effect sizes across the NIBS groups that could help power future studies. These results, which require replication with larger samples, are consistent with previous reports of small and variable effect sizes of these interventions on motor learning.

  8. A Preliminary Comparison of Motor Learning Across Different Non-invasive Brain Stimulation Paradigms Shows No Consistent Modulations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lopez-Alonso, Virginia; Liew, Sook-Lei; Fernández del Olmo, Miguel; Cheeran, Binith; Sandrini, Marco; Abe, Mitsunari; Cohen, Leonardo G.

    2018-01-01

    Non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) has been widely explored as a way to safely modulate brain activity and alter human performance for nearly three decades. Research using NIBS has grown exponentially within the last decade with promising results across a variety of clinical and healthy populations. However, recent work has shown high inter-individual variability and a lack of reproducibility of previous results. Here, we conducted a small preliminary study to explore the effects of three of the most commonly used excitatory NIBS paradigms over the primary motor cortex (M1) on motor learning (Sequential Visuomotor Isometric Pinch Force Tracking Task) and secondarily relate changes in motor learning to changes in cortical excitability (MEP amplitude and SICI). We compared anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), paired associative stimulation (PAS25), and intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS), along with a sham tDCS control condition. Stimulation was applied prior to motor learning. Participants (n = 28) were randomized into one of the four groups and were trained on a skilled motor task. Motor learning was measured immediately after training (online), 1 day after training (consolidation), and 1 week after training (retention). We did not find consistent differential effects on motor learning or cortical excitability across groups. Within the boundaries of our small sample sizes, we then assessed effect sizes across the NIBS groups that could help power future studies. These results, which require replication with larger samples, are consistent with previous reports of small and variable effect sizes of these interventions on motor learning. PMID:29740271

  9. Rapid motor learning in the translational vestibulo-ocular reflex

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Wu; Weldon, Patrick; Tang, Bingfeng; King, W. M.; Shelhamer, M. J. (Principal Investigator)

    2003-01-01

    Motor learning was induced in the translational vestibulo-ocular reflex (TVOR) when monkeys were repeatedly subjected to a brief (0.5 sec) head translation while they tried to maintain binocular fixation on a visual target for juice rewards. If the target was world-fixed, the initial eye speed of the TVOR gradually increased; if the target was head-fixed, the initial eye speed of the TVOR gradually decreased. The rate of learning acquisition was very rapid, with a time constant of approximately 100 trials, which was equivalent to or=1 d without any reinforcement, indicating induction of long-term synaptic plasticity. Although the learning generalized to targets with different viewing distances and to head translations with different accelerations, it was highly specific for the particular combination of head motion and evoked eye movement associated with the training. For example, it was specific to the modality of the stimulus (translation vs rotation) and the direction of the evoked eye movement in the training. Furthermore, when one eye was aligned with the heading direction so that it remained motionless during training, learning was not expressed in this eye, but only in the other nonaligned eye. These specificities show that the learning sites are neither in the sensory nor the motor limb of the reflex but in the sensory-motor transformation stage of the reflex. The dependence of the learning on both head motion and evoked eye movement suggests that Hebbian learning may be one of the underlying cellular mechanisms.

  10. Reinforcement learning of self-regulated β-oscillations for motor restoration in chronic stroke

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Georgios eNaros

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Neurofeedback training of motor imagery-related brain-states with brain-machine interfaces (BMI is currently being explored prior to standard physiotherapy to improve the motor outcome of stroke rehabilitation. Pilot studies suggest that such a priming intervention before physiotherapy might increase the responsiveness of the brain to the subsequent physiotherapy, thereby improving the clinical outcome. However, there is little evidence up to now that these BMI-based interventions have achieved operate conditioning of specific brain states that facilitate task-specific functional gains beyond the practice of primed physiotherapy. In this context, we argue that BMI technology needs to aim at physiological features relevant for the targeted behavioral gain. Moreover, this therapeutic intervention has to be informed by concepts of reinforcement learning to develop its full potential. Such a refined neurofeedback approach would need to address the following issues (1 Defining a physiological feedback target specific to the intended behavioral gain, e.g. β-band oscillations for cortico-muscular communication. This targeted brain state could well be different from the brain state optimal for the neurofeedback task (2 Selecting a BMI classification and thresholding approach on the basis of learning principles, i.e. balancing challenge and reward of the neurofeedback task instead of maximizing the classification accuracy of the feedback device (3 Adjusting the feedback in the course of the training period to account for the cognitive load and the learning experience of the participant. The proposed neurofeedback strategy provides evidence for the feasibility of the suggested approach by demonstrating that dynamic threshold adaptation based on reinforcement learning may lead to frequency-specific operant conditioning of β-band oscillations paralleled by task-specific motor improvement; a proposal that requires investigation in a larger cohort of stroke

  11. Inferior frontal gyrus links visual and motor cortices during a visuomotor precision grip force task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Papadelis, Christos; Arfeller, Carola; Erla, Silvia; Nollo, Giandomenico; Cattaneo, Luigi; Braun, Christoph

    2016-11-01

    Coordination between vision and action relies on a fronto-parietal network that receives visual and proprioceptive sensory input in order to compute motor control signals. Here, we investigated with magnetoencephalography (MEG) which cortical areas are functionally coupled on the basis of synchronization during visuomotor integration. MEG signals were recorded from twelve healthy adults while performing a unimanual visuomotor (VM) task and control conditions. The VM task required the integration of pinch motor commands with visual sensory feedback. By using a beamformer, we localized the neural activity in the frequency range of 1-30Hz during the VM compared to rest. Virtual sensors were estimated at the active locations. A multivariate autoregressive model was used to estimate the power and coherence of estimated activity at the virtual sensors. Event-related desynchronisation (ERD) during VM was observed in early visual areas, the rostral part of the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), the right IFG, the superior parietal lobules, and the left hand motor cortex (M1). Functional coupling in the alpha frequency band bridged the regional activities observed in motor and visual cortices (the start and the end points in the visuomotor loop) through the left or right IFG. Coherence between the left IFG and left M1 correlated inversely with the task performance. Our results indicate that an occipital-prefrontal-motor functional network facilitates the modulation of instructed motor responses to visual cues. This network may supplement the mechanism for guiding actions that is fully incorporated into the dorsal visual stream. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. Addressing grammar in the interaction task-based learning environment

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    Davis Brent M.

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available One of the major problems in language teaching is developing grammatical accuracy. This paper proposes that using error correction based on a functional grammar in a task-based learning approach may be a suitable solution. Towards this end an emic (using categories intrinsic to the language functional grammar of the verb phrase is proposed and a description of how this fits into the focus on form component of task-based learning is provided.

  13. Task design for improving students’ engagement in mathematics learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khairunnisa

    2018-01-01

    This article analysed the importance of task design as one of the instruments in the learning and its application in several studies. Through task design, students engage in learning caused them enthusiastically in expressing ideas, opinion or knowledge of them. Thus, the teacher was able to gain an idea of knowledge belonging to students. By using this information, teachers are able to develop the thinking ability of students.

  14. COMMUNICATION: On variability and use of rat primary motor cortex responses in behavioral task discrimination

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jensen, Winnie; Rousche, Patrick J.

    2006-03-01

    The success of a cortical motor neuroprosthetic system will rely on the system's ability to effectively execute complex motor tasks in a changing environment. Invasive, intra-cortical electrodes have been successfully used to predict joint movement and grip force of a robotic arm/hand with a non-human primate (Chapin J K, Moxon K A, Markowitz R S and Nicolelis M A L 1999 Real-time control of a robotic arm using simultaneously recorded neurons in the motor cortex Nat. Neurosci. 2 664-70). It is well known that cortical encoding occurs with a high degree of cortical plasticity and depends on both the functional and behavioral context. Questions on the expected robustness of future motor prosthesis systems therefore still remain. The objective of the present work was to study the effect of minor changes in functional movement strategies on the M1 encoding. We compared the M1 encoding in freely moving, non-constrained animals that performed two similar behavioral tasks with the same end-goal, and investigated if these behavioral tasks could be discriminated based on the M1 recordings. The rats depressed a response paddle either with a set of restrictive bars ('WB') or without the bars ('WOB') placed in front of the paddle. The WB task required changes in the motor strategy to complete the paddle press and resulted in highly stereotyped movements, whereas in the WOB task the movement strategy was not restricted. Neural population activity was recorded from 16-channel micro-wire arrays and data up to 200 ms before a paddle hit were analyzed off-line. The analysis showed a significant neural firing difference between the two similar WB and WOB tasks, and using principal component analysis it was possible to distinguish between the two tasks with a best classification at 76.6%. While the results are dependent upon a small, randomly sampled neural population, they indicate that information about similar behavioral tasks may be extracted from M1 based on relatively few

  15. Robust visual tracking via structured multi-task sparse learning

    KAUST Repository

    Zhang, Tianzhu; Ghanem, Bernard; Liu, Si; Ahuja, Narendra

    2012-01-01

    In this paper, we formulate object tracking in a particle filter framework as a structured multi-task sparse learning problem, which we denote as Structured Multi-Task Tracking (S-MTT). Since we model particles as linear combinations of dictionary

  16. Assessment for Learning Tasks and the Peer Assessment Process

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lauf, Lorraine; Dole, Shelley

    2010-01-01

    A program of Assessment for Learning (AfL) was implemented with 107 Year 12 students as part of their preparation for a major external test. Students completed extended mathematics tasks and selected student responses were used for peer assessment purposes. This paper reports on two of the AfL elements, namely task selection and peer assessment as…

  17. Designing Digital Problem Based Learning Tasks that Motivate Students

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Loon, Anne-Marieke; Ros, Anje; Martens, Rob

    2013-01-01

    This study examines whether teachers are able to apply the principles of autonomy support and structure support in designing digital problem based learning (PBL) tasks. We examine whether these tasks are more autonomy- and structure-supportive and whether primary and secondary school students experience greater autonomy, competence, and motivation…

  18. Task-irrelevant emotion facilitates face discrimination learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lorenzino, Martina; Caudek, Corrado

    2015-03-01

    We understand poorly how the ability to discriminate faces from one another is shaped by visual experience. The purpose of the present study is to determine whether face discrimination learning can be facilitated by facial emotions. To answer this question, we used a task-irrelevant perceptual learning paradigm because it closely mimics the learning processes that, in daily life, occur without a conscious intention to learn and without an attentional focus on specific facial features. We measured face discrimination thresholds before and after training. During the training phase (4 days), participants performed a contrast discrimination task on face images. They were not informed that we introduced (task-irrelevant) subtle variations in the face images from trial to trial. For the Identity group, the task-irrelevant features were variations along a morphing continuum of facial identity. For the Emotion group, the task-irrelevant features were variations along an emotional expression morphing continuum. The Control group did not undergo contrast discrimination learning and only performed the pre-training and post-training tests, with the same temporal gap between them as the other two groups. Results indicate that face discrimination improved, but only for the Emotion group. Participants in the Emotion group, moreover, showed face discrimination improvements also for stimulus variations along the facial identity dimension, even if these (task-irrelevant) stimulus features had not been presented during training. The present results highlight the importance of emotions for face discrimination learning. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Cognitive-motor dual-task ability of athletes with and without intellectual impairment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Biesen, Debbie; Jacobs, Lore; McCulloch, Katina; Janssens, Luc; Vanlandewijck, Yves C

    2018-03-01

    Cognition is important in many sports, for example, making split-second-decisions under pressure, or memorising complex movement sequences. The dual-task (DT) paradigm is an ecologically valid approach for the assessment of cognitive function in conjunction with motor demands. This study aimed to determine the impact of impaired intelligence on DT performance. The motor task required balancing on one leg on a beam, and the cognitive task was a multiple-object-tracking (MOT) task assessing dynamic visual-search capacity. The sample included 206 well-trained athletes with and without intellectual impairment (II), matched for sport, age and training volume (140 males, 66 females, M age = 23.2 ± 4.1 years, M training experience = 12.3 ± 5.7 years). In the single-task condition, II-athletes showed reduced balance control (F = 55.9, P balance and the MOT task between both groups. The DT costs were significantly larger for the II-athletes (-8.28% versus -1.34% for MOT and -33.13% versus -12.89% for balance). The assessment of MOT in a DT paradigm provided insight in how impaired intelligence constrains the ability of II-athletes to successfully perform at the highest levels in the complex and dynamical sport-environment.

  20. Variability and practice load in motor learning. [Variabilidad y carga de práctica en el aprendizaje motor].

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Francisco Javier Moreno

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Previous studies have pointed out the convenience of taking the characteristics of the skill to be learned and the intrinsic characteristics of the learners into account when designing practice tasks. Nevertheless, few studies have manipulated the amount of variable practice. The ability to adapt, as an inherent feature of biological systems, can be an adequate framework to explain and predict motor learning processes. This paper is based on adaption processes explained under the theory of allostasis and the general adaption syndrome and shares the background of the Dynamic Systems Theory, to propose the concept of practice load as a useful tool to quantify variability of practice in motor learning. From this standpoint, the conditions of variable practice are reviewed to be a stimulus in an adequate magnitude and direction to take the learner to a higher level of performance and hence to optimize motor learning. Resumen Muchos autores han recomendado la conveniencia de ajustar los niveles de práctica variable teniendo en cuenta las características de la tarea y la variabilidad intrínseca que muestra el aprendiz en la ejecución de la habilidad. Sin embargo, no son numerosos los trabajos que han manipulado varios niveles de cantidad de variabilidad al practicar. La capacidad de adaptación, como rasgo de los sistemas biológicos puede resultar un marco adecuado para afrontar esta cuestión. En este trabajo, apoyado en los procesos de adaptación explicados bajo las teorías de alostasis y el síndrome general de adaptación (GAS, y bajo presupuestos compartidos por la Teoría General de Sistemas Dinámicos, propondrá el concepto de carga de práctica como una herramienta para cuantificar la práctica en el aprendizaje motor. Bajo esta perspectiva se revisan las condiciones en las que la práctica en variabilidad debe modularse, para suponer una estimulación que facilite al aprendiz una adaptación a un nivel de rendimiento superior y con

  1. Motor learning and working memory in children born preterm: a systematic review.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jongbloed-Pereboom, M.; Janssen, A.J.W.M.; Steenbergen, B.; Nijhuis-Van der Sanden, M.W.G.

    2012-01-01

    Children born preterm have a higher risk for developing motor, cognitive, and behavioral problems. Motor problems can occur in combination with working memory problems, and working memory is important for explicit learning of motor skills. The relation between motor learning and working memory has

  2. Motor learning and working memory in children born preterm: A systematic review

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jongbloed-Pereboom, M.; Janssen, A.J.W.M.; Steenbergen, B.; Nijhuis-Van der Sanden, M.W.G.

    2012-01-01

    Children born preterm have a higher risk for developing motor, cognitive, and behavioral problems. Motor problems can occur in combination with working memory problems, and working memory is important for explicit learning of motor skills. The relation between motor learning and working memory has

  3. Motivated Learning with Digital Learning Tasks: What about Autonomy and Structure?

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Loon, Anne-Marieke; Ros, Anje; Martens, Rob

    2012-01-01

    In the present study, the ways in which digital learning tasks contribute to students' intrinsic motivation and learning outcomes were examined. In particular, this study explored the relative contributions of autonomy support and the provision of structure in digital learning tasks. Participants were 320 fifth- and sixth-grade students from eight…

  4. Abnormal motor cortex excitability during linguistic tasks in adductor-type spasmodic dysphonia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suppa, A; Marsili, L; Giovannelli, F; Di Stasio, F; Rocchi, L; Upadhyay, N; Ruoppolo, G; Cincotta, M; Berardelli, A

    2015-08-01

    In healthy subjects (HS), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) applied during 'linguistic' tasks discloses excitability changes in the dominant hemisphere primary motor cortex (M1). We investigated 'linguistic' task-related cortical excitability modulation in patients with adductor-type spasmodic dysphonia (ASD), a speech-related focal dystonia. We studied 10 ASD patients and 10 HS. Speech examination included voice cepstral analysis. We investigated the dominant/non-dominant M1 excitability at baseline, during 'linguistic' (reading aloud/silent reading/producing simple phonation) and 'non-linguistic' tasks (looking at non-letter strings/producing oral movements). Motor evoked potentials (MEPs) were recorded from the contralateral hand muscles. We measured the cortical silent period (CSP) length and tested MEPs in HS and patients performing the 'linguistic' tasks with different voice intensities. We also examined MEPs in HS and ASD during hand-related 'action-verb' observation. Patients were studied under and not-under botulinum neurotoxin-type A (BoNT-A). In HS, TMS over the dominant M1 elicited larger MEPs during 'reading aloud' than during the other 'linguistic'/'non-linguistic' tasks. Conversely, in ASD, TMS over the dominant M1 elicited increased-amplitude MEPs during 'reading aloud' and 'syllabic phonation' tasks. CSP length was shorter in ASD than in HS and remained unchanged in both groups performing 'linguistic'/'non-linguistic' tasks. In HS and ASD, 'linguistic' task-related excitability changes were present regardless of the different voice intensities. During hand-related 'action-verb' observation, MEPs decreased in HS, whereas in ASD they increased. In ASD, BoNT-A improved speech, as demonstrated by cepstral analysis and restored the TMS abnormalities. ASD reflects dominant hemisphere excitability changes related to 'linguistic' tasks; BoNT-A returns these excitability changes to normal. © 2015 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and John

  5. Lessons Learned from Crowdsourcing Complex Engineering Tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Staffelbach, Matthew; Sempolinski, Peter; Kijewski-Correa, Tracy; Thain, Douglas; Wei, Daniel; Kareem, Ahsan; Madey, Gregory

    2015-01-01

    Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining needed ideas, services, or content by requesting contributions from a large group of people. Amazon Mechanical Turk is a web marketplace for crowdsourcing microtasks, such as answering surveys and image tagging. We explored the limits of crowdsourcing by using Mechanical Turk for a more complicated task: analysis and creation of wind simulations. Our investigation examined the feasibility of using crowdsourcing for complex, highly technical tasks. This was done to determine if the benefits of crowdsourcing could be harnessed to accurately and effectively contribute to solving complex real world engineering problems. Of course, untrained crowds cannot be used as a mere substitute for trained expertise. Rather, we sought to understand how crowd workers can be used as a large pool of labor for a preliminary analysis of complex data. We compared the skill of the anonymous crowd workers from Amazon Mechanical Turk with that of civil engineering graduate students, making a first pass at analyzing wind simulation data. For the first phase, we posted analysis questions to Amazon crowd workers and to two groups of civil engineering graduate students. A second phase of our experiment instructed crowd workers and students to create simulations on our Virtual Wind Tunnel website to solve a more complex task. With a sufficiently comprehensive tutorial and compensation similar to typical crowd-sourcing wages, we were able to enlist crowd workers to effectively complete longer, more complex tasks with competence comparable to that of graduate students with more comprehensive, expert-level knowledge. Furthermore, more complex tasks require increased communication with the workers. As tasks become more complex, the employment relationship begins to become more akin to outsourcing than crowdsourcing. Through this investigation, we were able to stretch and explore the limits of crowdsourcing as a tool for solving complex problems.

