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Sample records for active motor learning

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

  2. Motor skill learning requires active central myelination.

    PubMed

    McKenzie, Ian A; Ohayon, David; Li, Huiliang; de Faria, Joana Paes; Emery, Ben; Tohyama, Koujiro; Richardson, William D

    2014-10-17

    Myelin-forming oligodendrocytes (OLs) are formed continuously in the healthy adult brain. In this work, we study the function of these late-forming cells and the myelin they produce. Learning a new motor skill (such as juggling) alters the structure of the brain's white matter, which contains many OLs, suggesting that late-born OLs might contribute to motor learning. Consistent with this idea, we show that production of newly formed OLs is briefly accelerated in mice that learn a new skill (running on a "complex wheel" with irregularly spaced rungs). By genetically manipulating the transcription factor myelin regulatory factor in OL precursors, we blocked production of new OLs during adulthood without affecting preexisting OLs or myelin. This prevented the mice from mastering the complex wheel. Thus, generation of new OLs and myelin is important for learning motor skills. PMID:25324381

  3. Active Learning: Learning a Motor Skill Without a Coach

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Vincent S.; Shadmehr, Reza; Diedrichsen, Jörn

    2008-01-01

    When we learn a new skill (e.g., golf) without a coach, we are “active learners”: we have to choose the specific components of the task on which to train (e.g., iron, driver, putter, etc.). What guides our selection of the training sequence? How do choices that people make compare with choices made by machine learning algorithms that attempt to optimize performance? We asked subjects to learn the novel dynamics of a robotic tool while moving it in four directions. They were instructed to choose their practice directions to maximize their performance in subsequent tests. We found that their choices were strongly influenced by motor errors: subjects tended to immediately repeat an action if that action had produced a large error. This strategy was correlated with better performance on test trials. However, even when participants performed perfectly on a movement, they did not avoid repeating that movement. The probability of repeating an action did not drop below chance even when no errors were observed. This behavior led to suboptimal performance. It also violated a strong prediction of current machine learning algorithms, which solve the active learning problem by choosing a training sequence that will maximally reduce the learner's uncertainty about the task. While we show that these algorithms do not provide an adequate description of human behavior, our results suggest ways to improve human motor learning by helping people choose an optimal training sequence. PMID:18509079

  4. Active learning: learning a motor skill without a coach.

    PubMed

    Huang, Vincent S; Shadmehr, Reza; Diedrichsen, Jörn

    2008-08-01

    When we learn a new skill (e.g., golf) without a coach, we are "active learners": we have to choose the specific components of the task on which to train (e.g., iron, driver, putter, etc.). What guides our selection of the training sequence? How do choices that people make compare with choices made by machine learning algorithms that attempt to optimize performance? We asked subjects to learn the novel dynamics of a robotic tool while moving it in four directions. They were instructed to choose their practice directions to maximize their performance in subsequent tests. We found that their choices were strongly influenced by motor errors: subjects tended to immediately repeat an action if that action had produced a large error. This strategy was correlated with better performance on test trials. However, even when participants performed perfectly on a movement, they did not avoid repeating that movement. The probability of repeating an action did not drop below chance even when no errors were observed. This behavior led to suboptimal performance. It also violated a strong prediction of current machine learning algorithms, which solve the active learning problem by choosing a training sequence that will maximally reduce the learner's uncertainty about the task. While we show that these algorithms do not provide an adequate description of human behavior, our results suggest ways to improve human motor learning by helping people choose an optimal training sequence. PMID:18509079

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-21

    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

  6. Motor-Skill Learning Is Dependent on Astrocytic Activity

    PubMed Central

    Padmashri, Ragunathan; Suresh, Anand; Boska, Michael D.; Dunaevsky, Anna

    2015-01-01

    Motor-skill learning induces changes in synaptic structure and function in the primary motor cortex through the involvement of a long-term potentiation- (LTP-) like mechanism. Although there is evidence that calcium-dependent release of gliotransmitters by astrocytes plays an important role in synaptic transmission and plasticity, the role of astrocytes in motor-skill learning is not known. To test the hypothesis that astrocytic activity is necessary for motor-skill learning, we perturbed astrocytic function using pharmacological and genetic approaches. We find that perturbation of astrocytes either by selectively attenuating IP3R2 mediated astrocyte Ca2+ signaling or using an astrocyte specific metabolic inhibitor fluorocitrate (FC) results in impaired motor-skill learning of a forelimb reaching-task in mice. Moreover, the learning impairment caused by blocking astrocytic activity using FC was rescued by administration of the gliotransmitter D-serine. The learning impairments are likely caused by impaired LTP as FC blocked LTP in slices and prevented motor-skill training-induced increases in synaptic AMPA-type glutamate receptor in vivo. These results support the conclusion that normal astrocytic Ca2+ signaling during a reaching task is necessary for motor-skill learning. PMID:26346977

  7. Dopamine Promotes Motor Cortex Plasticity and Motor Skill Learning via PLC Activation

    PubMed Central

    Rioult-Pedotti, Mengia-Seraina; Pekanovic, Ana; Atiemo, Clement Osei; Marshall, John; Luft, Andreas Rüdiger

    2015-01-01

    Dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area, the major midbrain nucleus projecting to the motor cortex, play a key role in motor skill learning and motor cortex synaptic plasticity. Dopamine D1 and D2 receptor antagonists exert parallel effects in the motor system: they impair motor skill learning and reduce long-term potentiation. Traditionally, D1 and D2 receptor modulate adenylyl cyclase activity and cyclic adenosine monophosphate accumulation in opposite directions via different G-proteins and bidirectionally modulate protein kinase A (PKA), leading to distinct physiological and behavioral effects. Here we show that D1 and D2 receptor activity influences motor skill acquisition and long term synaptic potentiation via phospholipase C (PLC) activation in rat primary motor cortex. Learning a new forelimb reaching task is severely impaired in the presence of PLC, but not PKA-inhibitor. Similarly, long term potentiation in motor cortex, a mechanism involved in motor skill learning, is reduced when PLC is inhibited but remains unaffected by the PKA inhibitor. Skill learning deficits and reduced synaptic plasticity caused by dopamine antagonists are prevented by co-administration of a PLC agonist. These results provide evidence for a role of intracellular PLC signaling in motor skill learning and associated cortical synaptic plasticity, challenging the traditional view of bidirectional modulation of PKA by D1 and D2 receptors. These findings reveal a novel and important action of dopamine in motor cortex that might be a future target for selective therapeutic interventions to support learning and recovery of movement resulting from injury and disease. PMID:25938462

  8. Patterns of regional brain activation associated with different forms of motor learning.

    PubMed

    Ghilardi, M; Ghez, C; Dhawan, V; Moeller, J; Mentis, M; Nakamura, T; Antonini, A; Eidelberg, D

    2000-07-14

    To examine the variations in regional cerebral blood flow during execution and learning of reaching movements, we employed a family of kinematically and dynamically controlled motor tasks in which cognitive, mnemonic and executive features of performance were differentiated and characterized quantitatively. During 15O-labeled water positron emission tomography (PET) scans, twelve right-handed subjects moved their dominant hand on a digitizing tablet from a central location to equidistant targets displayed with a cursor on a computer screen in synchrony with a tone. In the preceding week, all subjects practiced three motor tasks: 1) movements to a predictable sequence of targets; 2) learning of new visuomotor transformations in which screen cursor motion was rotated by 30 degrees -60 degrees; 3) learning new target sequences by trial and error, by using previously acquired routines in a task placing heavy load on spatial working memory. The control condition was observing screen and audio displays. Subtraction images were analyzed with Statistical Parametric Mapping to identify significant brain activation foci. Execution of predictable sequences was characterized by a modest decrease in movement time and spatial error. The underlying pattern of activation involved primary motor and sensory areas, cerebellum, basal ganglia. Adaptation to a rotated reference frame, a form of procedural learning, was associated with decrease in the imposed directional bias. This task was associated with activation in the right posterior parietal cortex. New sequences were learned explicitly. Significant activation was found in dorsolateral prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices. In this study, we have introduced a series of flexible motor tasks with similar kinematic characteristics and different spatial attributes. These tasks can be used to assess specific aspects of motor learning with imaging in health and disease. PMID:10882792

  9. Longitudinal Changes in the Motor Learning-Related Brain Activation Response in Presymptomatic Huntington's Disease

    PubMed Central

    Holtbernd, Florian; Tang, Chris C.; Feigin, Andrew; Dhawan, Vijay; Ghilardi, Maria Felice; Paulsen, Jane S.; Guttman, Mark; Eidelberg, David

    2016-01-01

    Neurocognitive decline, including deficits in motor learning, occurs in the presymptomatic phase of Huntington’s disease (HD) and precedes the onset of motor symptoms. Findings from recent neuroimaging studies have linked these deficits to alterations in fronto-striatal and fronto-parietal brain networks. However, little is known about the temporal dynamics of these networks when subjects approach phenoconversion. Here, 10 subjects with presymptomatic HD were scanned with 15O-labeled water at baseline and again 1.5 years later while performing a motor sequence learning task and a kinematically matched control task. Spatial covariance analysis was utilized to characterize patterns of change in learning-related neural activation occurring over time in these individuals. Pattern expression was compared to corresponding values in 10 age-matched healthy control subjects. Spatial covariance analysis revealed significant longitudinal changes in the expression of a specific learning-related activation pattern characterized by increasing activity in the right orbitofrontal cortex, with concurrent reductions in the right medial prefrontal and posterior cingulate regions, the left insula, left precuneus, and left cerebellum. Changes in the expression of this pattern over time correlated with baseline measurements of disease burden and learning performance. The network changes were accompanied by modest improvement in learning performance that took place concurrently in the gene carriers. The presence of increased network activity in the setting of stable task performance is consistent with a discrete compensatory mechanism. The findings suggest that this effect is most pronounced in the late presymptomatic phase of HD, as subjects approach clinical onset. PMID:27192167

  10. The effects of sleep, wake activity and time-on-task on offline motor sequence learning.

    PubMed

    Landry, Shane; Anderson, Clare; Conduit, Russell

    2016-01-01

    While intervening sleep promotes the consolidation of memory, it is well established that cognitive interference from competing stimuli can impede memory retention. The current study examined changes in motor skill learning across periods of wakefulness with and without competing stimuli, and periods of sleep with and without disruption from external stimuli. A napping study design was adopted where participants (N=44) either had (1) a 30min nap composed of Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep, (2) 30min NREM nap fragmented by audio tone induced arousals, (3) 45min of quiet wakefulness, or (4) 45min of active wakefulness. Measures of subjective sleepiness (KSS), alertness (PVT) and motor skill learning (Sequential Finger Tapping Task, SFTT) were completed in the morning and evening to assess performance pre- and post-nap or wakefulness. Following a practice session, change in motor skill performance was measured over a 10min post training rest interval, as well as following a 7h morning to evening interval comprising one of the four study conditions. A significant offline enhancement in motor task performance (13-23%) was observed following 10min of rest in all conditions. Following the long delay with the intervening nap/wake condition, there were no further offline gains or losses in performance in any sleep (uninterrupted/fragmented) or wake (quiet/active) condition. The current findings suggest that after controlling for offline gains in performance that occur after a brief rest and likely to due to the dissipation of fatigue, the subsequent effect of an intervening sleep or wake period on motor skill consolidation is not significant. Consistent with this null result, the impact of disrupting the sleep episode or manipulating activity during intervening wake also appears to be negligible. PMID:26655281