  6. Motor Speech Sequence Learning in Adults Who Stutter

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mahsa Aghazamani

    2018-04-01

    Conclusion The results of this study showed that PWS show improvement in accuracy, reaction time and sequence duration variables from day 1 to day 3. Also, PWS show more substantial number of errors compared to PNS, but this difference was not significant between the two groups. Similar results were obtained for the reaction time. Results of this study demonstrated that PWS show slower sequence duration compared to PNS. Some studies suggested that this could be because people who stutter use a control strategy to reduce the number of errors, although many studies suggested that this may indicate motor learning. According to speech motor skills hypothesis, it can be concluded that people who stutter have limitations in motor speech learning abilities. The findings of the present study could have clinical implication for the treatment of stuttering.

  7. Motor-Enriched Learning Activities Can Improve Mathematical Performance in Preadolescent Children

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beck, Mikkel M.; Lind, Rune R.; Geertsen, Svend S.; Ritz, Christian; Lundbye-Jensen, Jesper; Wienecke, Jacob

    2016-01-01

    Objective: An emerging field of research indicates that physical activity can benefit cognitive functions and academic achievements in children. However, less is known about how academic achievements can benefit from specific types of motor activities (e.g., fine and gross) integrated into learning activities. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate whether fine or gross motor activity integrated into math lessons (i.e., motor-enrichment) could improve children's mathematical performance. Methods: A 6-week within school cluster-randomized intervention study investigated the effects of motor-enriched mathematical teaching in Danish preadolescent children (n = 165, age = 7.5 ± 0.02 years). Three groups were included: a control group (CON), which received non-motor enriched conventional mathematical teaching, a fine motor math group (FMM) and a gross motor math group (GMM), which received mathematical teaching enriched with fine and gross motor activity, respectively. The children were tested before (T0), immediately after (T1) and 8 weeks after the intervention (T2). A standardized mathematical test (50 tasks) was used to evaluate mathematical performance. Furthermore, it was investigated whether motor-enriched math was accompanied by different effects in low and normal math performers. Additionally, the study investigated the potential contribution of cognitive functions and motor skills on mathematical performance. Results: All groups improved their mathematical performance from T0 to T1. However, from T0 to T1, the improvement was significantly greater in GMM compared to FMM (1.87 ± 0.71 correct answers) (p = 0.02). At T2 no significant differences in mathematical performance were observed. A subgroup analysis revealed that normal math-performers benefitted from GMM compared to both CON 1.78 ± 0.73 correct answers (p = 0.04) and FMM 2.14 ± 0.72 correct answers (p = 0.008). These effects were not observed in low math-performers. The effects were partly

  8. Early Boost and Slow Consolidation in Motor Skill Learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hotermans, Christophe; Peigneux, Philippe; de Noordhout, Alain Maertens; Moonen, Gustave; Maquet, Pierre

    2006-01-01

    Motor skill learning is a dynamic process that continues covertly after training has ended and eventually leads to delayed increments in performance. Current theories suggest that this off-line improvement takes time and appears only after several hours. Here we show an early transient and short-lived boost in performance, emerging as early as…

  9. Reductive and Emergent Views on Motor Learning in Rehabilitation Practice

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Dijk, Ludger; van der Sluis, Corry; Bongers, Raoul M.

    2017-01-01

    To allow different views on motor learning to inform rehabilitation research, the authors aimed to explicate a frequently missed yet fundamental difference in starting point of such views. By considering how rehabilitation in practice answers the question of what parts an activity consists of,

  10. Task-Based Language Teaching and Expansive Learning Theory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robertson, Margaret

    2014-01-01

    Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) has become increasingly recognized as an effective pedagogy, but its location in generalized sociocultural theories of learning has led to misunderstandings and criticism. The purpose of this article is to explain the congruence between TBLT and Expansive Learning Theory and the benefits of doing so. The merit…

  11. Roles of Knowledge in Motor Learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1987-02-02

    arm dynamics, previous single trajectory learning algorithms, and much of traditional adaptive control. Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Emilio Bizzi Eugene...and Lim, S.K., 1984, *Joint torque measurement of a direct-drive arm,’ Proc. 23rd Con!. Decision ad Control, Las Vegas , Dec. 12-14, pp. 1332-1337...Dynamic Systems By Learning: A New Control Theory For Servomechanisms of Mechatronics Systems." Proc. 23rd IEEE CDC, Las Vegas , Nevada Arimoto, S., S

  12. Unifying practice schedules in the timescales of motor learning and performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Verhoeven, F Martijn; Newell, Karl M

    2018-06-01

    In this article, we elaborate from a multiple time scales model of motor learning to examine the independent and integrated effects of massed and distributed practice schedules within- and between-sessions on the persistent (learning) and transient (warm-up, fatigue) processes of performance change. The timescales framework reveals the influence of practice distribution on four learning-related processes: the persistent processes of learning and forgetting, and the transient processes of warm-up decrement and fatigue. The superposition of the different processes of practice leads to a unified set of effects for massed and distributed practice within- and between-sessions in learning motor tasks. This analysis of the interaction between the duration of the interval of practice trials or sessions and parameters of the introduced time scale model captures the unified influence of the between trial and session scheduling of practice on learning and performance. It provides a starting point for new theoretically based hypotheses, and the scheduling of practice that minimizes the negative effects of warm-up decrement, fatigue and forgetting while exploiting the positive effects of learning and retention. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  13. Configural Response Learning: The Acquisition of a Nonpredictive Motor Skill

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hazeltine, Eliot; Aparicio, Paul; Weinstein, Andrea; Ivry, Richard B.

    2007-01-01

    This study examined the representational nature of configural response learning using a task that required simultaneous keypresses with 2 or 3 fingers, similar to the production of chords on the piano. If the benefits of learning are related to the retrieval of individual stimulus-response mappings, performance should depend on the frequencies of…

  14. Incidental Learning of Rewarded Associations Bolsters Learning on an Associative Task

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freedberg, Michael; Schacherer, Jonathan; Hazeltine, Eliot

    2016-01-01

    Reward has been shown to change behavior as a result of incentive learning (by motivating the individual to increase their effort) and instrumental learning (by increasing the frequency of a particular behavior). However, Palminteri et al. (2011) demonstrated that reward can also improve the incidental learning of a motor skill even when…

  15. Effects of dual task difficulty in motor and cognitive performance: Differences between adults and adolescents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bustillo-Casero, Pilar; Villarrasa-Sapiña, Israel; García-Massó, Xavier

    2017-10-01

    In the present study our aim was to compare dual-task performance in thirteen adolescents and fifteen young adults while concurrently performing a cognitive and a motor task. The postural control variables were obtained under three different conditions: i) bipedal stance, ii) tandem stance and iii) unipedal stance. The cognitive task consisted of a backward digit span test in which the participants were asked to memorize a sequence of numbers and then repeat the number in reverse order at three different difficulty levels (i.e. with 3, 4 and 5 digits). The difficulty of the cognitive task was seen to have different effects on adolescents and young adults. Adolescents seem to prioritize postural control during high difficulty postural conditions while a cross-domain competition model appeared in easy postural conditions. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. Heuristic for Task-Worker Assignment with Varying Learning Slopes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wipawee Tharmmaphornphilas

    2010-04-01

    Full Text Available Fashion industry has variety products, so the multi-skilled workers are required to improve flexibility in production and assignment. Generally the supervisor will assign task to the workers based on skill and skill levels of worker. Since in fashion industry new product styles are launched more frequently and the order size tends to be smaller, the workers always learn when the raw material and the production process changes. Consequently they require less time to produce the succeeding units of a task based on their learning ability. Since the workers have both experience and inexperience workers, so each worker has different skill level and learning ability. Consequently, the assignment which assumed constant skill level is not proper to use. This paper proposes a task-worker assignment considering worker skill levels and learning abilities. Processing time of each worker changes along production period due to a worker learning ability. We focus on a task-worker assignment in a fashion industry where tasks are ordered in series; the number of tasks is greater than the number of workers. Therefore, workers can perform multiple assignments followed the precedence restriction as an assembly line balancing problem. The problem is formulated in an integer linear programming model with objective to minimize makespan. A heuristic is proposed to determine the lower bound (LB and the upper bound (UB of the problem and the best assignment is determined. The performance of the heuristic method is tested by comparing quality of solution and computational time to optimal solutions.

  17. Distraction during learning with hypermedia: Difficult tasks help to keep task goals on track

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katharina eScheiter

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available In educational hypermedia environments, students are often confronted with potential sources of distraction arising from additional information that, albeit interesting, is unrelated to their current task goal. The paper investigates the conditions under which distraction occurs and hampers performance. Based on theories of volitional action control it was hypothesized that interesting information, especially if related to a pending goal, would interfere with task performance only when working on easy, but not on difficult tasks. In Experiment 1, 66 students learned about probability theory using worked examples and solved corresponding test problems, whose task difficulty was manipulated. As a second factor, the presence of interesting information unrelated to the primary task was varied. Results showed that students solved more easy than difficult probability problems correctly. However, the presence of interesting, but task-irrelevant information did not interfere with performance. In Experiment 2, 68 students again engaged in example-based learning and problem solving in the presence of task-irrelevant information. Problem-solving difficulty was varied as a first factor. Additionally, the presence of a pending goal related to the task-irrelevant information was manipulated. As expected, problem-solving performance declined when a pending goal was present during working on easy problems, whereas no interference was observed for difficult problems. Moreover, the presence of a pending goal reduced the time on task-relevant information and increased the time on task-irrelevant information while working on easy tasks. However, as revealed by mediation analyses these changes in overt information processing behavior did not explain the decline in problem-solving performance. As an alternative explanation it is suggested that goal conflicts resulting from pending goals claim cognitive resources, which are then no longer available for learning and

  18. Aging increases the susceptibility to motor memory interference and reduces off-line gains in motor skill learning

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Roig, Marc; Ritterband-Rosenbaum, Anina; Jensen, Jesper Lundbye

    2014-01-01

    Declines in the ability to learn motor skills in older adults are commonly attributed to deficits in the encoding of sensorimotor information during motor practice. We investigated whether aging also impairs motor memory consolidation by assessing the susceptibility to memory interference and off...... greater susceptibility to memory interference and no off-line gains in motor skill learning. Performing B produced memory interference and reduced off-line gains only in the older group. However, older adults also showed deficits in memory consolidation independent of the interfering effects of B. Age......-related declines in motor skill learning are not produced exclusively by deficits in the encoding of sensorimotor information during practice. Aging also increases the susceptibility to memory interference and reduces off-line gains in motor skill learning after practice....

  19. Active controllers and the time duration to learn a task

    Science.gov (United States)

    Repperger, D. W.; Goodyear, C.

    1986-01-01

    An active controller was used to help train naive subjects involved in a compensatory tracking task. The controller is called active in this context because it moves the subject's hand in a direction to improve tracking. It is of interest here to question whether the active controller helps the subject to learn a task more rapidly than the passive controller. Six subjects, inexperienced to compensatory tracking, were run to asymptote root mean square error tracking levels with an active controller or a passive controller. The time required to learn the task was defined several different ways. The results of the different measures of learning were examined across pools of subjects and across controllers using statistical tests. The comparison between the active controller and the passive controller as to their ability to accelerate the learning process as well as reduce levels of asymptotic tracking error is reported here.

  20. Task-Relevant Information Modulates Primary Motor Cortex Activity Before Movement Onset.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Calderon, Cristian B; Van Opstal, Filip; Peigneux, Philippe; Verguts, Tom; Gevers, Wim

    2018-01-01

    Monkey neurophysiology research supports the affordance competition hypothesis (ACH) proposing that cognitive information useful for action selection is integrated in sensorimotor areas. In this view, action selection would emerge from the simultaneous representation of competing action plans, in parallel biased by relevant task factors. This biased competition would take place up to primary motor cortex (M1). Although ACH is plausible in environments affording choices between actions, its relevance for human decision making is less clear. To address this issue, we designed an functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment modeled after monkey neurophysiology studies in which human participants processed cues conveying predictive information about upcoming button presses. Our results demonstrate that, as predicted by the ACH, predictive information (i.e., the relevant task factor) biases activity of primary motor regions. Specifically, first, activity before movement onset in contralateral M1 increases as the competition is biased in favor of a specific button press relative to activity in ipsilateral M1. Second, motor regions were more tightly coupled with fronto-parietal regions when competition between potential actions was high, again suggesting that motor regions are also part of the biased competition network. Our findings support the idea that action planning dynamics as proposed in the ACH are valid both in human and non-human primates.

  1. Second-order motor planning in children: insights from a cup-manipulation-task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wunsch, Kathrin; Weiss, Daniel J; Schack, Thomas; Weigelt, Matthias

    2015-07-01

    The present study examined the development of anticipatory motor planning in an object manipulation task that has been used to successfully demonstrate motor planning in non-human primates (Weiss et al. in Psychol Sci 18:1063-1068, 2007). Seventy-five participants from four different age groups participated in a cup-manipulation task. One group was preschool children (average age of 5.1 years), two groups were primary school children (7.7 and 9.8 years old respectively) and the final group was comprised of adults. The experimental task entailed reaching for a plastic cup that was vertically suspended in an apparatus in either upright or inverted orientation, removing the cup by its stem and then retrieving a small toy from the inside of the cup. When the cup was inverted in the apparatus, evidence for anticipatory motor planning could be achieved by initially gripping the stem using an inverted (thumb-down) grip posture. We found that when the cup was in upright orientation, all participants reached for the cup using an upright grip (i.e., thumb-up posture). However, when the cup was inverted in the apparatus, only adults consistently used an inverted grasping posture, though the percentage of inverted grips among participants did increase with age. These results suggest a protracted development for anticipatory motor planning abilities in children. Surprisingly, the performance of adults on this task more closely resembles the performance of several nonhuman primate species as opposed to children even at approximately 10 years of age. We discuss how morphological constraints on flexibility may help account for these findings.

  2. Relationship between reaction time, fine motor control, and visual-spatial perception on vigilance and visual-motor tasks in 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome.

    LENUS (Irish Health Repository)

    Howley, Sarah A

    2012-10-15

    22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11DS) is a common microdeletion disorder associated with mild to moderate intellectual disability and specific neurocognitive deficits, particularly in visual-motor and attentional abilities. Currently there is evidence that the visual-motor profile of 22q11DS is not entirely mediated by intellectual disability and that these individuals have specific deficits in visual-motor integration. However, the extent to which attentional deficits, such as vigilance, influence impairments on visual motor tasks in 22q11DS is unclear. This study examines visual-motor abilities and reaction time using a range of standardised tests in 35 children with 22q11DS, 26 age-matched typically developing (TD) sibling controls and 17 low-IQ community controls. Statistically significant deficits were observed in the 22q11DS group compared to both low-IQ and TD control groups on a timed fine motor control and accuracy task. The 22q11DS group performed significantly better than the low-IQ control group on an untimed drawing task and were equivalent to the TD control group on point accuracy and simple reaction time tests. Results suggest that visual motor deficits in 22q11DS are primarily attributable to deficits in psychomotor speed which becomes apparent when tasks are timed versus untimed. Moreover, the integration of visual and motor information may be intact and, indeed, represent a relative strength in 22q11DS when there are no time constraints imposed. While this may have significant implications for cognitive remediation strategies for children with 22q11DS, the relationship between reaction time, visual reasoning, cognitive complexity, fine motor speed and accuracy, and graphomotor ability on visual-motor tasks is still unclear.

  3. Using the Hand Laterality Judgement Task to assess motor imagery : a study of practice effects in repeated measurements

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boonstra, Anne M.; de Vries, Sjoerd J.; Veenstra, Evelien; Tepper, Marga; Feenstra, Wya; Otten, Egbert

    The aim of this study was to determine whether there is a practice effect on the Hand Laterality Judgement Task (HLJT). The HLJT task is a mental rotation task that can be used to assess motor imagery ability in stroke patients. Thirty-three healthy individuals performed the HLJT and two control

  4. A neural network-based exploratory learning and motor planning system for co-robots

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Byron V Galbraith

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Collaborative robots, or co-robots, are semi-autonomous robotic agents designed to work alongside humans in shared workspaces. To be effective, co-robots require the ability to respond and adapt to dynamic scenarios encountered in natural environments. One way to achieve this is through exploratory learning, or learning by doing, an unsupervised method in which co-robots are able to build an internal model for motor planning and coordination based on real-time sensory inputs. In this paper, we present an adaptive neural network-based system for co-robot control that employs exploratory learning to achieve the coordinated motor planning needed to navigate toward, reach for, and grasp distant objects. To validate this system we used the 11-degrees-of-freedom RoPro Calliope mobile robot. Through motor babbling of its wheels and arm, the Calliope learned how to relate visual and proprioceptive information to achieve hand-eye-body coordination. By continually evaluating sensory inputs and externally provided goal directives, the Calliope was then able to autonomously select the appropriate wheel and joint velocities needed to perform its assigned task, such as following a moving target or retrieving an indicated object.

  5. Motor learning characterization in people with autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review

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    Íbis Ariana Peña de Moraes

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder primarily characterized by deficits in social interaction, communication and implicit skill learning. OBJECTIVE: To analyse the results of research on "motor learning" and the means used for measuring "autistic disorder". METHODS: A systematic literature search was done using Medline/PubMed, Web of Science, BVS (virtual health library, and PsycINFO. We included articles that contained the keywords "autism" and "motor learning". The variables considered were the methodological aspects; results presented, and the methodological quality of the studies. RESULTS: A total of 42 studies were identified; 33 articles were excluded because they did not meet the inclusion criteria. Data were extracted from nine eligible studies and summarized. CONCLUSION: We concluded that although individuals with ASD showed performance difficulties in different memory and motor learning tasks, acquisition of skills still takes place in this population; however, this skill acquisition is related to heterogeneous events, occurring without the awareness of the individual.

  6. A neural network-based exploratory learning and motor planning system for co-robots.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galbraith, Byron V; Guenther, Frank H; Versace, Massimiliano

    2015-01-01

    Collaborative robots, or co-robots, are semi-autonomous robotic agents designed to work alongside humans in shared workspaces. To be effective, co-robots require the ability to respond and adapt to dynamic scenarios encountered in natural environments. One way to achieve this is through exploratory learning, or "learning by doing," an unsupervised method in which co-robots are able to build an internal model for motor planning and coordination based on real-time sensory inputs. In this paper, we present an adaptive neural network-based system for co-robot control that employs exploratory learning to achieve the coordinated motor planning needed to navigate toward, reach for, and grasp distant objects. To validate this system we used the 11-degrees-of-freedom RoPro Calliope mobile robot. Through motor babbling of its wheels and arm, the Calliope learned how to relate visual and proprioceptive information to achieve hand-eye-body coordination. By continually evaluating sensory inputs and externally provided goal directives, the Calliope was then able to autonomously select the appropriate wheel and joint velocities needed to perform its assigned task, such as following a moving target or retrieving an indicated object.

  7. Deficit in implicit motor sequence learning among children and adolescents with spastic cerebral palsy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gofer-Levi, Moran; Silberg, Tamar; Brezner, Amichai; Vakil, Eli

    2013-11-01

    Skill learning (SL) is learning as a result of repeated exposure and practice, which encompasses independent explicit (response to instructions) and implicit (response to hidden regularities) processes. Little is known about the effects of developmental disorders, such as Cerebral Palsy (CP), on the ability to acquire new skills. We compared performance of CP and typically developing (TD) children and adolescents in completing the serial reaction time (SRT) task, which is a motor sequence learning task, and examined the impact of various factors on this performance as indicative of the ability to acquire motor skills. While both groups improved in performance, participants with CP were significantly slower than TD controls and did not learn the implicit sequence. Our results indicate that SL in children and adolescents with CP is qualitatively and quantitatively different than that of their peers. Understanding the unique aspects of SL in children and adolescents with CP might help plan appropriate and efficient interventions. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Frequency and precision of feedback and the adaptive process of learning a dual motor task Frecuencia y necesidad de feedback en el proceso adaptativo de aprendizaje de una tarea motora dual Frequência e precisão de "feedback" e o processo adaptativo de aprendizagem de uma tarefa motora de dupla demanda

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    Cássio Miranda Meira Junior

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available This work investigated the effects of frequency and precision of feedback on the learning of a dual-motor task. One hundred and twenty adults were randomly assigned to six groups of different knowledge of results (KR, frequency (100%, 66% or 33% and precision (specific or general levels. In the stabilization phase, participants performed the dual task (combination of linear positioning and manual force control with the provision of KR. Ten non-KR adaptation trials were performed for the same task, but with the introduction of an electromagnetic opposite traction force. The analysis showed a significant main effect for frequency of KR. The participants who received KR in 66% of the stabilization trials showed superior adaptation performance than those who received 100% or 33%. This finding reinforces that there is an optimal level of information, neither too high nor too low, for motor learning to be effective.El presente estudio investigó los efectos de la frecuencia y necesidad de feedback en el aprendizaje de una tarea motora de dupla demanda. 120 adultos fueron aleatoriamente designados a seis grupos de diferentes niveles de frecuencia (100%, 66% o 33% y necesidad (específico o general de conocimiento de resultados (CR. En la fase de estabilización, la tarea de posicionamiento lineal y control de fuerza manual fue ejecutada con CR. Diez tentativas de adaptación sin CR fueron ejecutadas durante la misma tarea, con la introducción de una fuerza electromagnética contraria a la dirección del movimiento. El análisis indicó efecto significativo en el factor "Frecuencia de CR": aquellos que recibieron CR en 66% de las tentativas de estabilización obtuvieron desempeño de adaptación superior cuando comparados a aquellos que recibieron 100% o 33% de CR. Ese resultado refuerza la existencia de un nivel óptimo de información, ni muy alto ni muy bajo, para que el aprendizaje sea optimizado.O presente estudo investigou os efeitos da frequ

  9. Motor Learning as Young Gymnast’s Talent Indicator

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    Alessandra di Cagno

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available Talent identification plans are designed to select young athletes with the ability to achieve future success in sports. The aim of the study was to verify the predictive value of coordination and precision in skill acquisition during motor learning, as indicators of talent. One hundred gymnasts, both cadets (aged 11.5 ± 0.5 yr. and juniors (aged 13.3 ± 0.5 years, competing at the national level, were enrolled in the study. The assessment of motor coordination involved three tests of the validated Hirtz’s battery (1985, and motor skill learning involved four technical tests, specific of rhythmic gymnastics. All the tests were correlated with ranking and performance scores reached by each gymnast in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 National Championships. Coordination tests were significantly correlated to 2013 Championships scores (p < 0.01 and ranking (p < 0.05 of elite cadet athletes. Precision, in skill acquisition test results, was positively and significantly associated with scores in 2013 (adj. R2 = 0.26, p < 0.01. Gymnasts with the best results in coordination and motor learning tests went on to achieve better competition results in three- year time.

  10. Transfer of motor learning from virtual to natural environments in individuals with cerebral palsy.

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    de Mello Monteiro, Carlos Bandeira; Massetti, Thais; da Silva, Talita Dias; van der Kamp, John; de Abreu, Luiz Carlos; Leone, Claudio; Savelsbergh, Geert J P

    2014-10-01

    With the growing accessibility of computer-assisted technology, rehabilitation programs for individuals with cerebral palsy (CP) increasingly use virtual reality environments to enhance motor practice. Thus, it is important to examine whether performance improvements in the virtual environment generalize to the natural environment. To examine this issue, we had 64 individuals, 32 of which were individuals with CP and 32 typically developing individuals, practice two coincidence-timing tasks. In the more tangible button-press task, the individuals were required to 'intercept' a falling virtual object at the moment it reached the interception point by pressing a key. In the more abstract, less tangible task, they were instructed to 'intercept' the virtual object by making a hand movement in a virtual environment. The results showed that individuals with CP timed less accurate than typically developing individuals, especially for the more abstract task in the virtual environment. The individuals with CP did-as did their typically developing peers-improve coincidence timing with practice on both tasks. Importantly, however, these improvements were specific to the practice environment; there was no transfer of learning. It is concluded that the implementation of virtual environments for motor rehabilitation in individuals with CP should not be taken for granted but needs to be considered carefully. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Deep Multi-Task Learning for Tree Genera Classification

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    Ko, C.; Kang, J.; Sohn, G.

    2018-05-01

    The goal for our paper is to classify tree genera using airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data with Convolution Neural Network (CNN) - Multi-task Network (MTN) implementation. Unlike Single-task Network (STN) where only one task is assigned to the learning outcome, MTN is a deep learning architect for learning a main task (classification of tree genera) with other tasks (in our study, classification of coniferous and deciduous) simultaneously, with shared classification features. The main contribution of this paper is to improve classification accuracy from CNN-STN to CNN-MTN. This is achieved by introducing a concurrence loss (Lcd) to the designed MTN. This term regulates the overall network performance by minimizing the inconsistencies between the two tasks. Results show that we can increase the classification accuracy from 88.7 % to 91.0 % (from STN to MTN). The second goal of this paper is to solve the problem of small training sample size by multiple-view data generation. The motivation of this goal is to address one of the most common problems in implementing deep learning architecture, the insufficient number of training data. We address this problem by simulating training dataset with multiple-view approach. The promising results from this paper are providing a basis for classifying a larger number of dataset and number of classes in the future.

  12. Mild cognitive impairment: loss of linguistic task-induced changes in motor cortex excitability.

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    Bracco, L; Giovannelli, F; Bessi, V; Borgheresi, A; Di Tullio, A; Sorbi, S; Zaccara, G; Cincotta, M

    2009-03-10

    In amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), functional neuronal connectivity may be altered, as suggested by quantitative EEG and neuroimaging data. In young healthy humans, the execution of linguistic tasks modifies the excitability of the hand area of the dominant primary motor cortex (M1(hand)), as tested by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). We used TMS to investigate functional connectivity between language-related cortical areas and M1(hand) in aMCI. Ten elderly women with aMCI and 10 age-matched women were recruited. All participants were right handed and underwent a neuropsychological evaluation. In the first TMS experiment, participants performed three different tasks: reading aloud, viewing of non-letter strings (baseline), and nonverbal oral movements. The second experiment included the baseline condition and three visual searching/matching tasks using letters, geometric shapes, or digits as target stimuli. In controls, motor evoked potentials (MEP) elicited by suprathreshold TMS of the left M1(hand) were significantly larger during reading aloud (170% baseline) than during nonverbal oral movements, whereas no difference was seen for right M1(hand) stimulation. Similarly, MEP elicited by left M1(hand) stimulation during letter and shape searching/matching tasks were significantly larger compared to digit task. In contrast, linguistic task performance did not produce any significant MEP modulation in patients with aMCI, although neuropsychological evaluation showed normal language abilities. Findings suggest that functional connectivity between the language-related brain regions and the dominant M1(hand) may be altered in amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Follow-up studies will reveal whether transcranial magnetic stimulation application during linguistic tasks may contribute to characterize the risk of conversion to Alzheimer disease.

  13. Task-Dependent Intermuscular Motor Unit Synchronization between Medial and Lateral Vastii Muscles during Dynamic and Isometric Squats.

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    Mohr, Maurice; Nann, Marius; von Tscharner, Vinzenz; Eskofier, Bjoern; Nigg, Benno Maurus

    2015-01-01

    Motor unit activity is coordinated between many synergistic muscle pairs but the functional role of this coordination for the motor output is unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the short-term modality of coordinated motor unit activity-the synchronized discharge of individual motor units across muscles within time intervals of 5ms-for the Vastus Medialis (VM) and Lateralis (VL). Furthermore, we studied the task-dependency of intermuscular motor unit synchronization between VM and VL during static and dynamic squatting tasks to provide insight into its functional role. Sixteen healthy male and female participants completed four tasks: Bipedal squats, single-leg squats, an isometric squat, and single-leg balance. Monopolar surface electromyography (EMG) was used to record motor unit activity of VM and VL. For each task, intermuscular motor unit synchronization was determined using a coherence analysis between the raw EMG signals of VM and VL and compared to a reference coherence calculated from two desynchronized EMG signals. The time shift between VM and VL EMG signals was estimated according to the slope of the coherence phase angle spectrum. For all tasks, except for singe-leg balance, coherence between 15-80Hz significantly exceeded the reference. The corresponding time shift between VM and VL was estimated as 4ms. Coherence between 30-60Hz was highest for the bipedal squat, followed by the single-leg squat and the isometric squat. There is substantial short-term motor unit synchronization between VM and VL. Intermuscular motor unit synchronization is enhanced for contractions during dynamic activities, possibly to facilitate a more accurate control of the joint torque, and reduced during single-leg tasks that require balance control and thus, a more independent muscle function. It is proposed that the central nervous system scales the degree of intermuscular motor unit synchronization according to the requirements of the movement task at hand.

  14. Task-Dependent Intermuscular Motor Unit Synchronization between Medial and Lateral Vastii Muscles during Dynamic and Isometric Squats.

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    Maurice Mohr

    Full Text Available Motor unit activity is coordinated between many synergistic muscle pairs but the functional role of this coordination for the motor output is unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the short-term modality of coordinated motor unit activity-the synchronized discharge of individual motor units across muscles within time intervals of 5ms-for the Vastus Medialis (VM and Lateralis (VL. Furthermore, we studied the task-dependency of intermuscular motor unit synchronization between VM and VL during static and dynamic squatting tasks to provide insight into its functional role.Sixteen healthy male and female participants completed four tasks: Bipedal squats, single-leg squats, an isometric squat, and single-leg balance. Monopolar surface electromyography (EMG was used to record motor unit activity of VM and VL. For each task, intermuscular motor unit synchronization was determined using a coherence analysis between the raw EMG signals of VM and VL and compared to a reference coherence calculated from two desynchronized EMG signals. The time shift between VM and VL EMG signals was estimated according to the slope of the coherence phase angle spectrum.For all tasks, except for singe-leg balance, coherence between 15-80Hz significantly exceeded the reference. The corresponding time shift between VM and VL was estimated as 4ms. Coherence between 30-60Hz was highest for the bipedal squat, followed by the single-leg squat and the isometric squat.There is substantial short-term motor unit synchronization between VM and VL. Intermuscular motor unit synchronization is enhanced for contractions during dynamic activities, possibly to facilitate a more accurate control of the joint torque, and reduced during single-leg tasks that require balance control and thus, a more independent muscle function. It is proposed that the central nervous system scales the degree of intermuscular motor unit synchronization according to the requirements of the movement

  15. Robot Learning from Demonstration: A Task-level Planning Approach

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    Staffan Ekvall

    2008-09-01

    Full Text Available In this paper, we deal with the problem of learning by demonstration, task level learning and planning for robotic applications that involve object manipulation. Preprogramming robots for execution of complex domestic tasks such as setting a dinner table is of little use, since the same order of subtasks may not be conceivable in the run time due to the changed state of the world. In our approach, we aim to learn the goal of the task and use a task planner to reach the goal given different initial states of the world. For some tasks, there are underlying constraints that must be fulfille, and knowing just the final goal is not sufficient. We propose two techniques for constraint identification. In the first case, the teacher can directly instruct the system about the underlying constraints. In the second case, the constraints are identified by the robot itself based on multiple observations. The constraints are then considered in the planning phase, allowing the task to be executed without violating any of them. We evaluate our work on a real robot performing pick-and-place tasks.

  16. Examining Change in Metacognitive Knowledge and Metacognitive Control During Motor Learning: What Can be Learned by Combining Methodological Approaches?

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    Claire Sangster Jokić

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available Growing recognition of the importance of understanding metacognitive behaviour as it occurs in everyday learning situations has prompted an expansion of the methodological approaches used to examine metacognition. This becomes especially pertinent when examining the process of metacognitive change, where 'on-line' observational approaches able to capture metacognitive performance as it occurs during socially-mediated learning are being increasingly applied. This study applied a mixed methods approach to examine children's metacognitive performance as it was exhibited during participation in an intervention program aimed at addressing motor performance difficulties. Participants in the study were ten 7-9 year old children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD, a condition characterized by poor motor coordination and difficulty acquiring motor-based tasks. All participants engaged in a 10-session program in which children were taught to use a problem-solving strategy for addressing motor performance difficulties. To examine children's metacognitive performance, sessions were video-taped and subsequently analysed using a quantitative observational coding method and an in-depth qualitative review of therapist-child interactions. This allowed for a fine-grained analysis of children's demonstration of metacognitive knowledge and control and how such performance evolved over the course of the program. Of particular interest was the finding that while children were often able to express task-specific knowledge, they failed to apply this knowledge during practice. Conversely, children were often able to demonstrate performance-based evidence for metacognitive control but were not able to make conscious reports of such skill following practice. This finding is consistent with models of metacognitive development which suggest that the emergence of performance-based metacognitive skills precede the ability for the conscious expression of

  17. A randomised controlled trial of sensory awareness training and additional motor practice for learning scalpel skills in podiatry students.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Causby, Ryan S; McDonnell, Michelle N; Reed, Lloyd; Hillier, Susan L

    2016-12-05

    The process of using a scalpel, like all other motor activities, is dependent upon the successful integration of afferent (sensory), cognitive and efferent (motor) processes. During learning of these skills, even if motor practice is carefully monitored there is still an inherent risk involved. It is also possible that this strategy could reinforce high levels of anxiety experienced by the student and affect student self-efficacy, causing detrimental effects on motor learning. An alternative training strategy could be through targeting sensory rather than motor processes. Second year podiatry students who were about to commence learning scalpel skills were recruited. Participants were randomly allocated into sensory awareness training (Sensory), additional motor practice (Motor) or usual teaching only (Control) groups. Participants were then evaluated on psychological measures (Intrinsic Motivation Inventory) and dexterity measures (Purdue Pegboard, Grooved Pegboard Test and a grip-lift task). A total of 44 participants were included in the study. There were no baseline differences or significant differences between the three groups over time on the Perceived Competence, Effort/ Importance or Pressure/ Tension, psychological measures. All groups showed a significant increase in Perceived Competence over time (F 1,41  = 13.796, p = 0.001). Only one variable for the grip-lift task (Preload Duration for the non-dominant hand) showed a significant difference over time between the groups (F 2,41  = 3.280, p = 0.038), specifically, Motor and Control groups. The use of sensory awareness training, or additional motor practice did not provide a more effective alternative compared with usual teaching. Further research may be warranted using more engaged training, provision of supervision and greater participant numbers. Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR): ACTRN12616001428459 . Registered 13 th October 2016. Registered Retrospectively.

  18. Planning-related motor processes underlie mental practice and imitation learning.

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    Bach, Patric; Allami, Bassem Khalaf; Tucker, Mike; Ellis, Rob

    2014-06-01

    It is still controversial whether mental practice-the internal rehearsal of movements to improve later performance-relies on processes engaged during physical motor performance and, if so, which processes these are. We report data from 5 experiments, in which participants mentally practiced complex rhythms with either feet or hands while using the same or different body parts to respond to unrelated sounds. We found that responses were impaired for those body parts that were concurrently used in mental practice, suggesting a binding of body-part-specific motor processes to action plans. This result was found when participants mentally trained to memorize the rhythms, to merely improve their performance, when mental practice and execution directly followed one another and when separated by a different task. Finally, it was found irrespective of whether participants practiced on the basis of a symbolic rhythm description and when they practiced by watching somebody perform the rhythms (imitation learning). The effect was eliminated only when the requirement for mental practice was eliminated from the task while keeping visual stimulation identical. These data link mental practice not to execution but planning related motor processes and reveal that these planning processes underlie both mental practice and imitation learning. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved.

  19. A Mirror Therapy-Based Action Observation Protocol to Improve Motor Learning After Stroke.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harmsen, Wouter J; Bussmann, Johannes B J; Selles, Ruud W; Hurkmans, Henri L P; Ribbers, Gerard M

    2015-07-01

    Mirror therapy is a priming technique to improve motor function of the affected arm after stroke. To investigate whether a mirror therapy-based action observation (AO) protocol contributes to motor learning of the affected arm after stroke. A total of 37 participants in the chronic stage after stroke were randomly allocated to the AO or control observation (CO) group. Participants were instructed to perform an upper-arm reaching task as fast and as fluently as possible. All participants trained the upper-arm reaching task with their affected arm alternated with either AO or CO. Participants in the AO group observed mirrored video tapes of reaching movements performed by their unaffected arm, whereas participants in the CO group observed static photographs of landscapes. The experimental condition effect was investigated by evaluating the primary outcome measure: movement time (in seconds) of the reaching movement, measured by accelerometry. Movement time decreased significantly in both groups: 18.3% in the AO and 9.1% in the CO group. Decrease in movement time was significantly more in the AO compared with the CO group (mean difference = 0.14 s; 95% confidence interval = 0.02, 0.26; P = .026). The present study showed that a mirror therapy-based AO protocol contributes to motor learning after stroke. © The Author(s) 2014.