  11. LTD, RP, and Motor Learning.

    PubMed

    Hirano, Tomoo; Yamazaki, Yoshito; Nakamura, Yoji

    2016-02-01

    Long-term depression (LTD) at excitatory synapses between parallel fibers and a Purkinje cell has been regarded as a critical cellular mechanism for motor learning. However, it was demonstrated that normal motor learning occurs under LTD suppression, suggesting that cerebellar plasticity mechanisms other than LTD also contribute to motor learning. One candidate for such plasticity is rebound potentiation (RP), which is long-term potentiation at inhibitory synapses between a stellate cell and a Purkinje cell. Both LTD and RP are induced by the increase in postsynaptic Ca(2+) concentration, and work to suppress the activity of a Purkinje cell. Thus, LTD and RP might work synergistically, and one might compensate defects of the other. RP induction is dependent on the interaction between GABAA receptor and GABAA receptor binding protein (GABARAP). Transgenic mice expressing a peptide which inhibits binding of GABARAP and GABAA receptor only in Purkinje cells show defects in both RP and adaptation of vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR), a motor learning paradigm. However, another example of motor learning, adaptation of optokinetic response (OKR), is normal in the transgenic mice. Both VOR and OKR are reflex eye movements suppressing the slip of visual image on the retina during head movement. Previously, we reported that delphilin knockout mice show facilitated LTD induction and enhanced OKR adaptation, but we recently found that VOR adaptation was not enhanced in the knockout mice. These results together suggest that animals might use LTD and RP differently depending on motor learning tasks. PMID:26160222

  12. Motor learning by observing.

    PubMed

    Mattar, Andrew A G; Gribble, Paul L

    2005-04-01

    Learning complex motor behaviors like riding a bicycle or swinging a golf club is based on acquiring neural representations of the mechanical requirements of movement (e.g., coordinating muscle forces to control the club). Here we provide evidence that mechanisms matching observation and action facilitate motor learning. Subjects who observed a video depicting another person learning to reach in a novel mechanical environment (imposed by a robot arm) performed better when later tested in the same environment than subjects who observed similar movements but no learning; moreover, subjects who observed learning of a different environment performed worse. We show that this effect is not based on conscious strategies but instead depends on the implicit engagement of neural systems for movement planning and control. PMID:15820701

  13. Stages of motor skill learning.

    PubMed

    Luft, Andreas R; Buitrago, Manuel M

    2005-12-01

    Successful learning of a motor skill requires repetitive training. Once the skill is mastered, it can be remembered for a long period of time. The durable memory makes motor skill learning an interesting paradigm for the study of learning and memory mechanisms. To gain better understanding, one scientific approach is to dissect the process into stages and to study these as well as their interactions. This article covers the growing evidence that motor skill learning advances through stages, in which different storage mechanisms predominate. The acquisition phase is characterized by fast (within session) and slow learning (between sessions). For a short period following the initial training sessions, the skill is labile to interference by other skills and by protein synthesis inhibition, indicating that consolidation processes occur during rest periods between training sessions. During training as well as rest periods, activation in different brain regions changes dynamically. Evidence for stages in motor skill learning is provided by experiments using behavioral, electrophysiological, functional imaging, and cellular/molecular methods. PMID:16385137

  14. Neural co-activation as a yardstick of implicit motor learning and the propensity for conscious control of movement.

    PubMed

    Zhu, F F; Poolton, J M; Wilson, M R; Maxwell, J P; Masters, R S W

    2011-04-01

    Two studies examined EEG co-activation (coherence) between the verbal-analytical (T3) and motor planning (Fz) regions during a golf putting task. In Study 1, participants with a strong propensity to consciously monitor and control their movements, determined psychometrically by high scores on a movement specific Reinvestment Scale, displayed more alpha2 T3-Fz co-activation than participants with a weak propensity. In Study 2, participants who practiced a golf putting task implicitly (via an errorless learning protocol) displayed less alpha2 T3-Fz co-activation than those who practiced explicitly (by errorful learning). In addition, explicit but not implicit motor learners displayed more T3-Fz co-activation during golf putting under pressure, implying that verbal-analytical processing of putting movements increased under pressure. These findings provide neuropsychological evidence that supports claims that implicit motor learning can be used to limit movement specific reinvestment. PMID:21315795

  15. The Homeostatic Interaction Between Anodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and Motor Learning in Humans is Related to GABAA Activity

    PubMed Central

    Amadi, Ugwechi; Allman, Claire; Johansen-Berg, Heidi; Stagg, Charlotte J.

    2015-01-01

    Background The relative timing of plasticity-induction protocols is known to be crucial. For example, anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), which increases cortical excitability and typically enhances plasticity, can impair performance if it is applied before a motor learning task. Such timing-dependent effects have been ascribed to homeostatic plasticity, but the specific synaptic site of this interaction remains unknown. Objective We wished to investigate the synaptic substrate, and in particular the role of inhibitory signaling, underpinning the behavioral effects of anodal tDCS in homeostatic interactions between anodal tDCS and motor learning. Methods We used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to investigate cortical excitability and inhibitory signaling following tDCS and motor learning. Each subject participated in four experimental sessions and data were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVAs and post-hoc t-tests as appropriate. Results As predicted, we found that anodal tDCS prior to the motor task decreased learning rates. This worsening of learning after tDCS was accompanied by a correlated increase in GABAA activity, as measured by TMS-assessed short interval intra-cortical inhibition (SICI). Conclusion This provides the first direct demonstration in humans that inhibitory synapses are the likely site for the interaction between anodal tDCS and motor learning, and further, that homeostatic plasticity at GABAA synapses has behavioral relevance in humans. PMID:26279408

  16. EXEL; Experience for Children in Learning. Parent-Directed Activities to Develop: Oral Expression, Visual Discrimination, Auditory Discrimination, Motor Coordination.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Behrmann, Polly; Millman, Joan

    The activities collected in this handbook are planned for parents to use with their children in a learning experience. They can also be used in the classroom. Sections contain games designed to develop visual discrimination, auditory discrimination, motor coordination and oral expression. An objective is given for each game, and directions for…

  17. Prospective errors determine motor learning.

    PubMed

    Takiyama, Ken; Hirashima, Masaya; Nozaki, Daichi

    2015-01-01

    Diverse features of motor learning have been reported by numerous studies, but no single theoretical framework concurrently accounts for these features. Here, we propose a model for motor learning to explain these features in a unified way by extending a motor primitive framework. The model assumes that the recruitment pattern of motor primitives is determined by the predicted movement error of an upcoming movement (prospective error). To validate this idea, we perform a behavioural experiment to examine the model's novel prediction: after experiencing an environment in which the movement error is more easily predictable, subsequent motor learning should become faster. The experimental results support our prediction, suggesting that the prospective error might be encoded in the motor primitives. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this model has a strong explanatory power to reproduce a wide variety of motor-learning-related phenomena that have been separately explained by different computational models. PMID:25635628

  18. Motor imagery facilitates force field learning.

    PubMed

    Anwar, Muhammad Nabeel; Tomi, Naoki; Ito, Koji

    2011-06-13

    Humans have the ability to produce an internal reproduction of a specific motor action without any overt motor output. Recent findings show that the processes underlying motor imagery are similar to those active during motor execution and both share common neural substrates. This suggests that the imagery of motor movements might play an important role in acquiring new motor skills. In this study we used haptic robot in conjunction with motor imagery technique to improve learning in a robot-based adaptation task. Two groups of subjects performed reaching movements with or without motor imagery in a velocity-dependent and position-dependent mixed force field. The groups performed movements with motor imagery produced higher after effects and decreased muscle co-contraction with respect to no-motor imagery group. These results showed a positive influence of motor imagery on acquiring new motor skill and suggest that motor learning can be facilitated by mental practice and could be used to increase the rate of adaptation. PMID:21555118

  19. Temporal structure of motor variability is dynamically regulated and predicts motor learning ability

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Howard G; Miyamoto, Yohsuke R; Castro, Luis Nicolas Gonzalez; Ölveczky, Bence P; Smith, Maurice A

    2015-01-01

    Individual differences in motor learning ability are widely acknowledged, yet little is known about the factors that underlie them. Here we explore whether movement-to-movement variability in motor output, a ubiquitous if often unwanted characteristic of motor performance, predicts motor learning ability. Surprisingly, we found that higher levels of task-relevant motor variability predicted faster learning both across individuals and across tasks in two different paradigms, one relying on reward-based learning to shape specific arm movement trajectories and the other relying on error-based learning to adapt movements in novel physical environments. We proceeded to show that training can reshape the temporal structure of motor variability, aligning it with the trained task to improve learning. These results provide experimental support for the importance of action exploration, a key idea from reinforcement learning theory, showing that motor variability facilitates motor learning in humans and that our nervous systems actively regulate it to improve learning. PMID:24413700

  20. Heritability of motor control and motor learning

    PubMed Central

    Missitzi, Julia; Gentner, Reinhard; Misitzi, Angelica; Geladas, Nickos; Politis, Panagiotis; Klissouras, Vassilis; Classen, Joseph

    2013-01-01

    Abstract The aim of this study was to elucidate the relative contribution of genes and environment on individual differences in motor control and acquisition of a force control task, in view of recent association studies showing that several candidate polymorphisms may have an effect on them. Forty‐four healthy female twins performed brisk isometric abductions with their right thumb. Force was recorded by a transducer and fed back to the subject on a computer screen. The task was to place the tracing of the peak force in a force window defined between 30% and 40% of the subject's maximum force, as determined beforehand. The initial level of proficiency was defined as the number of attempts reaching the force window criterion within the first 100 trials. The difference between the number of successful trials within the last and the first 100 trials was taken as a measure of motor learning. For motor control, defined by the initial level of proficiency, the intrapair differences in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins were 6.8 ± 7.8 and 13.8 ± 8.4, and the intrapair correlations 0.77 and 0.39, respectively. Heritability was estimated at 0.68. Likewise for motor learning intrapair differences in the increment of the number of successful trials in MZ and DZ twins were 5.4 ± 5.2 and 12.8 ± 7, and the intrapair correlations 0.58 and 0.19. Heritability reached 0.70. The present findings suggest that heredity accounts for a major part of existing differences in motor control and motor learning, but uncertainty remains which gene polymorphisms may be responsible. PMID:24744865

  1. The Reinforcement of First Grade Science Concepts with the Use of Motor Learning Activities.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Prager, Iris J.