  20. Motor imagery in Asperger syndrome: testing action simulation by the hand laterality task.

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    Massimiliano Conson

    Full Text Available Asperger syndrome (AS is a neurodevelopmental condition within the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD characterized by specific difficulties in social interaction, communication and behavioural control. In recent years, it has been suggested that ASD is related to a dysfunction of action simulation processes, but studies employing imitation or action observation tasks provided mixed results. Here, we addressed action simulation processes in adolescents with AS by means of a motor imagery task, the classical hand laterality task (to decide whether a rotated hand image is left or right; mental rotation of letters was also evaluated. As a specific marker of action simulation in hand rotation, we assessed the so-called biomechanical effect, that is the advantage for judging hand pictures showing physically comfortable versus physically awkward positions. We found the biomechanical effect in typically-developing participants but not in participants with AS. Overall performance on both hand laterality and letter rotation tasks, instead, did not differ in the two groups. These findings demonstrated a specific alteration of motor imagery skills in AS. We suggest that impaired mental simulation and imitation of goal-less movements in ASD could be related to shared cognitive mechanisms.

  1. Development of a Portable Motor Learning Laboratory (PoMLab).

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    Takiyama, Ken; Shinya, Masahiro

    2016-01-01

    Most motor learning experiments have been conducted in a laboratory setting. In this type of setting, a huge and expensive manipulandum is frequently used, requiring a large budget and wide open space. Subjects also need to travel to the laboratory, which is a burden for them. This burden is particularly severe for patients with neurological disorders. Here, we describe the development of a novel application based on Unity3D and smart devices, e.g., smartphones or tablet devices, that can be used to conduct motor learning experiments at any time and in any place, without requiring a large budget and wide open space and without the burden of travel on subjects. We refer to our application as POrtable Motor learning LABoratory, or PoMLab. PoMLab is a multiplatform application that is available and sharable for free. We investigated whether PoMLab could be an alternative to the laboratory setting using a visuomotor rotation paradigm that causes sensory prediction error, enabling the investigation of how subjects minimize the error. In the first experiment, subjects could adapt to a constant visuomotor rotation that was abruptly applied at a specific trial. The learning curve for the first experiment could be modeled well using a state space model, a mathematical model that describes the motor leaning process. In the second experiment, subjects could adapt to a visuomotor rotation that gradually increased each trial. The subjects adapted to the gradually increasing visuomotor rotation without being aware of the visuomotor rotation. These experimental results have been reported for conventional experiments conducted in a laboratory setting, and our PoMLab application could reproduce these results. PoMLab can thus be considered an alternative to the laboratory setting. We also conducted follow-up experiments in university physical education classes. A state space model that was fit to the data obtained in the laboratory experiments could predict the learning curves

  2. Development of a Portable Motor Learning Laboratory (PoMLab.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ken Takiyama

    Full Text Available Most motor learning experiments have been conducted in a laboratory setting. In this type of setting, a huge and expensive manipulandum is frequently used, requiring a large budget and wide open space. Subjects also need to travel to the laboratory, which is a burden for them. This burden is particularly severe for patients with neurological disorders. Here, we describe the development of a novel application based on Unity3D and smart devices, e.g., smartphones or tablet devices, that can be used to conduct motor learning experiments at any time and in any place, without requiring a large budget and wide open space and without the burden of travel on subjects. We refer to our application as POrtable Motor learning LABoratory, or PoMLab. PoMLab is a multiplatform application that is available and sharable for free. We investigated whether PoMLab could be an alternative to the laboratory setting using a visuomotor rotation paradigm that causes sensory prediction error, enabling the investigation of how subjects minimize the error. In the first experiment, subjects could adapt to a constant visuomotor rotation that was abruptly applied at a specific trial. The learning curve for the first experiment could be modeled well using a state space model, a mathematical model that describes the motor leaning process. In the second experiment, subjects could adapt to a visuomotor rotation that gradually increased each trial. The subjects adapted to the gradually increasing visuomotor rotation without being aware of the visuomotor rotation. These experimental results have been reported for conventional experiments conducted in a laboratory setting, and our PoMLab application could reproduce these results. PoMLab can thus be considered an alternative to the laboratory setting. We also conducted follow-up experiments in university physical education classes. A state space model that was fit to the data obtained in the laboratory experiments could predict the

  3. Core stability exercise is as effective as task-oriented motor training in improving motor proficiency in children with developmental coordination disorder: a randomized controlled pilot study.

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    Au, Mei K; Chan, Wai M; Lee, Lin; Chen, Tracy Mk; Chau, Rosanna Mw; Pang, Marco Yc

    2014-10-01

    To compare the effectiveness of a core stability program with a task-oriented motor training program in improving motor proficiency in children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Randomized controlled pilot trial. Outpatient unit in a hospital. Twenty-two children diagnosed with DCD aged 6-9 years were randomly allocated to the core stability program or the task-oriented motor program. Both groups underwent their respective face-to-face training session once per week for eight consecutive weeks. They were also instructed to carry out home exercises on a daily basis during the intervention period. Short Form of the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (Second Edition) and Sensory Organization Test at pre- and post-intervention. Intention-to-treat analysis revealed no significant between-group difference in the change of motor proficiency standard score (P=0.717), and composite equilibrium score derived from the Sensory Organization Test (P=0.100). Further analysis showed significant improvement in motor proficiency in both the core stability (mean change (SD)=6.3(5.4); p=0.008) and task-oriented training groups (mean change(SD)=5.1(4.0); P=0.007). The composite equilibrium score was significantly increased in the task-oriented training group (mean change (SD)=6.0(5.5); P=0.009), but not in the core stability group (mean change(SD) =0.0(9.6); P=0.812). In the task-oriented training group, compliance with the home program was positively correlated with change in motor proficiency (ρ=0.680, P=0.030) and composite equilibrium score (ρ=0.638, P=0.047). The core stability exercise program is as effective as task-oriented training in improving motor proficiency among children with DCD. © The Author(s) 2014.

  4. Dopaminergic mesocortical projections to M1: role in motor learning and motor cortex plasticity

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    Jonas Aurel Hosp

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available Although the architecture of a dopaminergic (DA system within the primary motorcortex (M1 was well characterized anatomically, its functional significance remainedobscure for a long time. Recent studies in rats revealed that the integrity ofdopaminergic fibers in M1 is a prerequisite for successful acquisition of motor skills.This essential contribution of DA for motor learning is plausible as it modulates M1circuitry at multiple levels thereby promoting plastic changes that are required forinformation storage: at the network level, DA increases cortical excitability andenhances the stability of motor maps. At the cellular level, DA induces the expressionof learning related genes via the transcription factor c-fos. At the level of synapses,DA is required for the formation of long-term potentiation (LTP, a mechanism thatlikely is a fingerprint of a motor memory trace within M1. Dopaminergic fibersinnervating M1 originate within the midbrain, precisely the ventral tegmental area(VTA and the medial portion of substantia nigra (SN. Thus, they could be part of themeso-cortico-limibic pathway – a network that provides information about saliencyand motivational value of an external stimulus and is commonly referred as

  5. Evaluation of Functional Correlation of Task-Specific Muscle Synergies with Motor Performance in Patients Poststroke

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    Si Li

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available The central nervous system produces movements by activating specifically programmed muscle synergies that are also altered with injuries in the brain, such as stroke. In this study, we hypothesize that there exists a positive correlation between task-specific muscle synergy and motor functions at joint and task levels in patients following stroke. The purpose here is to define and evaluate neurophysiological metrics based on task-specific muscle synergy for assessing motor functions in patients. A patient group of 10 subjects suffering from stroke and a control group of nine age-matched healthy subjects were recruited to participate in this study. Electromyography (EMG signals and movement kinematics were recorded in patients and control subjects while performing arm reaching tasks. Muscle synergies of individual patients were extracted off-line from EMG records of each patient, and a baseline pattern of muscle synergy was obtained from the pooled EMG data of all nine control subjects. Peak velocities and movement durations of each reaching movement were computed from measured kinematics. Similarity indices of matching components to those of the baseline synergy were defined by synergy vectors and time profiles, respectively, as well as by a combined similarity of vector and time profile. Results showed that pathological synergies of patients were altered from the characteristics of baseline synergy with missing components, or varied vector patterns and time profiles. The kinematic performance measured by peak velocities and movement durations was significantly poorer for the patient group than the control group. In patients, all three similarity indices were found to correlate significantly to the kinematics of movements for the reaching tasks. The correlation to the Fugl-Meyer score of arm was the highest with the vector index, the lowest with the time profile index, and in between with the combined index. These findings illustrate that the

  6. The Effects of Study Tasks in a Computer-Based Chemistry Learning Environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Urhahne, Detlef; Nick, Sabine; Poepping, Anna Christin; Schulz , Sarah Jayne

    2013-01-01

    The present study examines the effects of different study tasks on the acquisition of knowledge about acids and bases in a computer-based learning environment. Three different task formats were selected to create three treatment conditions: learning with gap-fill and matching tasks, learning with multiple-choice tasks, and learning only from text…

  7. Neural correlates of learning in an electrocorticographic motor-imagery brain-computer interface

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blakely, Tim M.; Miller, Kai J.; Rao, Rajesh P. N.; Ojemann, Jeffrey G.

    2014-01-01

    Human subjects can learn to control a one-dimensional electrocorticographic (ECoG) brain-computer interface (BCI) using modulation of primary motor (M1) high-gamma activity (signal power in the 75–200 Hz range). However, the stability and dynamics of the signals over the course of new BCI skill acquisition have not been investigated. In this study, we report 3 characteristic periods in evolution of the high-gamma control signal during BCI training: initial, low task accuracy with corresponding low power modulation in the gamma spectrum, followed by a second period of improved task accuracy with increasing average power separation between activity and rest, and a final period of high task accuracy with stable (or decreasing) power separation and decreasing trial-to-trial variance. These findings may have implications in the design and implementation of BCI control algorithms. PMID:25599079

  8. Motor learning and modulation of prefrontal cortex: an fNIRS assessment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ono, Yumie; Noah, Jack Adam; Zhang, Xian; Nomoto, Yasunori; Suzuki, Tatsuya; Shimada, Sotaro; Tachibana, Atsumichi; Bronner, Shaw; Hirsch, Joy

    2015-12-01

    Objective. Prefrontal hemodynamic responses are observed during performance of motor tasks. Using a dance video game (DVG), a complex motor task that requires temporally accurate footsteps with given visual and auditory cues, we investigated whether 20 h of DVG training modified hemodynamic responses of the prefrontal cortex in six healthy young adults. Approach. Fronto-temporal activity during actual DVG play was measured using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) pre- and post-training. To evaluate the training-induced changes in the time-courses of fNIRS signals, we employed a regression analysis using the task-specific template fNIRS signals that were generated from alternate well-trained and/or novice DVG players. The HRF was also separately incorporated as a template to construct an alternate regression model. Change in coefficients for template functions at pre- and post- training were determined and compared among different models. Main results. Training significantly increased the motor performance using the number of temporally accurate steps in the DVG as criteria. The mean oxygenated hemoglobin (ΔoxyHb) waveform changed from an activation above baseline pattern to that of a below baseline pattern. Participants showed significantly decreased coefficients for regressors of the ΔoxyHb response of novice players and HRF. The model using ΔoxyHb responses from both well-trained and novice players of DVG as templates showed the best fit for the ΔoxyHb responses of the participants at both pre- and post-training when analyzed with Akaike information criteria. Significance. These results suggest that the coefficients for the template ΔoxyHb responses of the novice players are sensitive indicators of motor learning during the initial stage of training and thus clinically useful to determine the improvement in motor performance when patients are engaged in a specific rehabilitation program.

  9. White matter microstructure changes induced by motor skill learning utilizing a body machine interface.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Xue; Casadio, Maura; Weber, Kenneth A; Mussa-Ivaldi, Ferdinando A; Parrish, Todd B

    2014-03-01

    The purpose of this study is to identify white matter microstructure changes following bilateral upper extremity motor skill training to increase our understanding of learning-induced structural plasticity and enhance clinical strategies in physical rehabilitation. Eleven healthy subjects performed two visuo-spatial motor training tasks over 9 sessions (2-3 sessions per week). Subjects controlled a cursor with bilateral simultaneous movements of the shoulders and upper arms using a body machine interface. Before the start and within 2days of the completion of training, whole brain diffusion tensor MR imaging data were acquired. Motor training increased fractional anisotropy (FA) values in the posterior and anterior limbs of the internal capsule, the corona radiata, and the body of the corpus callosum by 4.19% on average indicating white matter microstructure changes induced by activity-dependent modulation of axon number, axon diameter, or myelin thickness. These changes may underlie the functional reorganization associated with motor skill learning. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  10. Disparity in Frontal Lobe Connectivity on a Complex Bimanual Motor Task Aids in Classification of Operator Skill Level.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andreu-Perez, Javier; Leff, Daniel Richard; Shetty, Kunal; Darzi, Ara; Yang, Guang-Zhong

    2016-06-01

    Objective metrics of technical performance (e.g., dexterity, time, and path length) are insufficient to fully characterize operator skill level, which may be encoded deep within neural function. Unlike reports that capture plasticity across days or weeks, this articles studies long-term plasticity in functional connectivity that occurs over years of professional task practice. Optical neuroimaging data are acquired from professional surgeons of varying experience on a complex bimanual coordination task with the aim of investigating learning-related disparity in frontal lobe functional connectivity that arises as a consequence of motor skill level. The results suggest that prefrontal and premotor seed connectivity is more critical during naïve versus expert performance. Given learning-related differences in connectivity, a least-squares support vector machine with a radial basis function kernel is employed to evaluate skill level using connectivity data. The results demonstrate discrimination of operator skill level with accuracy ≥0.82 and Multiclass Matthew's Correlation Coefficient ≥0.70. Furthermore, these indices are improved when local (i.e., within-region) rather than inter-regional (i.e., between-region) frontal connectivity is considered (p = 0.002). The results suggest that it is possible to classify operator skill level with good accuracy from functional connectivity data, upon which objective assessment and neurofeedback may be used to improve operator performance during technical skill training.

  11. Decreased Modulation of EEG Oscillations in High-Functioning Autism During a Motor Control Task

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joshua Benjamin Ewen

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available Autism spectrum disorders (ASD are thought to result in part from altered cortical excitatory-inhibitory balance; this pathophysiology may impact the generation of oscillations on EEG. We investigated premotor-parietal cortical physiology associated with praxis, which has strong theoretical and empirical associations with ASD symptomatology. 25 children with high-functioning ASD (HFA and 33 controls performed a praxis task involving the pantomiming of tool use, while EEG was recorded. We assessed task-related modulation of signal power in alpha and beta frequency bands. Compared with controls, subjects with HFA showed 27% less left central (motor/premotor beta (18-22 Hz event-related desynchronization (ERD (p = 0.030, as well as 24% less left parietal alpha (7-13 Hz ERD (p = 0.046. Within the HFA group, blunting of central ERD attenuation was associated with impairments in clinical measures of praxis imitation (r = -0.4; p = 0.04 and increased autism severity (r = 0.48; p = 0.016. The modulation of central beta activity is associated, among other things, with motor imagery, which may be necessary for imitation. Impaired imitation has been associated with core features of ASD. Altered modulation of oscillatory activity may be mechanistically involved in those aspects of motor network function that relate to the core symptoms of ASD.

  12. Functional BOLD MRI: comparison of different field strengths in a motor task

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Meindl, T.; Born, C.; Britsch, S.; Reiser, M.; Schoenberg, S.

    2008-01-01

    The purpose was to evaluate the benefit of an increased field strength for functional magnetic resonance imaging in a motor task. Six right-handed volunteers were scanned at 1.5 T and 3.0 T using a motor task. Each experiment consisted of two runs with four activation blocks, each with right- and left-hand tapping. Analysis was done using BrainVoyagerQX registered . Differences between both field strengths concerning signal to noise (SNR), blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal change, functional sensitivity and BOLD contrast to noise (CNR) were tested using a paired t test. Delineation of activations and artifacts were graded by two independent readers. Results were further validated by means of a phantom study. The sensorimotor and premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area, subcortical and cerebellar structures were activated at each field strength. Additional activations of the right premotor cortex and right superior temporal gyrus were found at 3.0 T. Signal-to-noise, percentage of BOLD signal change, BOLD CNR and functional sensitivity improved at 3.0 T by a factor of up to 2.4. Functional imaging at 3.0 T results in detection of additional activated areas, increased SNR, BOLD signal change, functional sensitivity and BOLD CNR. (orig.)

  13. How do task characteristics affect learning and performance? The roles of variably mapped and dynamic tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Macnamara, Brooke N; Frank, David J

    2018-05-01

    For well over a century, scientists have investigated individual differences in performance. The majority of studies have focused on either differences in practice, or differences in cognitive resources. However, the predictive ability of either practice or cognitive resources varies considerably across tasks. We are the first to examine task characteristics' impact on learning and performance in a complex task while controlling for other task characteristics. In 2 experiments we test key theoretical task characteristic thought to moderate the relationship between practice, cognitive resources, and performance. We devised a task where each of several key task characteristics can be manipulated independently. Participants played 5 rounds of a game similar to the popular tower defense videogame Plants vs. Zombies where both cognitive load and game characteristics were manipulated. In Experiment 1, participants either played a consistently mapped version-the stimuli and the associated meaning of their properties were constant across the 5 rounds-or played a variably mapped version-the stimuli and the associated meaning of their properties changed every few minutes. In Experiment 2, participants either played a static version-that is, turn taking with no time pressure-or played a dynamic version-that is, the stimuli moved regardless of participants' response rates. In Experiment 1, participants' accuracy and efficiency were substantially hindered in the variably mapped conditions. In Experiment 2, learning and performance accuracy were hindered in the dynamic conditions, especially when under cognitive load. Our results suggest that task characteristics impact the relative importance of cognitive resources and practice on predicting learning and performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

  14. The Importance of Visual Feedback Design in BCIs; from Embodiment to Motor Imagery Learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alimardani, Maryam; Nishio, Shuichi; Ishiguro, Hiroshi

    2016-01-01

    Brain computer interfaces (BCIs) have been developed and implemented in many areas as a new communication channel between the human brain and external devices. Despite their rapid growth and broad popularity, the inaccurate performance and cost of user-training are yet the main issues that prevent their application out of the research and clinical environment. We previously introduced a BCI system for the control of a very humanlike android that could raise a sense of embodiment and agency in the operators only by imagining a movement (motor imagery) and watching the robot perform it. Also using the same setup, we further discovered that the positive bias of subjects' performance both increased their sensation of embodiment and improved their motor imagery skills in a short period. In this work, we studied the shared mechanism between the experience of embodiment and motor imagery. We compared the trend of motor imagery learning when two groups of subjects BCI-operated different looking robots, a very humanlike android's hands and a pair of metallic gripper. Although our experiments did not show a significant change of learning between the two groups immediately during one session, the android group revealed better motor imagery skills in the follow up session when both groups repeated the task using the non-humanlike gripper. This result shows that motor imagery skills learnt during the BCI-operation of humanlike hands are more robust to time and visual feedback changes. We discuss the role of embodiment and mirror neuron system in such outcome and propose the application of androids for efficient BCI training.