    In order to test the theory that selected first-grade science concepts could be successfully reinforced with the use of motor activities, 52 first-graders were exposed to certain experimental procedures. Two separate classes of 25 students (group A) and 27 students (group B) underwent a pretest. Both classes were then taught through traditional…

  2. A positive association between active lifestyle and hemispheric lateralization for motor control and learning in older adults.

    PubMed

    Wang, Jinsung; D'Amato, Arthur; Bambrough, Jennifer; Swartz, Ann M; Miller, Nora E

    2016-11-01

    Physical activity (PA) is well known to have general health benefits for older adults, but it is unclear whether it can also positively affect brain function involved in motor control and learning. We have previously shown that interlimb transfer of visuomotor adaptation occurs asymmetrically in young adults, while that occurs symmetrically in older adults, which suggests that the lateralized function of each hemisphere during motor tasks is diminished with aging. Here, we investigated the association between the level of PA and hemispheric motor lateralization by comparing the pattern of interlimb transfer following visuomotor adaptation between physically active and inactive older adults. Subjects were divided into two groups based on their PA level (active, inactive). They were further divided into two groups, such that a half of the subjects in each group adapted to a 30° rotation during targeted reaching movements with the left arm first, then with the right arm; and the other half with the right arm first, then with the left arm. Results indicated asymmetrical transfer (from left to right only) in the active subjects, whereas symmetrical transfer (from left to right, and vice versa) was observed in the inactive subjects. These findings suggest that older adults who maintain active lifestyle have a central nervous system that is more intact in terms of its lateralized motor function as compared with those who are inactive. PMID:27481694

  3. Somatosensory Contribution to the Initial Stages of Human Motor Learning

    PubMed Central

    Bernardi, Nicolò F.; Darainy, Mohammad

    2015-01-01

    The early stages of motor skill acquisition are often marked by uncertainty about the sensory and motor goals of the task, as is the case in learning to speak or learning the feel of a good tennis serve. Here we present an experimental model of this early learning process, in which targets are acquired by exploration and reinforcement rather than sensory error. We use this model to investigate the relative contribution of motor and sensory factors to human motor learning. Participants make active reaching movements or matched passive movements to an unseen target using a robot arm. We find that learning through passive movements paired with reinforcement is comparable with learning associated with active movement, both in terms of magnitude and durability, with improvements due to training still observable at a 1 week retest. Motor learning is also accompanied by changes in somatosensory perceptual acuity. No stable changes in motor performance are observed for participants that train, actively or passively, in the absence of reinforcement, or for participants who are given explicit information about target position in the absence of somatosensory experience. These findings indicate that the somatosensory system dominates learning in the early stages of motor skill acquisition. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The research focuses on the initial stages of human motor learning, introducing a new experimental model that closely approximates the key features of motor learning outside of the laboratory. The finding indicates that it is the somatosensory system rather than the motor system that dominates learning in the early stages of motor skill acquisition. This is important given that most of our computational models of motor learning are based on the idea that learning is motoric in origin. This is also a valuable finding for rehabilitation of patients with limited mobility as it shows that reinforcement in conjunction with passive movement results in benefits to motor

  4. Brain Activity During a Motor Learning Task: An fMRI and Skin Conductance Study

    PubMed Central

    MacIntosh, Bradley J.; Mraz, Richard; McIlroy, William E.; Graham, Simon J.

    2016-01-01

    Measuring electrodermal activity (EDA) during fMRI is an effective means of studying the influence of task-related arousal, inferred from autonomic nervous system activity, on brain activation patterns. The goals of this study were: (1) to measure reliable EDA from healthy individuals during fMRI involving an effortful unilateral motor task, (2) to explore how EDA recordings can be used to augment fMRI data analysis. In addition to conventional hemodynamic modeling, skin conductance time series data were used as model waveforms to generate activation images from fMRI data. Activations from the EDA model produced significantly different brain regions from those obtained with a standard hemodynamic model, primarily in the insula and cingulate cortices. Onsets of the EDA changes were synchronous with the hemodynamic model, but EDA data showed additional transient features, such as a decrease in amplitude with time, and helped to provide behavioral evidence suggesting task difficulty decreased with movement repetition. Univariate statistics also confirmed that several brain regions showed early versus late session effects. Partial least squares (PLS) multivariate analysis of EDA and fMRI data provided complimentary, additional insight on how the motor network varied over the course of a single fMRI session. Brain regions identified in this manner included the insula, cingulate gyrus, pre- and postcentral gyri, putamen and parietal cortices. These results suggest that recording EDA during motor fMRI experiments provides complementary information that can be used to improve the fMRI analysis, particularly when behavioral or task effects are difficult to model a priori. PMID:17318835

  5. Modification of motor cortex excitability during muscle relaxation in motor learning.

    PubMed

    Sugawara, Kenichi; Tanabe, Shigeo; Suzuki, Tomotaka; Saitoh, Kei; Higashi, Toshio

    2016-01-01

    We postulated that gradual muscle relaxation during motor learning would dynamically change activity in the primary motor cortex (M1) and modify short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI). Thus, we compared changes in M1 excitability both pre and post motor learning during gradual muscle relaxation. Thirteen healthy participants were asked to gradually relax their muscles from an isometric right wrist extension (30% maximum voluntary contraction; MVC) using a tracking task for motor learning. Single or paired transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was applied at either 20% or 80% of the downward force output during muscle release from 30% MVC, and we compared the effects of motor learning immediately after the 1st and 10th blocks. Motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) from the extensor and flexor carpi radialis (ECR and FCR) were then measured and compared to evaluate their relationship before and after motor learning. In both muscles and each downward force output, motor cortex excitability during muscle relaxation was significantly increased following motor learning. In the ECR, the SICI in the 10th block was significantly increased during the 80% waveform decline compared to the SICI in the 1st block. In the FCR, the SICI also exhibited a greater inhibitory effect when muscle relaxation was terminated following motor learning. During motor training, acquisition of the ability to control muscle relaxation increased the SICI in both the ECR and FCR during motor termination. This finding aids in our understanding of the cortical mechanisms that underlie muscle relaxation during motor learning. PMID:26341320

  6. Cued Reactivation of Motor Learning during Sleep Leads to Overnight Changes in Functional Brain Activity and Connectivity.

    PubMed

    Cousins, James N; El-Deredy, Wael; Parkes, Laura M; Hennies, Nora; Lewis, Penelope A

    2016-05-01

    Sleep plays a role in memory consolidation. This is demonstrated by improved performance and neural plasticity underlying that improvement after sleep. Targeted memory reactivation (TMR) allows the manipulation of sleep-dependent consolidation through intentionally biasing the replay of specific memories in sleep, but the underlying neural basis of these altered memories remains unclear. We use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show a change in the neural representation of a motor memory after targeted reactivation in slow-wave sleep (SWS). Participants learned two serial reaction time task (SRTT) sequences associated with different auditory tones (high or low pitch). During subsequent SWS, one sequence was reactivated by replaying the associated tones. Participants were retested on both sequences the following day during fMRI. As predicted, they showed faster reaction times for the cued sequence after targeted memory reactivation. Furthermore, increased activity in bilateral caudate nucleus and hippocampus for the cued relative to uncued sequence was associated with time in SWS, while increased cerebellar and cortical motor activity was related to time in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Functional connectivity between the caudate nucleus and hippocampus was also increased after targeted memory reactivation. These findings suggest that the offline performance gains associated with memory reactivation are supported by altered functional activity in key cognitive and motor networks, and that this consolidation is differentially mediated by both REM sleep and SWS. PMID:27137944

  7. Cued Reactivation of Motor Learning during Sleep Leads to Overnight Changes in Functional Brain Activity and Connectivity

    PubMed Central

    Cousins, James N.; El-Deredy, Wael; Parkes, Laura M.; Hennies, Nora; Lewis, Penelope A.

    2016-01-01

    Sleep plays a role in memory consolidation. This is demonstrated by improved performance and neural plasticity underlying that improvement after sleep. Targeted memory reactivation (TMR) allows the manipulation of sleep-dependent consolidation through intentionally biasing the replay of specific memories in sleep, but the underlying neural basis of these altered memories remains unclear. We use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show a change in the neural representation of a motor memory after targeted reactivation in slow-wave sleep (SWS). Participants learned two serial reaction time task (SRTT) sequences associated with different auditory tones (high or low pitch). During subsequent SWS, one sequence was reactivated by replaying the associated tones. Participants were retested on both sequences the following day during fMRI. As predicted, they showed faster reaction times for the cued sequence after targeted memory reactivation. Furthermore, increased activity in bilateral caudate nucleus and hippocampus for the cued relative to uncued sequence was associated with time in SWS, while increased cerebellar and cortical motor activity was related to time in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Functional connectivity between the caudate nucleus and hippocampus was also increased after targeted memory reactivation. These findings suggest that the offline performance gains associated with memory reactivation are supported by altered functional activity in key cognitive and motor networks, and that this consolidation is differentially mediated by both REM sleep and SWS. PMID:27137944

  8. Reward feedback accelerates motor learning.

    PubMed

    Nikooyan, Ali A; Ahmed, Alaa A

    2015-01-15

    Recent findings have demonstrated that reward feedback alone can drive motor learning. However, it is not yet clear whether reward feedback alone can lead to learning when a perturbation is introduced abruptly, or how a reward gradient can modulate learning. In this study, we provide reward feedback that decays continuously with increasing error. We asked whether it is possible to learn an abrupt visuomotor rotation by reward alone, and if the learning process could be modulated by combining reward and sensory feedback and/or by using different reward landscapes. We designed a novel visuomotor learning protocol during which subjects experienced an abruptly introduced rotational perturbation. Subjects received either visual feedback or reward feedback, or a combination of the two. Two different reward landscapes, where the reward decayed either linearly or cubically with distance from the target, were tested. Results demonstrate that it is possible to learn from reward feedback alone and that the combination of reward and sensory feedback accelerates learning. An analysis of the underlying mechanisms reveals that although reward feedback alone does not allow for sensorimotor remapping, it can nonetheless lead to broad generalization, highlighting a dissociation between remapping and generalization. Also, the combination of reward and sensory feedback accelerates learning without compromising sensorimotor remapping. These findings suggest that the use of reward feedback is a promising approach to either supplement or substitute sensory feedback in the development of improved neurorehabilitation techniques. More generally, they point to an important role played by reward in the motor learning process. PMID:25355957