  15. The Importance of Visual Feedback Design in BCIs; from Embodiment to Motor Imagery Learning.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maryam Alimardani

    Full Text Available Brain computer interfaces (BCIs have been developed and implemented in many areas as a new communication channel between the human brain and external devices. Despite their rapid growth and broad popularity, the inaccurate performance and cost of user-training are yet the main issues that prevent their application out of the research and clinical environment. We previously introduced a BCI system for the control of a very humanlike android that could raise a sense of embodiment and agency in the operators only by imagining a movement (motor imagery and watching the robot perform it. Also using the same setup, we further discovered that the positive bias of subjects' performance both increased their sensation of embodiment and improved their motor imagery skills in a short period. In this work, we studied the shared mechanism between the experience of embodiment and motor imagery. We compared the trend of motor imagery learning when two groups of subjects BCI-operated different looking robots, a very humanlike android's hands and a pair of metallic gripper. Although our experiments did not show a significant change of learning between the two groups immediately during one session, the android group revealed better motor imagery skills in the follow up session when both groups repeated the task using the non-humanlike gripper. This result shows that motor imagery skills learnt during the BCI-operation of humanlike hands are more robust to time and visual feedback changes. We discuss the role of embodiment and mirror neuron system in such outcome and propose the application of androids for efficient BCI training.

  16. Construction of scientific knowledge in motor learning: history and perspectives

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cláudio Márcio Oliveira

    2008-06-01

    Full Text Available The present work aims to inquire the construction of scientific knowledge in the motor learning area. A necessary historical retrospective on this study field considers the epistemology of Francis Bacon, Karl Popper, Paul Feyerabend and Thomas Kuhn. Bacon and Popper’s conceptions show to be inadequate to explain the scientific progress of motor learning. Feyerabend’s ideas are also inadequate as they lack coherency, even though in some aspects they are adequate. The Kuhnian approach, however, seems more satisfactory, particularly with regard to the notion of “crisis of paradigm” between the ecological approach and the information-processing approach. A critique is offered from human and social sciences perspective. This leads us to reflect on the possible growth of a new paradigm and consider scientific practice as a social practice.

  17. Recontextualizing Dance Skills: Overcoming Impediments to Motor Learning and Expressivity in Ballet Dancers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karin, Janet

    2016-01-01

    The process of transmitting ballet’s complex technique to young dancers can interfere with the innate processes that give rise to efficient, expressive and harmonious movement. With the intention of identifying possible solutions, this article draws on research across the fields of neurology, psychology, motor learning, and education, and considers their relevance to ballet as an art form, a technique, and a training methodology. The integration of dancers’ technique and expressivity is a core theme throughout the paper. A brief outline of the historical development of ballet’s aesthetics and training methods leads into factors that influence dancers’ performance. An exploration of the role of the neuromotor system in motor learning and the acquisition of expert skills reveals the roles of sensory awareness, imagery, and intention in cuing efficient, expressive movement. It also indicates potentially detrimental effects of conscious muscle control, explicit learning and persistent naïve beliefs. Finally, the paper presents a new theory regarding the acquisition of ballet skills. Recontextualization theory proposes that placing a problematic task within a new context may engender a new conceptual approach and/or sensory intention, and hence the genesis of new motor programs; and that these new programs may lead to performance that is more efficient, more rewarding for the dancer, more pleasing aesthetically, and more expressive. From an anecdotal point of view, this theory appears to be supported by the progress of many dancers at various stages of their dancing lives. PMID:27047437

  18. Visual-Motor Learning Using Haptic Devices: How Best to Train Surgeons?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Oscar Giles

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available Laparoscopic surgery has revolutionised medicine but requires surgeons to learn new visual-motor mappings. The optimal method for training surgeons is unknown. For instance, it may be easier to learn planar movements when training is constrained to a plane, since this forces the surgeon to develop an appropriate perceptual-motor map. In contrast, allowing the surgeon to move without constraints could improve performance because this provides greater experience of the control dynamics of the device. In order to test between these alternatives, we created an experimental tool that connected a commercially available robotic arm with specialised software that presents visual stimuli and objectively records kinematics. Participants were given the task of generating a series of aiming movements to move a visual cursor to a series of targets. The actions required movement along a horizontal plane, whereas the visual display was a screen positioned perpendicular to this plane (ie, vertically. One group (n=8 received training where the force field constrained their movement to the correct plane of action, whilst a second group (n=8 trained without constraints. On test trials (after training the unconstrained group showed better performance, as indexed by reduced movement duration and reduced path length. These results show that participants who explored the entire action space had an advantage, which highlights the importance of experiencing the full dynamics of a control device and the action space when learning a new visual-motor mapping.

  19. Recontextualizing Dance Skills: Overcoming Impediments to Motor Learning and Expressivity in Ballet Dancers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karin, Janet

    2016-01-01

    The process of transmitting ballet's complex technique to young dancers can interfere with the innate processes that give rise to efficient, expressive and harmonious movement. With the intention of identifying possible solutions, this article draws on research across the fields of neurology, psychology, motor learning, and education, and considers their relevance to ballet as an art form, a technique, and a training methodology. The integration of dancers' technique and expressivity is a core theme throughout the paper. A brief outline of the historical development of ballet's aesthetics and training methods leads into factors that influence dancers' performance. An exploration of the role of the neuromotor system in motor learning and the acquisition of expert skills reveals the roles of sensory awareness, imagery, and intention in cuing efficient, expressive movement. It also indicates potentially detrimental effects of conscious muscle control, explicit learning and persistent naïve beliefs. Finally, the paper presents a new theory regarding the acquisition of ballet skills. Recontextualization theory proposes that placing a problematic task within a new context may engender a new conceptual approach and/or sensory intention, and hence the genesis of new motor programs; and that these new programs may lead to performance that is more efficient, more rewarding for the dancer, more pleasing aesthetically, and more expressive. From an anecdotal point of view, this theory appears to be supported by the progress of many dancers at various stages of their dancing lives.

  20. Re-Contextualizing Dance Skills: Overcoming Impediments to Motor Learning and Expressivity in Ballet Dancers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Janet eKarin

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available The process of transmitting ballet’s complex technique to young dancers can interfere with the innate processes that give rise to efficient, expressive and harmonious movement. With the intention of identifying possible solutions, this article draws on research across the fields of neurology, psychology, motor learning, and education, and considers their relevance to ballet as an art form, a technique, and a training methodology. The integration of dancers’ technique and expressivity is a core theme throughout the paper. A brief outline of the historical development of ballet’s aesthetics and training methods leads into factors that influence dancers’ performance. An exploration of the role of the neuromotor system in motor learning and the acquisition of expert skills reveals the roles of sensory awareness, imagery, and intention in cuing efficient, expressive movement. It also indicates potentially detrimental effects of conscious muscle control, explicit learning and persistent naïve beliefs. Finally, the paper presents a new theory regarding the acquisition of ballet skills. Recontextualisation theory proposes that placing a problematic task within a new context may engender a new conceptual approach and/or sensory intention, and hence the genesis of new motor programs; and that these new programs may lead to performance that is more efficient, more rewarding for the dancer, more pleasing aesthetically, and more expressive. From an anecdotal point of view, this theory appears to be supported by the progress of many dancers at various stages of their dancing lives.

  1. The impact of diurnal sleep on the consolidation of a complex gross motor adaptation task

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoedlmoser, Kerstin; Birklbauer, Juergen; Schabus, Manuel; Eibenberger, Patrick; Rigler, Sandra; Mueller, Erich

    2015-01-01

    Diurnal sleep effects on consolidation of a complex, ecological valid gross motor adaptation task were examined using a bicycle with an inverse steering device. We tested 24 male subjects aged between 20 and 29 years using a between-subjects design. Participants were trained to adapt to the inverse steering bicycle during 45 min. Performance was tested before (TEST1) and after (TEST2) training, as well as after a 2 h retention interval (TEST3). During retention, participants either slept or remained awake. To assess gross motor performance, subjects had to ride the inverse steering bicycle 3 × 30 m straight-line and 3 × 30 m through a slalom. Beyond riding time, we sophisticatedly measured performance accuracy (standard deviation of steering angle) in both conditions using a rotatory potentiometer. A significant decrease of accuracy during straight-line riding after nap and wakefulness was shown. Accuracy during slalom riding remained stable after wakefulness but was reduced after sleep. We found that the duration of rapid eye movement sleep as well as sleep spindle activity are negatively related with gross motor performance changes over sleep. Together these findings suggest that the consolidation of adaptation to a new steering device does not benefit from a 2 h midday nap. We speculate that in case of strongly overlearned motor patterns such as normal cycling, diurnal sleep spindles and rapid eye movement sleep might even help to protect everyday needed skills, and to rapidly forget newly acquired, interfering and irrelevant material. PMID:25256866

  2. The Integration of Environmental Education in Science Materials by Using "MOTORIC" Learning Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sukarjita, I. Wayan; Ardi, Muhammad; Rachman, Abdul; Supu, Amiruddin; Dirawan, Gufran Darma

    2015-01-01

    The research of the integration of Environmental Education in science subject matter by application of "MOTORIC" Learning models has carried out on Junior High School Kupang Nusa Tenggara Timur Indonesia. "MOTORIC" learning model is an Environmental Education (EE) learning model that collaborate three learning approach i.e.…

  3. Motor Learning in Lucid Dreams: Prevalence, Induction, and Effectiveness

    OpenAIRE

    Stumbrys, Tadas

    2015-01-01

    The purpose of the present investigation was to explore the potentials for motor learning in a special state of consciousness – so called lucid dreams (dreams in which the dreamers are aware that they are dreaming): its prevalence among athletes, facilitating methods and effectiveness. The contents of this dissertation are structured in the following way. The first chapter introduces the concept of mental practice in sports, reviews the evidence for its effectiveness and presents main theorie...

  4. Identifying beneficial task relations for multi-task learning in deep neural networks

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bingel, Joachim; Søgaard, Anders

    2017-01-01

    Multi-task learning (MTL) in deep neural networks for NLP has recently received increasing interest due to some compelling benefits, including its potential to efficiently regularize models and to reduce the need for labeled data. While it has brought significant improvements in a number of NLP...

  5. Cluster analysis of activity-time series in motor learning

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Balslev, Daniela; Nielsen, Finn Årup; Frutiger, Sally A.

    2002-01-01

    Neuroimaging studies of learning focus on brain areas where the activity changes as a function of time. To circumvent the difficult problem of model selection, we used a data-driven analytic tool, cluster analysis, which extracts representative temporal and spatial patterns from the voxel...... practice-related activity in a fronto-parieto-cerebellar network, in agreement with previous studies of motor learning. These voxels were separated from a group of voxels showing an unspecific time-effect and another group of voxels, whose activation was an artifact from smoothing. Hum. Brain Mapping 15...

  6. Synchrony and motor mimicking in chimpanzee observational learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fuhrmann, Delia; Ravignani, Andrea; Marshall-Pescini, Sarah; Whiten, Andrew

    2014-06-13

    Cumulative tool-based culture underwrote our species' evolutionary success, and tool-based nut-cracking is one of the strongest candidates for cultural transmission in our closest relatives, chimpanzees. However the social learning processes that may explain both the similarities and differences between the species remain unclear. A previous study of nut-cracking by initially naïve chimpanzees suggested that a learning chimpanzee holding no hammer nevertheless replicated hammering actions it witnessed. This observation has potentially important implications for the nature of the social learning processes and underlying motor coding involved. In the present study, model and observer actions were quantified frame-by-frame and analysed with stringent statistical methods, demonstrating synchrony between the observer's and model's movements, cross-correlation of these movements above chance level and a unidirectional transmission process from model to observer. These results provide the first quantitative evidence for motor mimicking underlain by motor coding in apes, with implications for mirror neuron function.

  7. Synchrony and motor mimicking in chimpanzee observational learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fuhrmann, Delia; Ravignani, Andrea; Marshall-Pescini, Sarah; Whiten, Andrew

    2014-01-01

    Cumulative tool-based culture underwrote our species' evolutionary success, and tool-based nut-cracking is one of the strongest candidates for cultural transmission in our closest relatives, chimpanzees. However the social learning processes that may explain both the similarities and differences between the species remain unclear. A previous study of nut-cracking by initially naïve chimpanzees suggested that a learning chimpanzee holding no hammer nevertheless replicated hammering actions it witnessed. This observation has potentially important implications for the nature of the social learning processes and underlying motor coding involved. In the present study, model and observer actions were quantified frame-by-frame and analysed with stringent statistical methods, demonstrating synchrony between the observer's and model's movements, cross-correlation of these movements above chance level and a unidirectional transmission process from model to observer. These results provide the first quantitative evidence for motor mimicking underlain by motor coding in apes, with implications for mirror neuron function. PMID:24923651

  8. Efeitos neuromoduladores do bromazepam quando indivíduos são expostos a uma tarefa de aprendizagem motora: eletrencefalografia quantitativa (EEGq Neuromodulatory effects of bromazepam when individuals were exposed to a motor learning task: quantitative electroencephalography (qEEG

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    José Inácio Salles

    2006-03-01

    Full Text Available Os efeitos sedativos do bromazepam no desempenho cognitivo têm sido amplamente investigados. Várias abordagens têm sido implementadas no intuito de avaliar a influência do bromazepam em sujeitos submetidos à tarefa motora. Neste contexto, o presente estudo objetiva avaliar as alterações eletrofisiológicas em sujeitos expostos à tarefa de datilografia e tratados com bromazepam (6 mg. Os dados do EEGq foram gravados simultaneamente à tarefa. Em particular, a potência relativa na banda delta (0,5-3,5 Hz foi analizada. O tempo de execução e erros durante a tarefa foram considerados variáveis comportamentais. O grupo experimental (bromazepam 6 mg demonstrou melhor desempenho e valores de potência relativa mais elevados que o grupo controle (placebo. Estes resultados sugerem que menor nível de ansiedade favorece o desempenho motor.The sedative effects of bromazepam on cognitive and performance have been widely investigated. A number of different approaches have assessed the influence of bromazepam when individuals are engaged to a motor task. In this context, the present study aimed to investigate electrophysiological changes when individuals were exposed to a typewriting task after taking 6 mg of bromazepam. qEEG data were simultaneously recorded during the task. In particular, relative power in delta band (0.5-3.5 Hz was analyzed. Time of execution and errors during the task were registered as behavioral variables. The experimental group, bromazepam 6mg, showed a better motor performance and higher relative power than control individuals (placebo. These results suggest that the use of bromazepam reduces anxiety levels as expected and thus, produces an increment in motor performance.

  9. Changes in corticospinal drive to spinal motoneurones following visuo-motor skill learning in humans

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Perez, Monica A.; Jensen, Jesper Lundbye; Nielsen, Jens Bo

    2006-01-01

    learning. Here we investigated the effect of visuo-motor skill training involving the ankle muscles on the coupling between electroencephalographic (EEG) activity recorded from the motor cortex (Cz) and electromyographic (EMG) activity recorded from the left tibialis anterior (TA) muscle in 11 volunteers...... between cortex and muscle as part of the motor learning process....

  10. Deficits in inhibitory control and conflict resolution on cognitive and motor tasks in Parkinson's disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Obeso, Ignacio; Wilkinson, Leonora; Casabona, Enrique; Bringas, Maria Luisa; Álvarez, Mario; Álvarez, Lázaro; Pavón, Nancy; Rodríguez-Oroz, Maria-Cruz; Macías, Raúl; Obeso, Jose A; Jahanshahi, Marjan

    2011-07-01

    Recent imaging studies in healthy controls with a conditional stop signal reaction time (RT) task have implicated the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in response inhibition and the pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA) in conflict resolution. Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by striatal dopamine deficiency and overactivity of the STN and underactivation of the pre-SMA during movement. We used the conditional stop signal RT task to investigate whether PD produced similar or dissociable effects on response initiation, response inhibition and response initiation under conflict. In addition, we also examined inhibition of prepotent responses on three cognitive tasks: the Stroop, random number generation and Hayling sentence completion. PD patients were impaired on the conditional stop signal reaction time task, with response initiation both in situations with or without conflict and response inhibition all being significantly delayed, and had significantly greater difficulty in suppressing prepotent or habitual responses on the Stroop, Hayling and random number generation tasks relative to controls. These results demonstrate the existence of a generalized inhibitory deficit in PD, which suggest that PD is a disorder of inhibition as well as activation and that in situations of conflict, executive control over responses is compromised.

  11. Poststimulation time interval-dependent effects of motor cortex anodal tDCS on reaction-time task performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Molero-Chamizo, Andrés; Alameda Bailén, José R; Garrido Béjar, Tamara; García López, Macarena; Jaén Rodríguez, Inmaculada; Gutiérrez Lérida, Carolina; Pérez Panal, Silvia; González Ángel, Gloria; Lemus Corchero, Laura; Ruiz Vega, María J; Nitsche, Michael A; Rivera-Urbina, Guadalupe N

    2018-02-01

    Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) induces long-term potentiation-like plasticity, which is associated with long-lasting effects on different cognitive, emotional, and motor performances. Specifically, tDCS applied over the motor cortex is considered to improve reaction time in simple and complex tasks. The timing of tDCS relative to task performance could determine the efficacy of tDCS to modulate performance. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of a single session of anodal tDCS (1.5 mA, for 15 min) applied over the left primary motor cortex (M1) versus sham stimulation on performance of a go/no-go simple reaction-time task carried out at three different time points after tDCS-namely, 0, 30, or 60 min after stimulation. Performance zero min after anodal tDCS was improved during the whole course of the task. Performance 30 min after anodal tDCS was improved only in the last block of the reaction-time task. Performance 60 min after anodal tDCS was not significantly different throughout the entire task. These findings suggest that the motor cortex excitability changes induced by tDCS can improve motor responses, and these effects critically depend on the time interval between stimulation and task performance.

  12. PKC in motorneurons underlies self-learning, a form of motor learning in Drosophila

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Julien Colomb

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Tethering a fly for stationary flight allows for exquisite control of its sensory input, such as visual or olfactory stimuli or a punishing infrared laser beam. A torque meter measures the turning attempts of the tethered fly around its vertical body axis. By punishing, say, left turning attempts (in a homogeneous environment, one can train a fly to restrict its behaviour to right turning attempts. It was recently discovered that this form of operant conditioning (called operant self-learning, may constitute a form of motor learning in Drosophila. Previous work had shown that Protein Kinase C (PKC and the transcription factor dFoxP were specifically involved in self-learning, but not in other forms of learning. These molecules are specifically involved in various forms of motor learning in other animals, such as compulsive biting in Aplysia, song-learning in birds, procedural learning in mice or language acquisition in humans. Here we describe our efforts to decipher which PKC gene is involved in self-learning in Drosophila. We also provide evidence that motorneurons may be one part of the neuronal network modified during self-learning experiments. The collected evidence is reminiscent of one of the simplest, clinically relevant forms of motor learning in humans, operant reflex conditioning, which also relies on motorneuron plasticity.

  13. A virtual trainer concept for robot-assisted human motor learning in rowing

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Baumgartner L.

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Keeping the attention level and observing multiple physiological and biomechanical variables at the same time at high precision is very challenging for human trainers. Concurrent augmented feedback, which is suggested to enhance motor learning in complex motor tasks, can also hardly be provided by a human trainer. Thus, in this paper, a concept for a virtual trainer is presented that may overcome the limits of a human trainer. The intended virtual trainer will be implemented in a CAVE providing auditory, visual and haptic cues. As a first application, the virtual trainer will be used in a realistic scenario for sweep rowing. To provide individual feedback to each rower, the virtual trainer quantifies errors and provides concurrent auditory, visual, and haptic feedback. The concurrent feedback will be adapted according to the actual performance, individual maximal rowing velocity, and the athlete’s individual perception.

  14. Multisensory perceptual learning is dependent upon task difficulty.

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Niear, Matthew A; Koo, Bonhwang; Wallace, Mark T

    2016-11-01

    There has been a growing interest in developing behavioral tasks to enhance temporal acuity as recent findings have demonstrated changes in temporal processing in a number of clinical conditions. Prior research has demonstrated that perceptual training can enhance temporal acuity both within and across different sensory modalities. Although certain forms of unisensory perceptual learning have been shown to be dependent upon task difficulty, this relationship has not been explored for multisensory learning. The present study sought to determine the effects of task difficulty on multisensory perceptual learning. Prior to and following a single training session, participants completed a simultaneity judgment (SJ) task, which required them to judge whether a visual stimulus (flash) and auditory stimulus (beep) presented in synchrony or at various stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs) occurred synchronously or asynchronously. During the training session, participants completed the same SJ task but received feedback regarding the accuracy of their responses. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three levels of difficulty during training: easy, moderate, and hard, which were distinguished based on the SOAs used during training. We report that only the most difficult (i.e., hard) training protocol enhanced temporal acuity. We conclude that perceptual training protocols for enhancing multisensory temporal acuity may be optimized by employing audiovisual stimuli for which it is difficult to discriminate temporal synchrony from asynchrony.

  15. Effect of task-related continuous auditory feedback during learning of tracking motion exercises

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rosati Giulio

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background This paper presents the results of a set of experiments in which we used continuous auditory feedback to augment motor training exercises. This feedback modality is mostly underexploited in current robotic rehabilitation systems, which usually implement only very basic auditory interfaces. Our hypothesis is that properly designed continuous auditory feedback could be used to represent temporal and spatial information that could in turn, improve performance and motor learning. Methods We implemented three different experiments on healthy subjects, who were asked to track a target on a screen by moving an input device (controller with their hand. Different visual and auditory feedback modalities were envisaged. The first experiment investigated whether continuous task-related auditory feedback can help improve performance to a greater extent than error-related audio feedback, or visual feedback alone. In the second experiment we used sensory substitution to compare different types of auditory feedback with equivalent visual feedback, in order to find out whether mapping the same information on a different sensory channel (the visual channel yielded comparable effects with those gained in the first experiment. The final experiment applied a continuously changing visuomotor transformation between the controller and the screen and mapped kinematic information, computed in either coordinate system (controller or video, to the audio channel, in order to investigate which information was more relevant to the user. Results Task-related audio feedback significantly improved performance with respect to visual feedback alone, whilst error-related feedback did not. Secondly, performance in audio tasks was significantly better with respect to the equivalent sensory-substituted visual tasks. Finally, with respect to visual feedback alone, video-task-related sound feedback decreased the tracking error during the learning of a novel

  16. Positive versus Negative Communication Strategies in Task-Based Learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rohani, Siti

    2013-01-01

    This study aimed at describing how the implementation of Task-Based Learning (TBL) would shape or change students' use of oral communication strategies. Students' problems and strategies to solve the problems during the implementation of TBL were also explored. The study was a mixed method, employing both quantitative and qualitative analysis…

  17. Sucrose Responsiveness, Learning Success, and Task Specialization in Ants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perez, Margot; Rolland, Uther; Giurfa,, Martin; d'Ettorre, Patrizia

    2013-01-01

    Social insects possess remarkable learning capabilities, which are crucial for their ecological success. They also exhibit interindividual differences in responsiveness to environmental stimuli, which underlie task specialization and division of labor. Here we investigated for the first time the relationships between sucrose responsiveness,…

  18. TMI-2 Lessons Learned Task Force. Final report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1979-10-01

    In its final report reviewing the Three Mile Island accident, the TMI-2 Lessons Learned Task Force has suggested change in several fundamental aspects of basic safety policy for nuclear power plants. Changes in nuclear power plant design and operations and in the regulatory process are discussed in terms of general goals. The appendix sets forth specific recommendations for reaching these goals

  19. Cueing and Anxiety in a Visual Concept Learning Task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turner, Philip M.

    This study investigated the relationship of two anxiety measures (the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-Trait Form and the S-R Inventory of Anxiousness-Exam Form) to performance on a visual concept-learning task with embedded criterial information. The effect on anxiety reduction of cueing criterial information was also examined, and two levels of…

  20. Development of Vestibular Stochastic Resonance as a Sensorimotor Countermeasure: Improving Otolith Ocular and Motor Task Responses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mulavara, Ajitkumar; Fiedler, Matthew; DeDios,Yiri E.; Galvan, Raquel; Bloomberg, Jacob; Wood, Scott

    2011-01-01

    Astronauts experience disturbances in sensorimotor function after spaceflight during the initial introduction to a gravitational environment, especially after long-duration missions. Stochastic resonance (SR) is a mechanism by which noise can assist and enhance the response of neural systems to relevant, imperceptible sensory signals. We have previously shown that imperceptible electrical stimulation of the vestibular system enhances balance performance while standing on an unstable surface. The goal of our present study is to develop a countermeasure based on vestibular SR that could improve central interpretation of vestibular input and improve motor task responses to mitigate associated risks.

  1. Two-phase strategy of controlling motor coordination determined by task performance optimality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shimansky, Yury P; Rand, Miya K

    2013-02-01

    A quantitative model of optimal coordination between hand transport and grip aperture has been derived in our previous studies of reach-to-grasp movements without utilizing explicit knowledge of the optimality criterion or motor plant dynamics. The model's utility for experimental data analysis has been demonstrated. Here we show how to generalize this model for a broad class of reaching-type, goal-directed movements. The model allows for measuring the variability of motor coordination and studying its dependence on movement phase. The experimentally found characteristics of that dependence imply that execution noise is low and does not affect motor coordination significantly. From those characteristics it is inferred that the cost of neural computations required for information acquisition and processing is included in the criterion of task performance optimality as a function of precision demand for state estimation and decision making. The precision demand is an additional optimized control variable that regulates the amount of neurocomputational resources activated dynamically. It is shown that an optimal control strategy in this case comprises two different phases. During the initial phase, the cost of neural computations is significantly reduced at the expense of reducing the demand for their precision, which results in speed-accuracy tradeoff violation and significant inter-trial variability of motor coordination. During the final phase, neural computations and thus motor coordination are considerably more precise to reduce the cost of errors in making a contact with the target object. The generality of the optimal coordination model and the two-phase control strategy is illustrated on several diverse examples.

  2. Effects of Bilateral Electrolytic Lesions of the Dorsomedial Striatum on Motor Behavior and Instrumental Learning in Rats

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pamphyle Abedi Mukutenga

    2012-08-01

    Full Text Available Introduction: The dorsal striatum plays an important role in the control of motor activity and learning processes within the basal ganglia circuitry. Furthermore, recent works have suggested functional differentiation between subregions of the dorsal striatum Methods: The present study examined the effects of bilateral electrolytic lesions of the dorsomedial striatum on motor behavior and learning ability in rats using a series of behavioral tests. 20 male wistar rats were used in the experiment and behavioral assessment were conducted using open field test, rotarod test and 8-arm radial maze. Results: In the open field test, rats with bilateral electrolytic lesions of the dorsomedial striatum showed a normal motor function in the horizontal locomotor activity, while in rearing activity they displayed a statistically significant motor impairment when compared to sham operated group. In the rotarod test, a deficit in motor coordination and acquisition of skilled behavior was observed in rats with bilateral electrolytic lesions of the dorsomedial striatum compared to sham. However, radial maze performance revealed similar capacity in the acquisition of learning task between experimental groups. Discussion: Our results support the premise of the existence of functional dissociation between the dorsomedial and the dorsolateral regions of the dorsal striatum. In addition, our data suggest that the associative dorsomedial striatum may be as critical in striatum-based motor control.

  3. Robust visual tracking via structured multi-task sparse learning

    KAUST Repository

    Zhang, Tianzhu

    2012-11-09

    In this paper, we formulate object tracking in a particle filter framework as a structured multi-task sparse learning problem, which we denote as Structured Multi-Task Tracking (S-MTT). Since we model particles as linear combinations of dictionary templates that are updated dynamically, learning the representation of each particle is considered a single task in Multi-Task Tracking (MTT). By employing popular sparsity-inducing lp,q mixed norms (specifically p∈2,∞ and q=1), we regularize the representation problem to enforce joint sparsity and learn the particle representations together. As compared to previous methods that handle particles independently, our results demonstrate that mining the interdependencies between particles improves tracking performance and overall computational complexity. Interestingly, we show that the popular L1 tracker (Mei and Ling, IEEE Trans Pattern Anal Mach Intel 33(11):2259-2272, 2011) is a special case of our MTT formulation (denoted as the L11 tracker) when p=q=1. Under the MTT framework, some of the tasks (particle representations) are often more closely related and more likely to share common relevant covariates than other tasks. Therefore, we extend the MTT framework to take into account pairwise structural correlations between particles (e.g. spatial smoothness of representation) and denote the novel framework as S-MTT. The problem of learning the regularized sparse representation in MTT and S-MTT can be solved efficiently using an Accelerated Proximal Gradient (APG) method that yields a sequence of closed form updates. As such, S-MTT and MTT are computationally attractive. We test our proposed approach on challenging sequences involving heavy occlusion, drastic illumination changes, and large pose variations. Experimental results show that S-MTT is much better than MTT, and both methods consistently outperform state-of-the-art trackers. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

  4. Social learning of an associative foraging task in zebrafish

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zala, Sarah M.; Määttänen, Ilmari

    2013-05-01

    The zebrafish ( Danio rerio) is increasingly becoming an important model species for studies on the genetic and neural mechanisms controlling behaviour and cognition. Here, we utilized a conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm to study social learning in zebrafish. We tested whether social interactions with conditioned demonstrators enhance the ability of focal naïve individuals to learn an associative foraging task. We found that the presence of conditioned demonstrators improved focal fish foraging behaviour through the process of social transmission, whereas the presence of inexperienced demonstrators interfered with the learning of the control focal fish. Our results indicate that zebrafish use social learning for finding food and that this CPP paradigm is an efficient assay to study social learning and memory in zebrafish.

  5. Improved Discriminability of Spatiotemporal Neural Patterns in Rat Motor Cortical Areas as Directional Choice Learning Progresses

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hongwei eMao

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available Animals learn to choose a proper action among alternatives to improve their odds of success in food foraging and other activities critical for survival. Through trial-and-error, they learn correct associations between their choices and external stimuli. While a neural network that underlies such learning process has been identified at a high level, it is still unclear how individual neurons and a neural ensemble adapt as learning progresses. In this study, we monitored the activity of single units in the rat medial and lateral agranular (AGm and AGl, respectively areas as rats learned to make a left or right side lever press in response to a left or right side light cue. We noticed that rat movement parameters during the performance of the directional choice task quickly became stereotyped during the first 2-3 days or sessions. But learning the directional choice problem took weeks to occur. Accompanying rats’ behavioral performance adaptation, we observed neural modulation by directional choice in recorded single units. Our analysis shows that ensemble mean firing rates in the cue-on period did not change significantly as learning progressed, and the ensemble mean rate difference between left and right side choices did not show a clear trend of change either. However, the spatiotemporal firing patterns of the neural ensemble exhibited improved discriminability between the two directional choices through learning. These results suggest a spatiotemporal neural coding scheme in a motor cortical neural ensemble that may be responsible for and contributing to learning the directional choice task.

  6. Differencial training facilitates early consolidation in motor learning

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    Diana Henz

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available Current research demonstrates increased learning rates in differencial learning (DL compared to repetitive training. To date, little is known on the underlying neurophysiological processes in DL that contribute to superior performance over repetitive practice. In the present study, we measured electroencephalographic (EEG brain activation patterns after DL and repetitive badminton serve training. Twenty-four semi-professional badminton players performed badminton serves in a DL and repetitive training schedule in a within-subjects design. EEG activity was recorded from nineteen electrodes according to the 10-20 system before and immediately after each 20-minute exercise. Increased theta activity was obtained in contralateral parieto-occipital regions after DL. Further, increased posterior alpha activity was obtained in DL compared to repetitive training. Results indicate different underlying neuronal processes in DL and repetitive training with a higher involvement of parieto-occipital areas in DL. We argue that DL facilitates early consolidation in motor learning indicated by post-training increases in theta and alpha activity. Further, brain activation patterns indicate somatosensory working memory processes where attentional resources are allocated in processing of somatosensory information in DL. Reinforcing a somatosensory memory trace might explain increased motor learning rates in DL. Finally, this memory trace is more stable against interference from internal and external disturbances that afford executively controlled processing such as attentional processes.

  7. Relation between location of a motor unit in the human biceps brachii and its critical firing levels for different tasks

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Gielen, C.C.A.M.; Haar Romeny, B.M. ter; Gon, J.J.D. van der

    1984-01-01

    Critical firing levels (CFLs) of single motor units (MUs) in the long head of the human biceps brachii muscle were determined in combinations of two isometric tasks: flexion of the elbow, supination of the lower arm, and exorotation of the humerus, as well as the corresponding antagonistic tasks.

  8. Relationship Between Non-invasive Brain Stimulation-induced Plasticity and Capacity for Motor Learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    López-Alonso, Virginia; Cheeran, Binith; Fernández-del-Olmo, Miguel

    2015-01-01

    Cortical plasticity plays a key role in motor learning (ML). Non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) paradigms have been used to modulate plasticity in the human motor cortex in order to facilitate ML. However, little is known about the relationship between NIBS-induced plasticity over M1 and ML capacity. NIBS-induced MEP changes are related to ML capacity. 56 subjects participated in three NIBS (paired associative stimulation, anodal transcranial direct current stimulation and intermittent theta-burst stimulation), and in three lab-based ML task (serial reaction time, visuomotor adaptation and sequential visual isometric pinch task) sessions. After clustering the patterns of response to the different NIBS protocols, we compared the ML variables between the different patterns found. We used regression analysis to explore further the relationship between ML capacity and summary measures of the MEPs change. We ran correlations with the "responders" group only. We found no differences in ML variables between clusters. Greater response to NIBS protocols may be predictive of poor performance within certain blocks of the VAT. "Responders" to AtDCS and to iTBS showed significantly faster reaction times than "non-responders." However, the physiological significance of these results is uncertain. MEP changes induced in M1 by PAS, AtDCS and iTBS appear to have little, if any, association with the ML capacity tested with the SRTT, the VAT and the SVIPT. However, cortical excitability changes induced in M1 by AtDCS and iTBS may be related to reaction time and retention of newly acquired skills in certain motor learning tasks. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. Promoting Therapists' Use of Motor Learning Strategies within Virtual Reality-Based Stroke Rehabilitation.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Danielle E Levac

    Full Text Available Therapists use motor learning strategies (MLSs to structure practice conditions within stroke rehabilitation. Virtual reality (VR-based rehabilitation is an MLS-oriented stroke intervention, yet little support exists to assist therapists in integrating MLSs with VR system use.A pre-post design evaluated a knowledge translation (KT intervention incorporating interactive e-learning and practice, in which 11 therapists learned how to integrate MLSs within VR-based therapy. Self-report and observer-rated outcome measures evaluated therapists' confidence, clinical reasoning and behaviour with respect to MLS use. A focus group captured therapists' perspectives on MLS use during VR-based therapy provision.The intervention improved self-reported confidence about MLS use as measured by confidence ratings (p <0.001. Chart-Stimulated Recall indicated a moderate level of competency in therapists' clinical reasoning about MLSs following the intervention, with no changes following additional opportunities to use VR (p = .944. On the Motor Learning Strategy Rating Instrument, no behaviour change with respect to MLS use was noted (p = 0.092. Therapists favoured the strategy of transferring skills from VR to real-life tasks over employing a more comprehensive MLS approach.The KT intervention improved therapists' confidence but did not have an effect on clinical reasoning or behaviour with regard to MLS use during VR-based therapy.

  10. Error amplification to promote motor learning and motivation in therapy robotics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shirzad, Navid; Van der Loos, H F Machiel

    2012-01-01

    To study the effects of different feedback error amplification methods on a subject's upper-limb motor learning and affect during a point-to-point reaching exercise, we developed a real-time controller for a robotic manipulandum. The reaching environment was visually distorted by implementing a thirty degrees rotation between the coordinate systems of the robot's end-effector and the visual display. Feedback error amplification was provided to subjects as they trained to learn reaching within the visually rotated environment. Error amplification was provided either visually or through both haptic and visual means, each method with two different amplification gains. Subjects' performance (i.e., trajectory error) and self-reports to a questionnaire were used to study the speed and amount of adaptation promoted by each error amplification method and subjects' emotional changes. We found that providing haptic and visual feedback promotes faster adaptation to the distortion and increases subjects' satisfaction with the task, leading to a higher level of attentiveness during the exercise. This finding can be used to design a novel exercise regimen, where alternating between error amplification methods is used to both increase a subject's motor learning and maintain a minimum level of motivational engagement in the exercise. In future experiments, we will test whether such exercise methods will lead to a faster learning time and greater motivation to pursue a therapy exercise regimen.