  9. Variable sequencing is actively maintained in a well learned motor skill.

    PubMed

    Warren, Timothy L; Charlesworth, Jonathan D; Tumer, Evren C; Brainard, Michael S

    2012-10-31

    Variation in sequencing of actions occurs in many natural behaviors, yet how such variation is maintained is poorly understood. We investigated maintenance of sequence variation in adult Bengalese finch song, a learned skill with rendition-to-rendition variation in the sequencing of discrete syllables (i.e., syllable "b" might transition to "c" with 70% probability and to "d" with 30% probability). We found that probabilities of transitions ordinarily remain stable but could be modified by delivering aversive noise bursts following one transition (e.g., "b→c") but not the alternative (e.g., "b→d"). Such differential reinforcement induced gradual, adaptive decreases in probabilities of targeted transitions and compensatory increases in alternative transitions. Thus, the normal stability of transition probabilities does not reflect hardwired premotor circuitry. While all variable transitions could be modified by differential reinforcement, some were less readily modified than others; these were cases that exhibited more alternation between possible transitions than predicted by chance (i.e., "b→d " would tend to follow "b→c " and vice versa). These history-dependent transitions were less modifiable than more stochastic transitions. Similarly, highly stereotyped transitions (which are completely predictable) were not modifiable. This suggests that stochastically generated variability is crucial for sequence modification. Finally, we found that, when reinforcement ceased, birds gradually restored transition probabilities to their baseline values. Hence, the nervous system retains a representation of baseline probabilities and has the impetus to restore them. Together, our results indicate that variable sequencing in a motor skill can reflect an end point of learning that is stably maintained via continual self-monitoring. PMID:23115179

  10. Motor sequence learning and motor adaptation in primary cervical dystonia.

    PubMed

    Katschnig-Winter, Petra; Schwingenschuh, Petra; Davare, Marco; Sadnicka, Anna; Schmidt, Reinhold; Rothwell, John C; Bhatia, Kailash P; Edwards, Mark J

    2014-06-01

    Motor sequence learning and motor adaptation rely on overlapping circuits predominantly involving the basal ganglia and cerebellum. Given the importance of these brain regions to the pathophysiology of primary dystonia, and the previous finding of abnormal motor sequence learning in DYT1 gene carriers, we explored motor sequence learning and motor adaptation in patients with primary cervical dystonia. We recruited 12 patients with cervical dystonia and 11 healthy controls matched for age. Subjects used a joystick to move a cursor from a central starting point to radial targets as fast and accurately as possible. Using this device, we recorded baseline motor performance, motor sequence learning and a visuomotor adaptation task. Patients with cervical dystonia had a significantly higher peak velocity than controls. Baseline performance with random target presentation was otherwise normal. Patients and controls had similar levels of motor sequence learning and motor adaptation. Our patients had significantly higher peak velocity compared to controls, with similar movement times, implying a different performance strategy. The preservation of motor sequence learning in cervical dystonia patients contrasts with the previously observed deficit seen in patients with DYT1 gene mutations, supporting the hypothesis of differing pathophysiology in different forms of primary dystonia. Normal motor adaptation is an interesting finding. With our paradigm we did not find evidence that the previously documented cerebellar abnormalities in cervical dystonia have a behavioral correlate, and thus could be compensatory or reflect "contamination" rather than being directly pathological. PMID:24411324

  11. Longitudinal analysis of motor activity and coordination, anxiety, and spatial learning in mice with altered blood pressure.

    PubMed

    Thifault, S; Lalonde, R; Sanon, N; Hamet, P

    2001-08-10

    Mice with either high or low blood pressure (BP) were compared to normotensive controls at 2 and 12 months of age for motor activity, equilibrium, anxiety, and spatial learning. Irrespective of age, high BP mice were more active in an open field than normotensive controls, whereas low BP mice were hypoactive at 2 months of age. High BP mice had a higher number of entries and a longer duration of visits in the open arms, a higher open arm/total arm ratio, a longer duration for the first visit into an open arm, and lower latencies before entering the first open arm than controls in the elevated +-maze, indicative of reduced anxiety. Reduced levels of anxiety were also displayed by low BP mice for the duration of the first open arm visit (both age groups) and for the time spent in the open arms (older group). In the motor coordination test (coat-hanger), high BP mice had higher two-paw movement time and reached the top of the apparatus on fewer occasions than controls. Both groups with abnormal BP values were deficient during visuomotor guidance in the water maze. These results indicate strain-, age-, and test-specific abnormalities in mice with uncontrolled hypertension or hypotension. PMID:11489259

  12. Motor Learning in Childhood Education: Curricular, Compensatory, Cognitive.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Humphrey, James H.

    Noting that unilateral definitions of motor learning as separate from ideational learning are inadequate, this book identifies and explores certain branches of specific aspects of motor learning. The book is divided into three parts, dealing with curricular motor learning, compensatory motor learning, and cognitive motor learning. Part I is…

  13. Learning in a Simple Motor System

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Broussard, Dianne M.; Kassardjian, Charles D.

    2004-01-01

    Motor learning is a very basic, essential form of learning that appears to share common mechanisms across different motor systems. We evaluate and compare a few conceptual models for learning in a relatively simple neural system, the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) of vertebrates. We also compare the different animal models that have been used to…

  14. The neural correlates of speech motor sequence learning.

    PubMed

    Segawa, Jennifer A; Tourville, Jason A; Beal, Deryk S; Guenther, Frank H

    2015-04-01

    Speech is perhaps the most sophisticated example of a species-wide movement capability in the animal kingdom, requiring split-second sequencing of approximately 100 muscles in the respiratory, laryngeal, and oral movement systems. Despite the unique role speech plays in human interaction and the debilitating impact of its disruption, little is known about the neural mechanisms underlying speech motor learning. Here, we studied the behavioral and neural correlates of learning new speech motor sequences. Participants repeatedly produced novel, meaningless syllables comprising illegal consonant clusters (e.g., GVAZF) over 2 days of practice. Following practice, participants produced the sequences with fewer errors and shorter durations, indicative of motor learning. Using fMRI, we compared brain activity during production of the learned illegal sequences and novel illegal sequences. Greater activity was noted during production of novel sequences in brain regions linked to non-speech motor sequence learning, including the BG and pre-SMA. Activity during novel sequence production was also greater in brain regions associated with learning and maintaining speech motor programs, including lateral premotor cortex, frontal operculum, and posterior superior temporal cortex. Measures of learning success correlated positively with activity in left frontal operculum and white matter integrity under left posterior superior temporal sulcus. These findings indicate speech motor sequence learning relies not only on brain areas involved generally in motor sequencing learning but also those associated with feedback-based speech motor learning. Furthermore, learning success is modulated by the integrity of structural connectivity between these motor and sensory brain regions. PMID:25313656

  15. Electrifying the motor engram: effects of tDCS on motor learning and control.

    PubMed

    Orban de Xivry, Jean-Jacques; Shadmehr, Reza

    2014-11-01

    Learning to control our movements is accompanied by neuroplasticity of motor areas of the brain. The mechanisms of neuroplasticity are diverse and produce what is referred to as the motor engram, i.e., the neural trace of the motor memory. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) alters the neural and behavioral correlates of motor learning, but its precise influence on the motor engram is unknown. In this review, we summarize the effects of tDCS on neural activity and suggest a few key principles: (1) Firing rates are increased by anodal polarization and decreased by cathodal polarization, (2) anodal polarization strengthens newly formed associations, and (3) polarization modulates the memory of new/preferred firing patterns. With these principles in mind, we review the effects of tDCS on motor control, motor learning, and clinical applications. The increased spontaneous and evoked firing rates may account for the modulation of dexterity in non-learning tasks by tDCS. The facilitation of new association may account for the effect of tDCS on learning in sequence tasks while the ability of tDCS to strengthen memories of new firing patterns may underlie the effect of tDCS on consolidation of skills. We then describe the mechanisms of neuroplasticity of motor cortical areas and how they might be influenced by tDCS. We end with current challenges for the fields of brain stimulation and motor learning. PMID:25200178

  16. Electrifying the motor engram: effects of tDCS on motor learning and control

    PubMed Central

    de Xivry, Jean-Jacques Orban; Shadmehr, Reza

    2014-01-01

    Learning to control our movements accompanies neuroplasticity of motor areas of the brain. The mechanisms of neuroplasticity are diverse and produce what is referred to as the motor engram, i.e. the neural trace of the motor memory. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) alters the neural and behavioral correlates of motor learning, but its precise influence on the motor engram is unknown. In this review, we summarize the effects of tDCS on neural activity and suggest a few key principles: 1) firing rates are increased by anodal polarization and decreased by cathodal polarization, 2) anodal polarization strengthens newly formed associations, and 3) polarization modulates the memory of new/preferred firing patterns. With these principles in mind, we review the effects of tDCS on motor control, motor learning, and clinical applications. The increased spontaneous and evoked firing rates may account for the modulation of dexterity in non-learning tasks by tDCS. The facilitation of new association may account for the effect of tDCS on learning in sequence tasks while the ability of tDCS to strengthen memories of new firing patterns may underlie the effect of tDCS on consolidation of skills. We then describe the mechanisms of neuroplasticity of motor cortical areas and how they might be influenced by tDCS. We end with current challenges for the fields of brain stimulation and motor learning. PMID:25200178

  17. Functional Plasticity in Somatosensory Cortex Supports Motor Learning by Observing.

    PubMed

    McGregor, Heather R; Cashaback, Joshua G A; Gribble, Paul L

    2016-04-01

    An influential idea in neuroscience is that the sensory-motor system is activated when observing the actions of others [1, 2]. This idea has recently been extended to motor learning, in which observation results in sensory-motor plasticity and behavioral changes in both motor and somatosensory domains [3-9]. However, it is unclear how the brain maps visual information onto motor circuits for learning. Here we test the idea that the somatosensory system, and specifically primary somatosensory cortex (S1), plays a role in motor learning by observing. In experiment 1, we applied stimulation to the median nerve to occupy the somatosensory system with unrelated inputs while participants observed a tutor learning to reach in a force field. Stimulation disrupted motor learning by observing in a limb-specific manner. Stimulation delivered to the right arm (the same arm used by the tutor) disrupted learning, whereas left arm stimulation did not. This is consistent with the idea that a somatosensory representation of the observed effector must be available during observation for learning to occur. In experiment 2, we assessed S1 cortical processing before and after observation by measuring somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) associated with median nerve stimulation. SEP amplitudes increased only for participants who observed learning. Moreover, SEPs increased more for participants who exhibited greater motor learning following observation. Taken together, these findings support the idea that motor learning by observing relies on functional plasticity in S1. We propose that visual signals about the movements of others are mapped onto motor circuits for learning via the somatosensory system. PMID:26972317

  18. Activities to Develop Your Students' Motor Skills.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Eastman, Mary Kay; Safran, Joan S.

    1986-01-01

    Instructions and illustrations support this discussion of learning activities designed to remediate deficiences and build skills in balance and/or motor skills for mildly handicapped students who may not have access to physical therapy or adaptive physical education. Appropriate for both regular and special classes, activities include arm…

  19. Auditory plasticity and speech motor learning

    PubMed Central

    Nasir, Sazzad M.; Ostry, David J.