  11. Motor imagery learning modulates functional connectivity of multiple brain systems in resting state.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Hang; Long, Zhiying; Ge, Ruiyang; Xu, Lele; Jin, Zhen; Yao, Li; Liu, Yijun

    2014-01-01

    Learning motor skills involves subsequent modulation of resting-state functional connectivity in the sensory-motor system. This idea was mostly derived from the investigations on motor execution learning which mainly recruits the processing of sensory-motor information. Behavioral evidences demonstrated that motor skills in our daily lives could be learned through imagery procedures. However, it remains unclear whether the modulation of resting-state functional connectivity also exists in the sensory-motor system after motor imagery learning. We performed a fMRI investigation on motor imagery learning from resting state. Based on previous studies, we identified eight sensory and cognitive resting-state networks (RSNs) corresponding to the brain systems and further explored the functional connectivity of these RSNs through the assessments, connectivity and network strengths before and after the two-week consecutive learning. Two intriguing results were revealed: (1) The sensory RSNs, specifically sensory-motor and lateral visual networks exhibited greater connectivity strengths in precuneus and fusiform gyrus after learning; (2) Decreased network strength induced by learning was proved in the default mode network, a cognitive RSN. These results indicated that resting-state functional connectivity could be modulated by motor imagery learning in multiple brain systems, and such modulation displayed in the sensory-motor, visual and default brain systems may be associated with the establishment of motor schema and the regulation of introspective thought. These findings further revealed the neural substrates underlying motor skill learning and potentially provided new insights into the therapeutic benefits of motor imagery learning.

  12. Motor Imagery Learning Modulates Functional Connectivity of Multiple Brain Systems in Resting State

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Hang; Long, Zhiying; Ge, Ruiyang; Xu, Lele; Jin, Zhen; Yao, Li; Liu, Yijun

    2014-01-01

    Background Learning motor skills involves subsequent modulation of resting-state functional connectivity in the sensory-motor system. This idea was mostly derived from the investigations on motor execution learning which mainly recruits the processing of sensory-motor information. Behavioral evidences demonstrated that motor skills in our daily lives could be learned through imagery procedures. However, it remains unclear whether the modulation of resting-state functional connectivity also exists in the sensory-motor system after motor imagery learning. Methodology/Principal Findings We performed a fMRI investigation on motor imagery learning from resting state. Based on previous studies, we identified eight sensory and cognitive resting-state networks (RSNs) corresponding to the brain systems and further explored the functional connectivity of these RSNs through the assessments, connectivity and network strengths before and after the two-week consecutive learning. Two intriguing results were revealed: (1) The sensory RSNs, specifically sensory-motor and lateral visual networks exhibited greater connectivity strengths in precuneus and fusiform gyrus after learning; (2) Decreased network strength induced by learning was proved in the default mode network, a cognitive RSN. Conclusions/Significance These results indicated that resting-state functional connectivity could be modulated by motor imagery learning in multiple brain systems, and such modulation displayed in the sensory-motor, visual and default brain systems may be associated with the establishment of motor schema and the regulation of introspective thought. These findings further revealed the neural substrates underlying motor skill learning and potentially provided new insights into the therapeutic benefits of motor imagery learning. PMID:24465577

  13. CEREBELLUM: LINKS BETWEEN DEVELOPMENT, DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS AND MOTOR LEARNING

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mario U Manto

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available The study of the links and interactions between development and motor learning has noticeable implications for the understanding and management of neurodevelopmental disorders. This is particularly relevant for the cerebellum which is critical for sensorimotor learning. The olivocerebellar pathway is a key pathway contributing to learning of motor skills. Its developmental maturation and remodelling are being unravelled. Advances in genetics have led to major improvements in our appraisal of the genes involved in cerebellar development, especially studies in mutant mice. Cerebellar neurogenesis is compartmentalized in relationship with neurotransmitter fate. The Engrailed-2 gene is a major actor of the specification of cerebellar cell types and late embryogenic morphogenesis. Math1, expressed by the rhombic lip (RL, is required for the genesis of glutamatergic neurons. Mutants deficient for the transcription factor Ptf1a display a lack of Purkinje cells and gabaergic interneurons. Rora gene contributes to the developmental signalling between granule cells and Purkinje neurons. The expression profile of SHH (Sonic hedgehog in postnatal stages determines the final size/shape of the cerebellum. Genes affecting the development impact upon the physiological properties of the cerebellar circuits. For instance, receptors are developmentally regulated and their action interferes directly with developmental processes. Another field of research which is expanding relates to very preterm neonates. They are at risk for cerebellar lesions, which may themselves impair the developmental events. Very preterm neonates often show sensori-motor deficits, highlighting another major link between impaired development and learning deficiencies. Pathways playing a critical role in cerebellar development are likely to become therapeutical targets for several neurodevelopmental disorders.

  14. Functional Brain Connectivity during Multiple Motor Imagery Tasks in Spinal Cord Injury

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alkinoos Athanasiou

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Reciprocal communication of the central and peripheral nervous systems is compromised during spinal cord injury due to neurotrauma of ascending and descending pathways. Changes in brain organization after spinal cord injury have been associated with differences in prognosis. Changes in functional connectivity may also serve as injury biomarkers. Most studies on functional connectivity have focused on chronic complete injury or resting-state condition. In our study, ten right-handed patients with incomplete spinal cord injury and ten age- and gender-matched healthy controls performed multiple visual motor imagery tasks of upper extremities and walking under high-resolution electroencephalography recording. Directed transfer function was used to study connectivity at the cortical source space between sensorimotor nodes. Chronic disruption of reciprocal communication in incomplete injury could result in permanent significant decrease of connectivity in a subset of the sensorimotor network, regardless of positive or negative neurological outcome. Cingulate motor areas consistently contributed the larger outflow (right and received the higher inflow (left among all nodes, across all motor imagery categories, in both groups. Injured subjects had higher outflow from left cingulate than healthy subjects and higher inflow in right cingulate than healthy subjects. Alpha networks were less dense, showing less integration and more segregation than beta networks. Spinal cord injury patients showed signs of increased local processing as adaptive mechanism. This trial is registered with NCT02443558.

  15. Theobromine up-regulates cerebral brain-derived neurotrophic factor and facilitates motor learning in mice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yoneda, Mitsugu; Sugimoto, Naotoshi; Katakura, Masanori; Matsuzaki, Kentaro; Tanigami, Hayate; Yachie, Akihiro; Ohno-Shosaku, Takako; Shido, Osamu

    2017-01-01

    Theobromine, which is a caffeine derivative, is the primary methylxanthine produced by Theobroma cacao. Theobromine works as a phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitor to increase intracellular cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). cAMP activates the cAMP-response element-binding protein (CREB), which is involved in a large variety of brain processes, including the induction of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF supports cell survival and neuronal functions, including learning and memory. Thus, cAMP/CREB/BDNF pathways play an important role in learning and memory. Here, we investigated whether orally administered theobromine could act as a PDE inhibitor centrally and affect cAMP/CREB/BDNF pathways and learning behavior in mice. The mice were divided into two groups. The control group (CN) was fed a normal diet, whereas the theobromine group (TB) was fed a diet supplemented with 0.05% theobromine for 30 days. We measured the levels of theobromine, phosphorylated vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (p-VASP), phosphorylated CREB (p-CREB), and BDNF in the brain. p-VASP was used as an index of cAMP increases. Moreover, we analyzed the performance of the mice on a three-lever motor learning task. Theobromine was detectable in the brains of TB mice. The brain levels of p-VASP, p-CREB, and BDNF were higher in the TB mice compared with those in the CN mice. In addition, the TB mice performed better on the three-lever task than the CN mice did. These results strongly suggested that orally administered theobromine acted as a PDE inhibitor in the brain, and it augmented the cAMP/CREB/BDNF pathways and motor learning in mice. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  16. Implicit Learning of a Finger Motor Sequence by Patients with Cerebral Palsy After Neurofeedback.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alves-Pinto, Ana; Turova, Varvara; Blumenstein, Tobias; Hantuschke, Conny; Lampe, Renée

    2017-03-01

    Facilitation of implicit learning of a hand motor sequence after a single session of neurofeedback training of alpha power recorded from the motor cortex has been shown in healthy individuals (Ros et al., Biological Psychology 95:54-58, 2014). This facilitation effect could be potentially applied to improve the outcome of rehabilitation in patients with impaired hand motor function. In the current study a group of ten patients diagnosed with cerebral palsy trained reduction of alpha power derived from brain activity recorded from right and left motor areas. Training was distributed in three periods of 8 min each. In between, participants performed a serial reaction time task with their non-dominant hand, to a total of five runs. A similar procedure was repeated a week or more later but this time training was based on simulated brain activity. Reaction times pooled across participants decreased on each successive run faster after neurofeedback training than after the simulation training. Also recorded were two 3-min baseline conditions, once with the eyes open, another with the eyes closed, at the beginning and end of the experimental session. No significant changes in alpha power with neurofeedback or with simulation training were obtained and no correlation with the reductions in reaction time could be established. Contributions for this are discussed.

  17. Interleaved Practice in Multi-Dimensional Learning Tasks: Which Dimension Should We Interleave?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rau, Martina A.; Aleven, Vincent; Rummel, Nikol

    2013-01-01

    Research shows that multiple representations can enhance student learning. Many curricula use multiple representations across multiple task types. The temporal sequence of representations and task types is likely to impact student learning. Research on contextual interference shows that interleaving learning tasks leads to better learning results…

  18. Incidental orthographic learning during a color detection task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Protopapas, Athanassios; Mitsi, Anna; Koustoumbardis, Miltiadis; Tsitsopoulou, Sofia M; Leventi, Marianna; Seitz, Aaron R

    2017-09-01

    Orthographic learning refers to the acquisition of knowledge about specific spelling patterns forming words and about general biases and constraints on letter sequences. It is thought to occur by strengthening simultaneously activated visual and phonological representations during reading. Here we demonstrate that a visual perceptual learning procedure that leaves no time for articulation can result in orthographic learning evidenced in improved reading and spelling performance. We employed task-irrelevant perceptual learning (TIPL), in which the stimuli to be learned are paired with an easy task target. Assorted line drawings and difficult-to-spell words were presented in red color among sequences of other black-colored words and images presented in rapid succession, constituting a fast-TIPL procedure with color detection being the explicit task. In five experiments, Greek children in Grades 4-5 showed increased recognition of words and images that had appeared in red, both during and after the training procedure, regardless of within-training testing, and also when targets appeared in blue instead of red. Significant transfer to reading and spelling emerged only after increased training intensity. In a sixth experiment, children in Grades 2-3 showed generalization to words not presented during training that carried the same derivational affixes as in the training set. We suggest that reinforcement signals related to detection of the target stimuli contribute to the strengthening of orthography-phonology connections beyond earlier levels of visually-based orthographic representation learning. These results highlight the potential of perceptual learning procedures for the reinforcement of higher-level orthographic representations. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  19. The 50s cliff: a decline in perceptuo-motor learning, not a deficit in visual motion perception.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ren, Jie; Huang, Shaochen; Zhang, Jiancheng; Zhu, Qin; Wilson, Andrew D; Snapp-Childs, Winona; Bingham, Geoffrey P

    2015-01-01

    Previously, we measured perceptuo-motor learning rates across the lifespan and found a sudden drop in learning rates between ages 50 and 60, called the "50s cliff." The task was a unimanual visual rhythmic coordination task in which participants used a joystick to oscillate one dot in a display in coordination with another dot oscillated by a computer. Participants learned to produce a coordination with a 90° relative phase relation between the dots. Learning rates for participants over 60 were half those of younger participants. Given existing evidence for visual motion perception deficits in people over 60 and the role of visual motion perception in the coordination task, it remained unclear whether the 50s cliff reflected onset of this deficit or a genuine decline in perceptuo-motor learning. The current work addressed this question. Two groups of 12 participants in each of four age ranges (20s, 50s, 60s, 70s) learned to perform a bimanual coordination of 90° relative phase. One group trained with only haptic information and the other group with both haptic and visual information about relative phase. Both groups were tested in both information conditions at baseline and post-test. If the 50s cliff was caused by an age dependent deficit in visual motion perception, then older participants in the visual group should have exhibited less learning than those in the haptic group, which should not exhibit the 50s cliff, and older participants in both groups should have performed less well when tested with visual information. Neither of these expectations was confirmed by the results, so we concluded that the 50s cliff reflects a genuine decline in perceptuo-motor learning with aging, not the onset of a deficit in visual motion perception.

  20. To transfer or not to transfer? Kinematics and laterality quotient predict interlimb transfer of motor learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lefumat, Hannah Z; Vercher, Jean-Louis; Miall, R Chris; Cole, Jonathan; Buloup, Frank; Bringoux, Lionel; Bourdin, Christophe; Sarlegna, Fabrice R

    2015-11-01

    Humans can remarkably adapt their motor behavior to novel environmental conditions, yet it remains unclear which factors enable us to transfer what we have learned with one limb to the other. Here we tested the hypothesis that interlimb transfer of sensorimotor adaptation is determined by environmental conditions but also by individual characteristics. We specifically examined the adaptation of unconstrained reaching movements to a novel Coriolis, velocity-dependent force field. Right-handed subjects sat at the center of a rotating platform and performed forward reaching movements with the upper limb toward flashed visual targets in prerotation, per-rotation (i.e., adaptation), and postrotation tests. Here only the dominant arm was used during adaptation and interlimb transfer was assessed by comparing performance of the nondominant arm before and after dominant-arm adaptation. Vision and no-vision conditions did not significantly influence interlimb transfer of trajectory adaptation, which on average was significant but limited. We uncovered a substantial heterogeneity of interlimb transfer across subjects and found that interlimb transfer can be qualitatively and quantitatively predicted for each healthy young individual. A classifier showed that in our study, interlimb transfer could be predicted based on the subject's task performance, most notably motor variability during learning, and his or her laterality quotient. Positive correlations suggested that variability of motor performance and lateralization of arm movement control facilitate interlimb transfer. We further show that these individual characteristics can predict the presence and the magnitude of interlimb transfer of left-handers. Overall, this study suggests that individual characteristics shape the way the nervous system can generalize motor learning. Copyright © 2015 the American Physiological Society.

  1. Multisensory integration in non-human primates during a sensory-motor task

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Florian eLanz

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available Daily our central nervous system receives inputs via several sensory modalities, processes them and integrates information in order to produce a suitable behaviour. The amazing part is that such a multisensory integration brings all information into a unified percept. An approach to start investigating this property is to show that perception is better and faster when multimodal stimuli are used as compared to unimodal stimuli. This forms the first part of the present study conducted in a non-human primate’s model (n=2 engaged in a detection sensory-motor task where visual and auditory stimuli were displayed individually or simultaneously. The measured parameters were the reaction time (RT between stimulus and onset of arm movement, successes and errors percentages, as well as the evolution as a function of time of these parameters with training. As expected, RTs were shorter when the subjects were exposed to combined stimuli. The gains for both subjects were around 20 and 40 msec, as compared with the auditory and visual stimulus alone, respectively. Moreover the number of correct responses increased in response to bimodal stimuli. We interpreted such multisensory advantage through redundant signal effect which decreases perceptual ambiguity, increases speed of stimulus detection and improves performance accuracy.The second part of the study presents single unit recordings derived from the premotor cortex (PM of the same subjects during the sensory-motor task. Response patterns to sensory/multisensory stimulation are documented and specific type proportions are reported. Characterization of bimodal neurons indicates a mechanism of audio-visual integration possibly through a decrease of inhibition. Nevertheless the neural processing leading to faster motor response from PM as a polysensory association cortical area remains still unclear.

  2. Robust visual tracking via multi-task sparse learning

    KAUST Repository

    Zhang, Tianzhu

    2012-06-01

    In this paper, we formulate object tracking in a particle filter framework as a multi-task sparse learning problem, which we denote as Multi-Task Tracking (MTT). Since we model particles as linear combinations of dictionary templates that are updated dynamically, learning the representation of each particle is considered a single task in MTT. By employing popular sparsity-inducing p, q mixed norms (p D; 1), we regularize the representation problem to enforce joint sparsity and learn the particle representations together. As compared to previous methods that handle particles independently, our results demonstrate that mining the interdependencies between particles improves tracking performance and overall computational complexity. Interestingly, we show that the popular L 1 tracker [15] is a special case of our MTT formulation (denoted as the L 11 tracker) when p q 1. The learning problem can be efficiently solved using an Accelerated Proximal Gradient (APG) method that yields a sequence of closed form updates. As such, MTT is computationally attractive. We test our proposed approach on challenging sequences involving heavy occlusion, drastic illumination changes, and large pose variations. Experimental results show that MTT methods consistently outperform state-of-the-art trackers. © 2012 IEEE.

  3. Exploring the role of task performance and learning style on prefrontal hemodynamics during a working memory task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, Afrouz A; Parsa, Kian; Geiger, Sydney; Zaragoza, Rachel; Kermanian, Riley; Miguel, Helga; Dashtestani, Hadis; Chowdhry, Fatima A; Smith, Elizabeth; Aram, Siamak; Gandjbakhche, Amir H

    2018-01-01

    Existing literature outlines the quality and location of activation in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) during working memory (WM) tasks. However, the effects of individual differences on the underlying neural process of WM tasks are still unclear. In this functional near infrared spectroscopy study, we administered a visual and auditory n-back task to examine activation in the PFC while considering the influences of task performance, and preferred learning strategy (VARK score). While controlling for age, results indicated that high performance (HP) subjects (accuracy > 90%) showed task dependent lower activation compared to normal performance subjects in PFC region Specifically HP groups showed lower activation in left dorsolateral PFC (DLPFC) region during performance of auditory task whereas during visual task they showed lower activation in the right DLPFC. After accounting for learning style, we found a correlation between visual and aural VARK score and level of activation in the PFC. Subjects with higher visual VARK scores displayed lower activation during auditory task in left DLPFC, while those with higher visual scores exhibited higher activation during visual task in bilateral DLPFC. During performance of auditory task, HP subjects had higher visual VARK scores compared to NP subjects indicating an effect of learning style on the task performance and activation. The results of this study show that learning style and task performance can influence PFC activation, with applications toward neurological implications of learning style and populations with deficits in auditory or visual processing.

  4. Implicit sequence-specific motor learning after sub-cortical stroke is associated with increased prefrontal brain activations: An fMRI study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meehan, Sean K.; Randhawa, Bubblepreet; Wessel, Brenda; Boyd, Lara A.

    2010-01-01

    Implicit motor learning is preserved after stroke, but how the brain compensates for damage to facilitate learning is unclear. We used a random effects analysis to determine how stroke alters patterns of brain activity during implicit sequence-specific motor learning as compared to general improvements in motor control. Nine healthy participants and 9 individuals with chronic, right focal sub-cortical stroke performed a continuous joystick-based tracking task during an initial fMRI session, over 5 days of practice, and a retention test during a separate fMRI session. Sequence-specific implicit motor learning was differentiated from general improvements in motor control by comparing tracking performance on a novel, repeated tracking sequences during early practice and again at the retention test. Both groups demonstrated implicit sequence-specific motor learning at the retention test, yet substantial differences were apparent. At retention, healthy control participants demonstrated increased BOLD response in left dorsal premotor cortex (BA 6) but decreased BOLD response left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC; BA 9) during repeated sequence tracking. In contrast, at retention individuals with stroke did not show this reduction in DLPFC during repeated tracking. Instead implicit sequence-specific motor learning and general improvements in motor control were associated with increased BOLD response in the left middle frontal gyrus BA 8, regardless of sequence type after stroke. These data emphasize the potential importance of a prefrontal-based attentional network for implicit motor learning after stroke. The present study is the first to highlight the importance of the prefrontal cortex for implicit sequence-specific motor learning after stroke. PMID:20725908

  5. Dual Task of Fine Motor Skill and Problem Solving in Individuals With Multiple Sclerosis: A Pilot Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goverover, Y; Sandroff, B M; DeLuca, J

    2018-04-01

    To (1) examine and compare dual-task performance in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and healthy controls (HCs) using mathematical problem-solving questions that included an everyday competence component while performing an upper extremity fine motor task; and (2) examine whether difficulties in dual-task performance are associated with problems in performing an everyday internet task. Pilot study, mixed-design with both a within and between subjects' factor. A nonprofit rehabilitation research institution and the community. Participants (N=38) included persons with MS (n=19) and HCs (n=19) who were recruited from a nonprofit rehabilitation research institution and from the community. Not applicable. Participant were presented with 2 testing conditions: (1) solving mathematical everyday problems or placing bolts into divots (single-task condition); and (2) solving problems while putting bolts into divots (dual-task condition). Additionally, participants were required to perform a test of everyday internet competence. As expected, dual-task performance was significantly worse than either of the single-task tasks (ie, number of bolts into divots or correct answers, and time to answer the questions). Cognitive but not motor dual-task cost was associated with worse performance in activities of everyday internet tasks. Cognitive dual-task cost is significantly associated with worse performance of everyday technology. This was not observed in the motor dual-task cost. The implications of dual-task costs on everyday activity are discussed. Copyright © 2017 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. The contribution of nocturnal sleep to the consolidation of motor skill learning in healthy ageing and Parkinson's disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Terpening, Zoe; Naismith, Sharon; Melehan, Kerri; Gittins, Catherine; Bolitho, Sam; Lewis, Simon J G

    2013-08-01

    The benefits of sleep for the consolidation of procedural motor skills are less robust in older adults, although the precise reasons for this remain unclear. To date, even less is known about these processes in older adults with neurodegenerative diseases, particularly those which impact on motor functioning. While sleep disturbance and motor symptoms are frequent disabling features of Parkinson's disease, no known studies have directly probed sleep-dependent memory consolidation for motor skill learning in Parkinson's disease. Forty patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (age = 63.7 years ± 7.7; disease duration 4.1 years ± 4.4) completed a motor skill learning task pre- and post-sleep and were compared to 20 age- and sex-matched controls recruited from the community. Polysomnography was undertaken during the post-training night and measures of sleep architecture were derived. Parkinson's disease patients did not demonstrate any apparent deficits in within-session learning and overnight stabilization compared to controls, with both groups failing to demonstrate offline improvements in performance (i.e. memory consolidation). In controls, longer duration in slow wave sleep was associated with improved next-day session learning (P = 0.007). However, in Parkinson's disease, no relationships between sleep parameters and learning measures were found. Slow wave sleep microarchitecture and the use of dopaminergic medications may contribute to impaired sleep-dependent multi-session acquisition of motor skill learning in Parkinson's disease. © 2013 European Sleep Research Society.

  7. The effect of stimulus duration and motor response in hemispatial neglect during a visual search task.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura M Jelsone-Swain

    Full Text Available Patients with hemispatial neglect exhibit a myriad of profound deficits. A hallmark of this syndrome is the patients' absence of awareness of items located in their contralesional space. Many studies, however, have demonstrated that neglect patients exhibit some level of processing of these neglected items. It has been suggested that unconscious processing of neglected information may manifest as a fast denial. This theory of fast denial proposes that neglected stimuli are detected in the same way as non-neglected stimuli, but without overt awareness. We evaluated the fast denial theory by conducting two separate visual search task experiments, each differing by the duration of stimulus presentation. Specifically, in Experiment 1 each stimulus remained in the participants' visual field until a response was made. In Experiment 2 each stimulus was presented for only a brief duration. We further evaluated the fast denial theory by comparing verbal to motor task responses in each experiment. Overall, our results from both experiments and tasks showed no evidence for the presence of implicit knowledge of neglected stimuli. Instead, patients with neglect responded the same when they neglected stimuli as when they correctly reported stimulus absence. These findings thus cast doubt on the concept of the fast denial theory and its consequent implications for non-conscious processing. Importantly, our study demonstrated that the only behavior affected was during conscious detection of ipsilesional stimuli. Specifically, patients were slower to detect stimuli in Experiment 1 compared to Experiment 2, suggesting a duration effect occurred during conscious processing of information. Additionally, reaction time and accuracy were similar when reporting verbally versus motorically. These results provide new insights into the perceptual deficits associated with neglect and further support other work that falsifies the fast denial account of non

  8. Motor learning and working memory in children born preterm: a systematic review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jongbloed-Pereboom, Marjolein; Janssen, Anjo J W M; Steenbergen, Bert; Nijhuis-van der Sanden, Maria W G

    2012-04-01

    Children born preterm have a higher risk for developing motor, cognitive, and behavioral problems. Motor problems can occur in combination with working memory problems, and working memory is important for explicit learning of motor skills. The relation between motor learning and working memory has never been reviewed. The goal of this review was to provide an overview of motor learning, visual working memory and the role of working memory on motor learning in preterm children. A systematic review conducted in four databases identified 38 relevant articles, which were evaluated for methodological quality. Only 4 of 38 articles discussed motor learning in preterm children. Thirty-four studies reported on visual working memory; preterm birth affected performance on visual working memory tests. Information regarding motor learning and the role of working memory on the different components of motor learning was not available. Future research should address this issue. Insight in the relation between motor learning and visual working memory may contribute to the development of evidence based intervention programs for children born preterm. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Visual-motor association learning in undergraduate students as a function of the autism-spectrum quotient.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parkington, Karisa B; Clements, Rebecca J; Landry, Oriane; Chouinard, Philippe A

    2015-10-01

    We examined how performance on an associative learning task changes in a sample of undergraduate students as a function of their autism-spectrum quotient (AQ) score. The participants, without any prior knowledge of the Japanese language, learned to associate hiragana characters with button responses. In the novel condition, 50 participants learned visual-motor associations without any prior exposure to the stimuli's visual attributes. In the familiar condition, a different set of 50 participants completed a session in which they first became familiar with the stimuli's visual appearance prior to completing the visual-motor association learning task. Participants with higher AQ scores had a clear advantage in the novel condition; the amount of training required reaching learning criterion correlated negatively with AQ. In contrast, participants with lower AQ scores had a clear advantage in the familiar condition; the amount of training required to reach learning criterion correlated positively with AQ. An examination of how each of the AQ subscales correlated with these learning patterns revealed that abilities in visual discrimination-which is known to depend on the visual ventral-stream system-may have afforded an advantage in the novel condition for the participants with the higher AQ scores, whereas abilities in attention switching-which are known to require mechanisms in the prefrontal cortex-may have afforded an advantage in the familiar condition for the participants with the lower AQ scores.

  10. Mind wandering and motor control: off-task thinking disrupts the online adjustment of behavior.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kam, Julia W Y; Dao, Elizabeth; Blinn, Patricia; Krigolson, Olav E; Boyd, Lara A; Handy, Todd C

    2012-01-01

    Mind wandering episodes have been construed as periods of "stimulus-independent" thought, where our minds are decoupled from the external sensory environment. In two experiments, we used behavioral and event-related potential (ERP) measures to determine whether mind wandering episodes can also be considered as periods of "response-independent" thought, with our minds disengaged from adjusting our behavioral outputs. In the first experiment, participants performed a motor tracking task and were occasionally prompted to report whether their attention was "on-task" or "mind wandering." We found greater tracking error in periods prior to mind wandering vs. on-task reports. To ascertain whether this finding was due to attenuation in visual perception per se vs. a disruptive effect of mind wandering on performance monitoring, we conducted a second experiment in which participants completed a time-estimation task. They were given feedback on the accuracy of their estimations while we recorded their EEG, and were also occasionally asked to report their attention state. We found that the sensitivity of behavior and the P3 ERP component to feedback signals were significantly reduced just prior to mind wandering vs. on-task attentional reports. Moreover, these effects co-occurred with decreases in the error-related negativity elicited by feedback signals (fERN), a direct measure of behavioral feedback assessment in cortex. Our findings suggest that the functional consequences of mind wandering are not limited to just the processing of incoming stimulation per se, but extend as well to the control and adjustment of behavior.

  11. Task-Based Mirror Therapy Augmenting Motor Recovery in Poststroke Hemiparesis: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arya, Kamal Narayan; Pandian, Shanta; Kumar, Dharmendra; Puri, Vinod

    2015-08-01

    To establish the effect of the task-based mirror therapy (TBMT) on the upper limb recovery in stroke. A pilot, randomized, controlled, assessor-blinded trial was conducted in a rehabilitation institute. A convenience sample of 33 poststroke (mean duration, 12.5 months) hemiparetic subjects was randomized into 2 groups (experimental, 17; control, 16). The subjects were allocated to receive either TBMT or standard motor rehabilitation-40 sessions (5/week) for a period of 8 weeks. The TBMT group received movements using various goal-directed tasks and a mirror box. The movements were performed by the less-affected side superimposed on the affected side. The main outcome measures were Brunnstrom recovery stage (BRS) and Fugl-Meyer assessment (FMA)-FMA of upper extremity (FMA-UE), including upper arm (FMA-UA) and wrist-hand (FMA-WH). The TBMT group exhibited highly significant improvement on mean scores of FMA-WH (P hemiparesis. MT using tasks may be used as an adjunct in stroke rehabilitation. Copyright © 2015 National Stroke Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  12. Localised task-dependent motor-unit recruitment in the masseter.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schindler, H J; Hellmann, D; Giannakopoulos, N N; Eiglsperger, U; van Dijk, J P; Lapatki, B G

    2014-07-01

    Localised motor-unit (MU) recruitment in the masseter was analysed in this study. We investigated whether differential activation behaviour, which has already been reported for distant masseter regions, can also be detected in small muscle subvolumes at the level of single MUs. Two bipolar fine-wire electrodes and an intra-oral 3D bite-force transmitter were used to record intra-muscular electromyograms (EMG) resulting from controlled bite-forces of 10 healthy human subjects (mean age 24.1 ± 1.2 years). Two-hundred and seventeen decomposed MUs were organised into localised MU task groups with different (P < 0.001) force-direction-specific behaviour. Proportions of MUs involved in one, two, three or four examined tasks were 46%, 31%, 18% and 5%, respectively. This study provides evidence of the ability of the neuromuscular system to modify the mechanical output of small masseter subvolumes by differential control of adjacent MUs belonging to distinct task groups. Localised differential activation behaviour of the masseter may be the crucial factor enabling highly flexible and efficient adjustment of the muscle activity in response to complex local biomechanical needs, for example, continually varying bite-forces during the demanding masticatory process. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  13. Unimodal Versus Bimodal EEG-fMRI Neurofeedback of a Motor Imagery Task

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lorraine Perronnet

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available Neurofeedback is a promising tool for brain rehabilitation and peak performance training. Neurofeedback approaches usually rely on a single brain imaging modality such as EEG or fMRI. Combining these modalities for neurofeedback training could allow to provide richer information to the subject and could thus enable him/her to achieve faster and more specific self-regulation. Yet unimodal and multimodal neurofeedback have never been compared before. In the present work, we introduce a simultaneous EEG-fMRI experimental protocol in which participants performed a motor-imagery task in unimodal and bimodal NF conditions. With this protocol we were able to compare for the first time the effects of unimodal EEG-neurofeedback and fMRI-neurofeedback versus bimodal EEG-fMRI-neurofeedback by looking both at EEG and fMRI activations. We also propose a new feedback metaphor for bimodal EEG-fMRI-neurofeedback that integrates both EEG and fMRI signal in a single bi-dimensional feedback (a ball moving in 2D. Such a feedback is intended to relieve the cognitive load of the subject by presenting the bimodal neurofeedback task as a single regulation task instead of two. Additionally, this integrated feedback metaphor gives flexibility on defining a bimodal neurofeedback target. Participants were able to regulate activity in their motor regions in all NF conditions. Moreover, motor activations as revealed by offline fMRI analysis were stronger during EEG-fMRI-neurofeedback than during EEG-neurofeedback. This result suggests that EEG-fMRI-neurofeedback could be more specific or more engaging than EEG-neurofeedback. Our results also suggest that during EEG-fMRI-neurofeedback, participants tended to regulate more the modality that was harder to control. Taken together our results shed first light on the specific mechanisms of bimodal EEG-fMRI-neurofeedback and on its added-value as compared to unimodal EEG-neurofeedback and fMRI-neurofeedback.

  14. Effect of tonic pain on motor acquisition and retention while learning to reach in a force field.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamothe, Mélanie; Roy, Jean-Sébastien; Bouffard, Jason; Gagné, Martin; Bouyer, Laurent J; Mercier, Catherine

    2014-01-01

    Most patients receiving intensive rehabilitation to improve their upper limb function experience pain. Despite this, the impact of pain on the ability to learn a specific motor task is still unknown. The aim of this study was to determine whether the presence of experimental tonic pain interferes with the acquisition and retention stages of motor learning associated with training in a reaching task. Twenty-nine healthy subjects were randomized to either a Control or Pain Group (receiving topical capsaicin cream on the upper arm during training on Day 1). On two consecutive days, subjects made ballistic movements towards two targets (NEAR/FAR) using a robotized exoskeleton. On Day 1, the task was performed without (baseline) and with a force field (adaptation). The adaptation task was repeated on Day 2. Task performance was assessed using index distance from the target at the end of the reaching movement. Motor planning was assessed using initial angle of deviation of index trajectory from a straight line to the target. Results show that tonic pain did not affect baseline reaching. Both groups improved task performance across time (pControl group for the FAR target (p = 0.030) during both acquisition and retention. Moreover, a Group x Time interaction (p = 0.028) was observed on initial angle of deviation, suggesting that subjects with Pain made larger adjustments in the feedforward component of the movement over time. Interestingly, behaviour of the Pain group was very stable from the end of Day 1 (with pain) to the beginning of Day 2 (pain-free), indicating that the differences observed could not solely be explained by the impact of pain on immediate performance. This suggests that if people learn to move differently in the presence of pain, they might maintain this altered strategy over time.

  15. Effect of tonic pain on motor acquisition and retention while learning to reach in a force field.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mélanie Lamothe

    Full Text Available Most patients receiving intensive rehabilitation to improve their upper limb function experience pain. Despite this, the impact of pain on the ability to learn a specific motor task is still unknown. The aim of this study was to determine whether the presence of experimental tonic pain interferes with the acquisition and retention stages of motor learning associated with training in a reaching task. Twenty-nine healthy subjects were randomized to either a Control or Pain Group (receiving topical capsaicin cream on the upper arm during training on Day 1. On two consecutive days, subjects made ballistic movements towards two targets (NEAR/FAR using a robotized exoskeleton. On Day 1, the task was performed without (baseline and with a force field (adaptation. The adaptation task was repeated on Day 2. Task performance was assessed using index distance from the target at the end of the reaching movement. Motor planning was assessed using initial angle of deviation of index trajectory from a straight line to the target. Results show that tonic pain did not affect baseline reaching. Both groups improved task performance across time (p<0.001, but the Pain group showed a larger final error (under-compensation than the Control group for the FAR target (p = 0.030 during both acquisition and retention. Moreover, a Group x Time interaction (p = 0.028 was observed on initial angle of deviation, suggesting that subjects with Pain made larger adjustments in the feedforward component of the movement over time. Interestingly, behaviour of the Pain group was very stable from the end of Day 1 (with pain to the beginning of Day 2 (pain-free, indicating that the differences observed could not solely be explained by the impact of pain on immediate performance. This suggests that if people learn to move differently in the presence of pain, they might maintain this altered strategy over time.

  16. Context-dependent memory decay is evidence of effort minimization in motor learning: a computational study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takiyama, Ken

    2015-01-01

    Recent theoretical models suggest that motor learning includes at least two processes: error minimization and memory decay. While learning a novel movement, a motor memory of the movement is gradually formed to minimize the movement error between the desired and actual movements in each training trial, but the memory is slightly forgotten in each trial. The learning effects of error minimization trained with a certain movement are partially available in other non-trained movements, and this transfer of the learning effect can be reproduced by certain theoretical frameworks. Although most theoretical frameworks have assumed that a motor memory trained with a certain movement decays at the same speed during performing the trained movement as non-trained movements, a recent study reported that the motor memory decays faster during performing the trained movement than non-trained movements, i.e., the decay rate of motor memory is movement or context dependent. Although motor learning has been successfully modeled based on an optimization framework, e.g., movement error minimization, the type of optimization that can lead to context-dependent memory decay is unclear. Thus, context-dependent memory decay raises the question of what is optimized in motor learning. To reproduce context-dependent memory decay, I extend a motor primitive framework. Specifically, I introduce motor effort optimization into the framework because some previous studies have reported the existence of effort optimization in motor learning processes and no conventional motor primitive model has yet considered the optimization. Here, I analytically and numerically revealed that context-dependent decay is a result of motor effort optimization. My analyses suggest that context-dependent decay is not merely memory decay but is evidence of motor effort optimization in motor learning.

  17. Context-dependent memory decay is evidence of effort minimization in motor learning: A computational study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ken eTakiyama

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available Recent theoretical models suggest that motor learning includes at least two processes: error minimization and memory decay. While learning a novel movement, a motor memory of the movement is gradually formed to minimize the movement error between the desired and actual movements in each training trial, but the memory is slightly forgotten in each trial. The learning effects of error minimization trained with a certain movement are partially available in other non-trained movements, and this transfer of the learning effect can be reproduced by certain theoretical frameworks. Although most theoretical frameworks have assumed that a motor memory trained with a certain movement decays at the same speed during performing the trained movement as non-trained movements, a recent study reported that the motor memory decays faster during performing the trained movement than non-trained movements, i.e., the decay rate of motor memory is movement or context dependent. Although motor learning has been successfully modeled based on an optimization framework, e.g., movement error minimization, the type of optimization that can lead to context-dependent memory decay is unclear. Thus, context-dependent memory decay raises the question of what is optimized in motor learning. To reproduce context-dependent memory decay, I extend a motor primitive framework. Specifically, I introduce motor effort optimization into the framework because some previous studies have reported the existence of effort optimization in motor learning processes and no conventional motor primitive model has yet considered the optimization. Here, I analytically and numerically revealed that context-dependent decay is a result of motor effort optimization. My analyses suggest that context-dependent decay is not merely memory decay but is evidence of motor effort optimization in motor learning.

  18. Amount of kinematic feedback affects learning of speech motor skills.

    Sci