    2009-01-01

    Is plasticity in sensory and motor systems linked? Here, in the context of speech motor learning and perception, we test the idea sensory function is modified by motor learning and, in particular, that speech motor learning affects a speaker's auditory map. We assessed speech motor learning by using a robotic device that displaced the jaw and selectively altered somatosensory feedback during speech. We found that with practice speakers progressively corrected for the mechanical perturbation and after motor learning they also showed systematic changes in their perceptual classification of speech sounds. The perceptual shift was tied to motor learning. Individuals that displayed greater amounts of learning also showed greater perceptual change. Perceptual change was not observed in control subjects that produced the same movements, but in the absence of a force field, nor in subjects that experienced the force field but failed to adapt to the mechanical load. The perceptual effects observed here indicate the involvement of the somatosensory system in the neural processing of speech sounds and suggest that speech motor learning results in changes to auditory perceptual function. PMID:19884506

  20. Motor Development: A Guide for Learning Assistance Classes.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jenkins, Rose B.; Slansky, Nancy

    This guide was prepared to include motor development activities that supplement the regular physical education curriculum; it was written primarily for teachers of children with learning problems, but may also offer ideas to any teacher wishing to broaden the motor development experiences in the regular physical education program. The guide is…

  1. Compensatory Motor Network Connectivity is Associated with Motor Sequence Learning after Subcortical Stroke

    PubMed Central

    Wadden, Katie P.; Woodward, Todd S.; Metzak, Paul D.; Lavigne, Katie M.; Lakhani, Bimal; Auriat, Angela M.; Boyd, Lara A.

    2015-01-01

    Following stroke, functional networks reorganize and the brain demonstrates widespread alterations in cortical activity. Implicit motor learning is preserved after stroke. However the manner in which brain reorganization occurs, and how it supports behaviour within the damaged brain remains unclear. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we evaluated whole brain patterns of functional connectivity during the performance of an implicit tracking task at baseline and retention, following 5 days of practice. Following motor practice, a significant difference in connectivity within a motor network, consisting of bihemispheric activation of the sensory and motor cortices, parietal lobules, cerebellar and occipital lobules, was observed at retention. Healthy subjects demonstrated greater activity within this motor network during sequence learning compared to random practice. The stroke group did not show the same level of functional network integration, presumably due to the heterogeneity of functional reorganization following stroke. In a secondary analysis, a binary mask of the functional network activated from the aforementioned whole brain analyses was created to assess within-network connectivity, decreasing the spatial distribution and large variability of activation that exists within the lesioned brain. The stroke group demonstrated reduced clusters of connectivity within the masked brain regions as compared to the whole brain approach. Connectivity within this smaller motor network correlated with repeated sequence performance on the retention test. Increased functional integration within the motor network may be an important neurophysiological predictor of motor learning-related change in individuals with stroke. PMID:25757996

  2. Brain aerobic glycolysis and motor adaptation learning

    PubMed Central

    Shannon, Benjamin J.; Vaishnavi, Sanjeev Neil; Vlassenko, Andrei G.; Shimony, Joshua S.; Rutlin, Jerrel; Raichle, Marcus E.

    2016-01-01

    Ten percent to 15% of glucose used by the brain is metabolized nonoxidatively despite adequate tissue oxygenation, a process termed aerobic glycolysis (AG). Because of the known role of glycolysis in biosynthesis, we tested whether learning-induced synaptic plasticity would lead to regionally appropriate, learning-dependent changes in AG. Functional MRI (fMRI) before, during, and after performance of a visual–motor adaptation task demonstrated that left Brodmann area 44 (BA44) played a key role in adaptation, with learning-related changes to activity during the task and altered resting-state, functional connectivity after the task. PET scans before and after task performance indicated a sustained increase in AG in left BA 44 accompanied by decreased oxygen consumption. Intersubject variability in behavioral adaptation rate correlated strongly with changes in AG in this region, as well as functional connectivity, which is consistent with a role for AG in synaptic plasticity. PMID:27217563

  3. Brain aerobic glycolysis and motor adaptation learning.

    PubMed

    Shannon, Benjamin J; Vaishnavi, Sanjeev Neil; Vlassenko, Andrei G; Shimony, Joshua S; Rutlin, Jerrel; Raichle, Marcus E

    2016-06-28

    Ten percent to 15% of glucose used by the brain is metabolized nonoxidatively despite adequate tissue oxygenation, a process termed aerobic glycolysis (AG). Because of the known role of glycolysis in biosynthesis, we tested whether learning-induced synaptic plasticity would lead to regionally appropriate, learning-dependent changes in AG. Functional MRI (fMRI) before, during, and after performance of a visual-motor adaptation task demonstrated that left Brodmann area 44 (BA44) played a key role in adaptation, with learning-related changes to activity during the task and altered resting-state, functional connectivity after the task. PET scans before and after task performance indicated a sustained increase in AG in left BA 44 accompanied by decreased oxygen consumption. Intersubject variability in behavioral adaptation rate correlated strongly with changes in AG in this region, as well as functional connectivity, which is consistent with a role for AG in synaptic plasticity. PMID:27217563

  4. Computational approaches to motor learning by imitation.

    PubMed Central

    Schaal, Stefan; Ijspeert, Auke; Billard, Aude

    2003-01-01

    Movement imitation requires a complex set of mechanisms that map an observed movement of a teacher onto one's own movement apparatus. Relevant problems include movement recognition, pose estimation, pose tracking, body correspondence, coordinate transformation from external to egocentric space, matching of observed against previously learned movement, resolution of redundant degrees-of-freedom that are unconstrained by the observation, suitable movement representations for imitation, modularization of motor control, etc. All of these topics by themselves are active research problems in computational and neurobiological sciences, such that their combination into a complete imitation system remains a daunting undertaking-indeed, one could argue that we need to understand the complete perception-action loop. As a strategy to untangle the complexity of imitation, this paper will examine imitation purely from a computational point of view, i.e. we will review statistical and mathematical approaches that have been suggested for tackling parts of the imitation problem, and discuss their merits, disadvantages and underlying principles. Given the focus on action recognition of other contributions in this special issue, this paper will primarily emphasize the motor side of imitation, assuming that a perceptual system has already identified important features of a demonstrated movement and created their corresponding spatial information. Based on the formalization of motor control in terms of control policies and their associated performance criteria, useful taxonomies of imitation learning can be generated that clarify different approaches and future research directions. PMID:12689379

  5. Balanced motor primitive can explain generalization of motor learning effects between unimanual and bimanual movements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takiyama, Ken; Sakai, Yutaka

    2016-03-01

    Motor learning in unimanual and bimanual planar reaching movements has been intensively investigated. Although distinct theoretical frameworks have been proposed for each of these reaching movements, the relationship between these movements remains unclear. In particular, the generalization of motor learning effects (transfer of learning effects) between unimanual and bimanual movements has yet to be successfully explained. Here, by extending a motor primitive framework, we analytically proved that the motor primitive framework can reproduce the generalization of learning effects between unimanual and bimanual movements if the mean activity of each primitive for unimanual movements is balanced to the mean for bimanual movements. In this balanced condition, the activity of each primitive is consistent with previously reported neuronal activity. The unimanual-bimanual balance leads to the testable prediction that generalization between unimanual and bimanual movements is more widespread to different reaching directions than generalization within respective movements. Furthermore, the balanced motor primitive can reproduce another previously reported phenomenon: the learning of different force fields for unimanual and bimanual movements.

  6. Balanced motor primitive can explain generalization of motor learning effects between unimanual and bimanual movements

    PubMed Central

    Takiyama, Ken; Sakai, Yutaka

    2016-01-01

    Motor learning in unimanual and bimanual planar reaching movements has been intensively investigated. Although distinct theoretical frameworks have been proposed for each of these reaching movements, the relationship between these movements remains unclear. In particular, the generalization of motor learning effects (transfer of learning effects) between unimanual and bimanual movements has yet to be successfully explained. Here, by extending a motor primitive framework, we analytically proved that the motor primitive framework can reproduce the generalization of learning effects between unimanual and bimanual movements if the mean activity of each primitive for unimanual movements is balanced to the mean for bimanual movements. In this balanced condition, the activity of each primitive is consistent with previously reported neuronal activity. The unimanual-bimanual balance leads to the testable prediction that generalization between unimanual and bimanual movements is more widespread to different reaching directions than generalization within respective movements. Furthermore, the balanced motor primitive can reproduce another previously reported phenomenon: the learning of different force fields for unimanual and bimanual movements. PMID:27025168

  7. Motor Activity Improves Temporal Expectancy

    PubMed Central

    Fautrelle, Lilian; Mareschal, Denis; French, Robert; Addyman, Caspar; Thomas, Elizabeth

    2015-01-01

    Certain brain areas involved in interval timing are also important in motor activity. This raises the possibility that motor activity might influence interval timing. To test this hypothesis, we assessed interval timing in healthy adults following different types of training. The pre- and post-training tasks consisted of a button press in response to the presentation of a rhythmic visual stimulus. Alterations in temporal expectancy were evaluated by measuring response times. Training consisted of responding to the visual presentation of regularly appearing stimuli by either: (1) pointing with a whole-body movement, (2) pointing only with the arm, (3) imagining pointing with a whole-body movement, (4) simply watching the stimulus presentation, (5) pointing with a whole-body movement in response to a target that appeared at irregular intervals (6) reading a newspaper. Participants performing a motor activity in response to the regular target showed significant improvements in judgment times compared to individuals with no associated motor activity. Individuals who only imagined pointing with a whole-body movement also showed significant improvements. No improvements were observed in the group that trained with a motor response to an irregular stimulus, hence eliminating the explanation that the improved temporal expectations of the other motor training groups was purely due to an improved motor capacity to press the response button. All groups performed a secondary task equally well, hence indicating that our results could not simply be attributed to differences in attention between the groups. Our results show that motor activity, even when it does not play a causal or corrective role, can lead to improved interval timing judgments. PMID:25806813

  8. Laboratory and Field Experiments in Motor Learning.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Singer, Robert N.; And Others

    This manual for research in motor learning was written for scientifically based physical educators, experimental psychologists, and others interested in the investigation of learning and performance phenomena associated with skill acquisition. Laboratory and field experiments are presented that can be run with or without the presence of a formal…

  9. Learning Activities for the Young Handicapped Child.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bailey, Don; And Others

    Presented is a collection of learning activities for the young handicapped child covering 295 individual learning objectives in six areas of development: gross motor skills, fine motor skills, social skills, self help skills, cognitive skills, and language skills. Provided for each learning activity are the teaching objective, teaching procedures,…

  10. Motor Task Variation Induces Structural Learning

    PubMed Central

    Braun, Daniel A.; Aertsen, Ad; Wolpert, Daniel M.; Mehring, Carsten

    2009-01-01

    Summary When we have learned a motor skill, such as cycling or ice-skating, we can rapidly generalize to novel tasks, such as motorcycling or rollerblading [1–8]. Such facilitation of learning could arise through two distinct mechanisms by which the motor system might adjust its control parameters. First, fast learning could simply be a consequence of the proximity of the original and final settings of the control parameters. Second, by structural learning [9–14], the motor system could constrain the parameter adjustments to conform to the control parameters' covariance structure. Thus, facilitation of learning would rely on the novel task parameters' lying on the structure of a lower-dimensional subspace that can be explored more efficiently. To test between these two hypotheses, we exposed subjects to randomly varying visuomotor tasks of fixed structure. Although such randomly varying tasks are thought to prevent learning, we show that when subsequently presented with novel tasks, subjects exhibit three key features of structural learning: facilitated learning of tasks with the same structure, strong reduction in interference normally observed when switching between tasks that require opposite control strategies, and preferential exploration along the learned structure. These results suggest that skill generalization relies on task variation and structural learning. PMID:19217296

  11. Deficiency in Na,K-ATPase alpha isoform genes alters spatial learning, motor activity, and anxiety in mice.

    PubMed

    Moseley, Amy E; Williams, Michael T; Schaefer, Tori L; Bohanan, Cynthia S; Neumann, Jon C; Behbehani, Michael M; Vorhees, Charles V; Lingrel, Jerry B

    2007-01-17

    Several disorders have been associated with mutations in Na,K-ATPase alpha isoforms (rapid-onset dystonia parkinsonism, familial hemiplegic migraine type-2), as well as reduction in Na,K-ATPase content (depression and Alzheimer's disease), thereby raising the issue of whether haploinsufficiency or altered enzymatic function contribute to disease etiology. Three isoforms are expressed in the brain: the alpha1 isoform is found in many cell types, the alpha2 isoform is predominantly expressed in astrocytes, and the alpha3 isoform is exclusively expressed in neurons. Here we show that mice heterozygous for the alpha2 isoform display increased anxiety-related behavior, reduced locomotor activity, and impaired spatial learning in the Morris water maze. Mice heterozygous for the alpha3 isoform displayed spatial learning and memory deficits unrelated to differences in cued learning in the Morris maze, increased locomotor activity, an increased locomotor response to methamphetamine, and a 40% reduction in hippocampal NMDA receptor expression. In contrast, heterozygous alpha1 isoform mice showed increased locomotor response to methamphetamine and increased basal and stimulated corticosterone in plasma. The learning and memory deficits observed in the alpha2 and alpha3 heterozygous mice reveal the Na,K-ATPase to be an important factor in the functioning of pathways associated with spatial learning. The neurobehavioral changes seen in heterozygous mice suggest that these mouse models may be useful in future investigations of the associated human CNS disorders. PMID:17234593

  12. Effectiveness of knowledge of result and knowledge of performance in the learning of a skilled motor activity by healthy young adults.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Dhara A; Chevidikunnan, Mohamed Faisal; Khan, Fayaz Rahman; Gaowgzeh, Riziq Allah

    2016-05-01

    [Purpose] The acquisition of motor skills are fundamental to human life. There is a lack of research on whether knowledge of performance or knowledge of result as augmented feedback is more effective. The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of knowledge of result and knowledge of performance in the learning of a skilled motor activity by healthy young adults. [Subjects and Methods] A total of thirty healthy young adult males and females without any neurological or musculoskeletal impairment, between the age of 18-30 years were the subjects of the study. They were randomly allocated to 2 groups: group 1 was given knowledge of result as feedback, and knowledge of performance was given as feedback to group 2. Both the groups practiced the task of throwing a soft spongy ball for 6 days per week for 4 weeks, with 40 trials each day. The outcome measure used was the distance of the throw. [Results] The results were analyzed using the t-test. The mean distances thrown by both the groups showed highly significant improvements and throwing distance of group 2 showed better improvement than that of group 1. [Conclusion] Both types of augmented feedback were effective at improving skilled motor activity, but the knowledge of performance group showed better improvement than the knowledge of result group. PMID:27313355

  13. Effectiveness of knowledge of result and knowledge of performance in the learning of a skilled motor activity by healthy young adults

    PubMed Central

    Sharma, Dhara A; Chevidikunnan, Mohamed Faisal; Khan, Fayaz Rahman; Gaowgzeh, Riziq Allah

    2016-01-01

    [Purpose] The acquisition of motor skills are fundamental to human life. There is a lack of research on whether knowledge of performance or knowledge of result as augmented feedback is more effective. The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of knowledge of result and knowledge of performance in the learning of a skilled motor activity by healthy young adults. [Subjects and Methods] A total of thirty healthy young adult males and females without any neurological or musculoskeletal impairment, between the age of 18–30 years were the subjects of the study. They were randomly allocated to 2 groups: group 1 was given knowledge of result as feedback, and knowledge of performance was given as feedback to group 2. Both the groups practiced the task of throwing a soft spongy ball for 6 days per week for 4 weeks, with 40 trials each day. The outcome measure used was the distance of the throw. [Results] The results were analyzed using the t-test. The mean distances thrown by both the groups showed highly significant improvements and throwing distance of group 2 showed better improvement than that of group 1. [Conclusion] Both types of augmented feedback were effective at improving skilled motor activity, but the knowledge of performance group showed better improvement than the knowledge of result group. PMID:27313355

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:22271265

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

    PubMed

    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 < 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. R(2) = 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. Key pointsIn 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. PMID:25435768

  16. Motor learning with fading and growing haptic guidance.

    PubMed

    Heuer, Herbert; Lüttgen, Jenna

    2014-07-01

    Haptic guidance has been shown to have both facilitatory and interfering effects on motor learning. Interfering effects have been hypothesized to result from the particular dynamic environment, which supports a passive role of the learner, and they should be attenuated by fading guidance. Facilitatory effects, in particular for dynamic movement characteristics, have been hypothesized to result from the high-quality information provided by haptic demonstration. If haptic demonstration provides particularly precise information about target movements, the motor system's need for such information should more likely increase in the course of motor learning, in which case growing guidance should be more beneficial for learning. We contrasted fading and growing guidance in the course of learning a spatio-temporal motor pattern. To stimulate an active role of the learner, practice trials consisted of three phases, a visual demonstration of the target movement, a guided reproduction, and a reproduction without haptic guidance. Performance was assessed in terms of variable duration errors, relative-timing errors, variable path-length errors, and shape errors. Motor learning with growing and fading guidance turned out to be largely equivalent, so that the notion of an increasing optimal precision of haptic demonstrations, which matches a demand of increasingly precise information on the target movement, found no support. Duration errors declined only with fading, but not with growing guidance. Relative timing revealed a benefit of immediately preceding haptic demonstration, but learning was not different between the two practice protocols. This contrast between absolute and relative timing adds to other evidence according to which acquisition of these two aspects of motor timing involves different learning mechanisms. Whereas relative timing gained from immediately preceding haptic demonstration, but revealed no practice-related improvement in the presence of haptic guidance

  17. Gating of neural error signals during motor learning

    PubMed Central

    Kimpo, Rhea R; Rinaldi, Jacob M; Kim, Christina K; Payne, Hannah L; Raymond, Jennifer L

    2014-01-01

    Cerebellar climbing fiber activity encodes performance errors during many motor learning tasks, but the role of these error signals in learning has been controversial. We compared two motor learning paradigms that elicited equally robust putative error signals in the same climbing fibers: learned increases and decreases in the gain of the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR). During VOR-increase training, climbing fiber activity on one trial predicted changes in cerebellar output on the next trial, and optogenetic activation of climbing fibers to mimic their encoding of performance errors was sufficient to implant a motor memory. In contrast, during VOR-decrease training, there was no trial-by-trial correlation between climbing fiber activity and changes in cerebellar output, and climbing fiber activation did not induce VOR-decrease learning. Our data suggest that the ability of climbing fibers to induce plasticity can be dynamically gated in vivo, even under conditions where climbing fibers are robustly activated by performance errors. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.02076.001 PMID:24755290

  18. Robotics, motor learning, and neurologic recovery.

    PubMed

    Reinkensmeyer, David J; Emken, Jeremy L; Cramer, Steven C

    2004-01-01

    Robotic devices are helping shed light on human motor control in health and injury. By using robots to apply novel force fields to the arm, investigators are gaining insight into how the nervous system models its external dynamic environment. The nervous system builds internal models gradually by experience and uses them in combination with impedance and feedback control strategies. Internal models are robust to environmental and neural noise, generalized across space, implemented in multiple brain regions, and developed in childhood. Robots are also being used to assist in repetitive movement practice following neurologic injury, providing insight into movement recovery. Robots can haptically assess sensorimotor performance, administer training, quantify amount of training, and improve motor recovery. In addition to providing insight into motor control, robotic paradigms may eventually enhance motor learning and rehabilitation beyond the levels possible with conventional training techniques. PMID:15255778

  19. Cortical activity during motor execution, motor imagery, and imagery-based online feedback

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Kai J.; Schalk, Gerwin; Fetz, Eberhard E.; den Nijs, Marcel; Ojemann, Jeffrey G.; Rao, Rajesh P. N.

    2010-01-01

    Imagery of motor movement plays an important role in learning of complex motor skills, from learning to serve in tennis to perfecting a pirouette in ballet. What and where are the neural substrates that underlie motor imagery-based learning? We measured electrocorticographic cortical surface potentials in eight human subjects during overt action and kinesthetic imagery of the same movement, focusing on power in “high frequency” (76–100 Hz) and “low frequency” (8–32 Hz) ranges. We quantitatively establish that the spatial distribution of local neuronal population activity during motor imagery mimics the spatial distribution of activity during actual motor movement. By comparing responses to electrocortical stimulation with imagery-induced cortical surface activity, we demonstrate the role of primary motor areas in movement imagery. The magnitude of imagery-induced cortical activity change was ∼25% of that associated with actual movement. However, when subjects learned to use this imagery to control a computer cursor in a simple feedback task, the imagery-induced activity change was significantly augmented, even exceeding that of overt movement. PMID:20160084

  20. Structure of Plasticity in Human Sensory and Motor Networks Due to Perceptual Learning

    PubMed Central

    Vahdat, Shahabeddin; Darainy, Mohammad

    2014-01-01

    As we begin to acquire a new motor skill, we face the dual challenge of determining and refining the somatosensory goals of our movements and establishing the best motor commands to achieve our ends. The two typically proceed in parallel, and accordingly it is unclear how much of skill acquisition is a reflection of changes in sensory systems and how much reflects changes in the brain's motor areas. Here we have intentionally separated perceptual and motor learning in time so that we can assess functional changes to human sensory and motor networks as a result of perceptual learning. Our subjects underwent fMRI scans of the resting brain before and after a somatosensory discrimination task. We identified changes in functional connectivity that were due to the effects of perceptual learning on movement. For this purpose, we used a neural model of the transmission of sensory signals from perceptual decision making through to motor action. We used this model in combination with a partial correlation technique to parcel out those changes in connectivity observed in motor systems that could be attributed to activity in sensory brain regions. We found that, after removing effects that are linearly correlated with somatosensory activity, perceptual learning results in changes to frontal motor areas that are related to the effects of this training on motor behavior and learning. This suggests that perceptual learning produces changes to frontal motor areas of the brain and may thus contribute directly to motor learning. PMID:24523536

  1. Enhanced Muscle Afferent Signals during Motor Learning in Humans.

    PubMed

    Dimitriou, Michael

    2016-04-25

    Much has been revealed concerning human motor learning at the behavioral level [1, 2], but less is known about changes in the involved neural circuits and signals. By examining muscle spindle responses during a classic visuomotor adaptation task [3-6] performed by fully alert humans, I found substantial modulation of sensory afferent signals as a function of adaptation state. Specifically, spindle control was independent of concurrent muscle activity but was specific to movement direction (representing muscle lengthening versus shortening) and to different stages of learning. Increased spindle afferent responses to muscle stretch occurring early during learning reflected individual error size and were negatively related to subsequent antagonist activity (i.e., 60-80 ms thereafter). Relative increases in tonic afferent output early during learning were predictive of the subjects' adaptation rate. I also found that independent spindle control during sensory realignment (the "washout" stage) induced afferent signal "linearization" with respect to muscle length (i.e., signals were more tuned to hand position). The results demonstrate for the first time that motor learning also involves independent and state-related modulation of sensory mechanoreceptor signals. The current findings suggest that adaptive motor performance also relies on the independent control of sensors, not just of muscles. I propose that the "γ" motor system innervating spindles acts to facilitate the acquisition and extraction of task-relevant information at the early stages of sensorimotor adaptation. This designates a more active and targeted role for the human proprioceptive system during motor learning. PMID:27040776

  2. Theta EEG neurofeedback benefits early consolidation of motor sequence learning.

    PubMed

    Rozengurt, Roman; Barnea, Anat; Uchida, Sunao; Levy, Daniel A

    2016-07-01

    Procedural learning is subject to consolidation processes believed to depend on the modulation of functional connections involved in representing the acquired skill. While sleep provides the most commonly studied framework for such consolidation processes, posttraining modulation of oscillatory brain activity may also impact on plasticity processes. Under the hypothesis that consolidation of motor learning is associated with theta band activity, we used EEG neurofeedback (NFB) to enable participants to selectively increase either theta or beta power in their EEG spectra following the acquisition phase of motor sequence learning. We tested performance on a motor task before and after training, right after the NFB session to assess immediate NFB effects, 1 day after NFB to assess interaction between NFB effects and overnight sleep-dependent stabilization, and 1 week after the initial session, to assess the effects of NFB on long-term stabilization of motor training. We also explored the extent of the influence of single-electrode NFB on EEG recorded across the scalp. Results revealed a significantly greater improvement in performance immediately after NFB in the theta group than in the beta group. This effect continued for testing up to 1 week following training. Across participants, post-NFB improvement correlated positively with theta/beta ratio change achieved during NFB. Additionally, NFB was found to cause widespread band-power modulation beyond the electrode used for feedback. Thus, upregulating postlearning theta power may yield contributions to the immediate performance and subsequent consolidation of an acquired motor skill. PMID:27080752

  3. Remote limb ischemic conditioning enhances motor learning in healthy humans.

    PubMed

    Cherry-Allen, Kendra M; Gidday, Jeff M; Lee, Jin-Moo; Hershey, Tamara; Lang, Catherine E

    2015-06-01

    Brief bouts of sublethal ischemia have been shown to protect exposed tissue (ischemic conditioning) and tissues at remote sites (remote ischemic conditioning) against subsequent ischemic challenges. Given that the mechanisms of this protective phenomenon are multifactorial and epigenetic, we postulated that remote limb ischemic conditioning (RLIC) might enhance mechanisms responsible for neural plasticity, and thereby facilitate learning. Specifically, we hypothesized that conditioning of the nervous system with RLIC, achieved through brief repetitive limb ischemia prior to training, would facilitate the neurophysiological processes of learning, thus making training more effective and more long-lasting. Eighteen healthy adults participated in this study; nine were randomly allocated to RLIC and nine to sham conditioning. All subjects underwent seven consecutive weekday sessions and 2-wk and 4-wk follow-up sessions. We found that RLIC resulted in significantly greater motor learning and longer retention of motor performance gains in healthy adults. Changes in motor performance do not appear to be due to a generalized increase in muscle activation or muscle strength and were not associated with changes in serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) concentration. Of note, RLIC did not enhance cognitive learning on a hippocampus-dependent task. While future research is needed to establish optimal conditioning and training parameters, this inexpensive, clinically feasible paradigm might ultimately be implemented to enhance motor learning in individuals undergoing neuromuscular rehabilitation for brain injury and other pathological conditions. PMID:25867743

  4. Remote limb ischemic conditioning enhances motor learning in healthy humans

    PubMed Central

    Cherry-Allen, Kendra M.; Gidday, Jeff M.; Lee, Jin-Moo; Hershey, Tamara

    2015-01-01

    Brief bouts of sublethal ischemia have been shown to protect exposed tissue (ischemic conditioning) and tissues at remote sites (remote ischemic conditioning) against subsequent ischemic challenges. Given that the mechanisms of this protective phenomenon are multifactorial and epigenetic, we postulated that remote limb ischemic conditioning (RLIC) might enhance mechanisms responsible for neural plasticity, and thereby facilitate learning. Specifically, we hypothesized that conditioning of the nervous system with RLIC, achieved through brief repetitive limb ischemia prior to training, would facilitate the neurophysiological processes of learning, thus making training more effective and more long-lasting. Eighteen healthy adults participated in this study; nine were randomly allocated to RLIC and nine to sham conditioning. All subjects underwent seven consecutive weekday sessions and 2-wk and 4-wk follow-up sessions. We found that RLIC resulted in significantly greater motor learning and longer retention of motor performance gains in healthy adults. Changes in motor performance do not appear to be due to a generalized increase in muscle activation or muscle strength and were not associated with changes in serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) concentration. Of note, RLIC did not enhance cognitive learning on a hippocampus-dependent task. While future research is needed to establish optimal conditioning and training parameters, this inexpensive, clinically feasible paradigm might ultimately be implemented to enhance motor learning in individuals undergoing neuromuscular rehabilitation for brain injury and other pathological conditions. PMID:25867743

  5. Development of Young Adults' Fine Motor Skills when Learning to Play Percussion Instruments

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gzibovskis, Talis; Marnauza, Mara

    2012-01-01

    When playing percussion instruments, the main activity is done with the help of a motion or motor skills; to perform it, developed fine motor skills are necessary: the speed and precision of fingers, hands and palms. The aim of the research was to study and test the development of young adults' fine motor skills while learning to play percussion…

  6. Reduced procedural motor learning in deaf individuals

    PubMed Central

    Lévesque, Justine; Théoret, Hugo; Champoux, François

    2014-01-01

    Studies in the deaf suggest that cross-modal neuroplastic changes may vary across modalities. Only a handful of studies have examined motor capacities in the profoundly deaf. These studies suggest the presence of deficits in manual dexterity and delays in movement production. As of yet, the ability to learn complex sequential motor patterns has not been explored in deaf populations. The aim of the present study was to investigate the procedural learning skills of deaf adults. A serial reaction-time task (SRTT) was performed by 18 deaf subjects and 18 matched controls to investigate possible motor alteration subsequent to auditory deprivation. Deaf participants had various degrees of hearing loss. Half of the experimental group were early deaf adults mostly using hearing aids, the remaining half were late-deaf adults using a cochlear implant (CI). Participants carried out a repeating 12-item sequence of key presses along with random blocks containing no repeating sequence. Non-specific and sequence-specific learning was analyzed in relation to individual features related to the hearing loss. The results revealed significant differences between groups in sequence-specific learning, with deaf subjects being less efficient than controls in acquiring sequence-specific knowledge. We interpret the results in light of cross-modal plasticity and the auditory scaffolding hypothesis. PMID:24904381

  7. Motor activity under weightless conditions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kasyan, I. I.; Kopanev, V. I.; Cherepakhin, M. A.; Yuganov, Y. M.

    1975-01-01

    The material presented on the motor activity under weightless conditions (brief and long) leads to the conclusion that it is not significantly disrupted, if those being examined are secured at the workplaces. Some discoordination of movement, moderately expressed disruption of the precision of reproduction of assigned muscular forces, etc., were observed. Motor disorders decrease significantly in proportion to the length of stay under weightless conditions. This apparently takes place, as a consequence of formation of a new functional system, adequate to the conditions of weightlessness. Tests on intact and labyrinthectomized animals have demonstrated that signaling from the inner ear receptors is superfluous in weightlessness, since it promotes the onset of disruptions in the combined work of the position analyzers.

  8. Learning of bimanual motor sequences in normal aging

    PubMed Central

    Bhakuni, Rashmi; Mutha, Pratik K.

    2015-01-01

    While it is well accepted that motor performance declines with age, the ability to learn simple procedural motor tasks appears to remain intact to some extent in normal aging. Here we examined the impact of aging on the acquisition of a simple sequence of bimanual actions. We further asked whether such learning results from an overall decrease in response time or is also associated with improved coordination between the hands. Healthy young and old individuals performed a bimanual version of the classic serial reaction time task. We found no learning deficit in older adults and noted that older subjects were able to learn as much as young participants. We also observed that learning in both groups was associated with an overall decrease in response time, but switch cost, the increase in response time when a switch in hands was required during sequence execution, did not decrease with learning. Surprisingly however, overall switch cost was lower in the older group compared to the younger subjects. These findings are discussed in the context of interactions between procedural and declarative memory, reduced interhemispheric inhibition and more symmetric cortical activation during motor performance in normal aging. PMID:26005417

  9. The effect of haptic cues on motor and perceptual based implicit sequence learning

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Dongwon; Johnson, Brandon J.; Gillespie, R. Brent; Seidler, Rachael D.

    2014-01-01

    We introduced haptic cues to the serial reaction time (SRT) sequence learning task alongside the standard visual cues to assess the relative contributions of visual and haptic stimuli to the formation of motor and perceptual memories. We used motorized keys to deliver brief pulse-like displacements to the resting fingers, expecting that the proximity and similarity of these cues to the subsequent response motor actions (finger-activated key-presses) would strengthen the motor memory trace in particular. We adopted the experimental protocol developed by Willingham (1999) to explore whether haptic cues contribute differently than visual cues to the balance of motor and perceptual learning. We found that sequence learning occurs with haptic stimuli as well as with visual stimuli and we found that irrespective of the stimuli (visual or haptic) the SRT task leads to a greater amount of motor learning than perceptual learning. PMID:24734013

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

  11. The Neural Basis for Learning of Simple Motor Skills.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lisberger, Stephen G.

    1988-01-01

    Discusses the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) which is used to investigate the neural basis for motor learning in monkeys. Suggests organizing principles that may apply in forms of motor learning as a result of similarities among VOR and other motor systems. (Author/RT)

  12. Cerebellar contributions to visuomotor adaptation and motor sequence learning: an ALE meta-analysis

    PubMed Central

    Bernard, Jessica A.; Seidler, Rachael D.

    2013-01-01

    Cerebellar contributions to motor learning are well-documented. For example, under some conditions, patients with cerebellar damage are impaired at visuomotor adaptation and at acquiring new action sequences. Moreover, cerebellar activation has been observed in functional MRI (fMRI) investigations of various motor learning tasks. The early phases of motor learning are cognitively demanding, relying on processes such as working memory, which have been linked to the cerebellum as well. Here, we investigated cerebellar contributions to motor learning using activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis. This allowed us to determine, across studies and tasks, whether or not the location of cerebellar activation is constant across differing motor learning tasks, and whether or not cerebellar activation in early learning overlaps with that observed for working memory. We found that different regions of the anterior cerebellum are engaged for implicit and explicit sequence learning and visuomotor adaptation, providing additional evidence for the modularity of cerebellar function. Furthermore, we found that lobule VI of the cerebellum, which has been implicated in working memory, is activated during the early stages of explicit motor sequence learning. This provides evidence for a potential role for the cerebellum in the cognitive processing associated with motor learning. However, though lobule VI was activated across both early explicit sequence learning and working memory studies, there was no spatial overlap between these two regions. Together, our results support the idea of modularity in the formation of internal representations of new motor tasks in the cerebellum, and highlight the cognitive processing relied upon during the early phases of motor skill learning. PMID:23403800

  13. Emotion and reward are dissociable from error during motor learning.

    PubMed

    Festini, Sara B; Preston, Stephanie D; Reuter-Lorenz, Patricia A; Seidler, Rachael D

    2016-06-01

    Although emotion is known to reciprocally interact with cognitive and motor performance, contemporary theories of motor learning do not specifically consider how dynamic variations in a learner's affective state may influence motor performance during motor learning. Using a prism adaptation paradigm, we assessed emotion during motor learning on a trial-by-trial basis. We designed two dart-throwing experiments to dissociate motor performance and reward outcomes by giving participants maximum points for accurate throws and reduced points for throws that hit zones away from the target (i.e., "accidental points"). Experiment 1 dissociated motor performance from emotional responses and found that affective ratings tracked points earned more closely than error magnitude. Further, both reward and error uniquely contributed to motor learning, as indexed by the change in error from one trial to the next. Experiment 2 manipulated accidental point locations vertically, whereas prism displacement remained horizontal. Results demonstrated that reward could bias motor performance even when concurrent sensorimotor adaptation was taking place in a perpendicular direction. Thus, these experiments demonstrate that affective states were dissociable from error magnitude during motor learning and that affect more closely tracked points earned. Our findings further implicate reward as another factor, other than error, that contributes to motor learning, suggesting the importance of incorporating affective states into models of motor learning. PMID:26746312

  14. Cortical Activation Changes During Simple Motor Task over Repeated Sessions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matsuzaki, Shuichi; Yamada, Taro; Wada, Yasuhiro

    Recent fMRI studies of human motor function and learning have reported that the magnitude of brain activity involves a decreasing trend over repeated tasks in the absence of improvements in task performance, probably suggesting the effect of habituation. Here we show that similar effect can be detected by NIRS. In experiments, oxygenated hemoglobin (HbO) changes were monitored during a finger tapping task over repeated sessions. Results showed that task-related brain activity exhibited a decreasing trend on motor-related areas over the sessions. These suggest that measurements of NIRS may exhibit the brain-induced trends over repetition of simple motor tasks.

  15. Optimal Schedules in Multitask Motor Learning.

    PubMed

    Lee, Jeong Yoon; Oh, Youngmin; Kim, Sung Shin; Scheidt, Robert A; Schweighofer, Nicolas

    2016-04-01

    Although scheduling multiple tasks in motor learning to maximize long-term retention of performance is of great practical importance in sports training and motor rehabilitation after brain injury, it is unclear how to do so. We propose here a novel theoretical approach that uses optimal control theory and computational models of motor adaptation to determine schedules that maximize long-term retention predictively. Using Pontryagin's maximum principle, we derived a control law that determines the trial-by-trial task choice that maximizes overall delayed retention for all tasks, as predicted by the state-space model. Simulations of a single session of adaptation with two tasks show that when task interference is high, there exists a threshold in relative task difficulty below which the alternating schedule is optimal. Only for large differences in task difficulties do optimal schedules assign more trials to the harder task. However, over the parameter range tested, alternating schedules yield long-term retention performance that is only slightly inferior to performance given by the true optimal schedules. Our results thus predict that in a large number of learning situations wherein tasks interfere, intermixing tasks with an equal number of trials is an effective strategy in enhancing long-term retention. PMID:26890347

  16. The role of strategies in motor learning

    PubMed Central

    Taylor, Jordan A.; Ivry, Richard B.

    2015-01-01

    There has been renewed interest in the role of strategies in sensorimotor learning. The combination of new behavioral methods and computational methods has begun to unravel the interaction between processes related to strategic control and processes related to motor adaptation. These processes may operate on very different error signals. Strategy learning is sensitive to goal-based performance error. In contrast, adaptation is sensitive to prediction errors between the desired and actual consequences of a planned movement. The former guides what the desired movement should be, whereas the latter guides how to implement the desired movement. Whereas traditional approaches have favored serial models in which an initial strategy-based phase gives way to more automatized forms of control, it now seems that strategic and adaptive processes operate with considerable independence throughout learning, although the relative weight given the two processes will shift with changes in performance. As such, skill acquisition involves the synergistic engagement of strategic and adaptive processes. PMID:22329960

  17. Role of motor cortex NMDA receptors in learning-dependent synaptic plasticity of behaving mice

    PubMed Central

    Hasan, Mazahir T.; Hernández-González, Samuel; Dogbevia, Godwin; Treviño, Mario; Bertocchi, Ilaria; Gruart, Agnès; Delgado-García, José M.

    2013-01-01

    The primary motor cortex has an important role in the precise execution of learned motor responses. During motor learning, synaptic efficacy between sensory and primary motor cortical neurons is enhanced, possibly involving long-term potentiation and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-specific glutamate receptor function. To investigate whether NMDA receptor in the primary motor cortex can act as a coincidence detector for activity-dependent changes in synaptic strength and associative learning, here we generate mice with deletion of the Grin1 gene, encoding the essential NMDA receptor subunit 1 (GluN1), specifically in the primary motor cortex. The loss of NMDA receptor function impairs primary motor cortex long-term potentiation in vivo. Importantly, it impairs the synaptic efficacy between the primary somatosensory and primary motor cortices and significantly reduces classically conditioned eyeblink responses. Furthermore, compared with wild-type littermates, mice lacking primary motor cortex show slower learning in Skinner-box tasks. Thus, primary motor cortex NMDA receptors are necessary for activity-dependent synaptic strengthening and associative learning. PMID:23978820

  18. Role of motor cortex NMDA receptors in learning-dependent synaptic plasticity of behaving mice.

    PubMed

    Hasan, Mazahir T; Hernández-González, Samuel; Dogbevia, Godwin; Treviño, Mario; Bertocchi, Ilaria; Gruart, Agnès; Delgado-García, José M

    2013-01-01

    The primary motor cortex has an important role in the precise execution of learned motor responses. During motor learning, synaptic efficacy between sensory and primary motor cortical neurons is enhanced, possibly involving long-term potentiation and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-specific glutamate receptor function. To investigate whether NMDA receptor in the primary motor cortex can act as a coincidence detector for activity-dependent changes in synaptic strength and associative learning, here we generate mice with deletion of the Grin1 gene, encoding the essential NMDA receptor subunit 1 (GluN1), specifically in the primary motor cortex. The loss of NMDA receptor function impairs primary motor cortex long-term potentiation in vivo. Importantly, it impairs the synaptic efficacy between the primary somatosensory and primary motor cortices and significantly reduces classically conditioned eyeblink responses. Furthermore, compared with wild-type littermates, mice lacking NMDA receptors in the [corrected] primary motor cortex show slower learning in Skinner-box tasks. Thus, primary motor cortex NMDA receptors are necessary for activity-dependent synaptic strengthening and associative learning. PMID:23978820

  19. Sleep Does Not Enhance Motor Sequence Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rickard, Timothy C.; Cai, Denise J.; Rieth, Cory A.; Jones, Jason; Ard, M. Colin

    2008-01-01

    Improvements in motor sequence performance have been observed after a delay involving sleep. This finding has been taken as evidence for an active sleep consolidation process that enhances subsequent performance. In a review of this literature, however, the authors observed 4 aspects of data analyses and experimental design that could lead to…

  20. Activity-Focused Motor Interventions for Children with Neurological Conditions

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Valvano, Joanne

    2004-01-01

    This article presents a model to guide activity-focused physical therapy and occupational therapy interventions for children with neurological conditions. Activity-focused interventions involve structured practice and repetition of functional actions and are directed toward the learning of motor tasks that will increase independence and…

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  2. Reduced motor cortex activity during movement preparation following a period of motor skill practice.

    PubMed

    Wright, David J; Holmes, Paul; Di Russo, Francesco; Loporto, Michela; Smith, Dave

    2012-01-01

    Experts in a skill produce movement-related cortical potentials (MRCPs) of smaller amplitude and later onset than novices. This may indicate that, following long-term training, experts require less effort to plan motor skill performance. However, no longitudinal evidence exists to support this claim. To address this, EEG was used to study the effect of motor skill training on cortical activity related to motor planning. Ten non-musicians took part in a 5-week training study learning to play guitar. At week 1, the MRCP was recorded from motor areas whilst participants played the G Major scale. Following a period of practice of the scale, the MRCP was recorded again at week 5. Results showed that the amplitude of the later pre-movement components were smaller at week 5 compared to week 1. This may indicate that, following training, less activity at motor cortex sites is involved in motor skill preparation. This supports claims for a more efficient motor preparation following motor skill training. PMID:23251647

  3. Prenatal Development of Interlimb Motor Learning in the Rat Fetus

    PubMed Central

    Robinson, Scott R.; Kleven, Gale A.; Brumley, Michele R.

    2010-01-01

    The role of sensory feedback in the early ontogeny of motor coordination remains a topic of speculation and debate. On E20 of gestation (the 20th day after conception, 2 days before birth), rat fetuses can alter interlimb coordination after a period of training with an interlimb yoke, which constrains limb movement and promotes synchronized, conjugate movement of the yoked limbs. The aim of this study was to determine how the ability to express this form of motor learning may change during prenatal development. Fetal rats were prepared for in vivo study at 4 ages (E18–21) and tested in a 65-min training-and-testing session examining hind limb motor learning. A significant increase in conjugate hind limb activity was expressed by E19, but not E18 fetuses, with further increases in conjugate hind limb activity on E20 and E21. These findings suggest substantial development of the ability of fetal rats to modify patterns of interlimb coordination in response to kinesthetic feedback during motor training before birth. PMID:20198121

  4. Does sleep promote motor learning? Implications for physical rehabilitation.

    PubMed

    Siengsukon, Catherine F; Boyd, Lara A

    2009-04-01

    Sleep following motor skill practice has repeatedly been demonstrated to enhance motor skill learning off-line (continued overnight improvements in motor skill that are not associated with additional physical practice) for young people who are healthy. Mounting evidence suggests that older people who are healthy fail to demonstrate sleep-dependent off-line motor learning. However, little is known regarding the influence of sleep on motor skill enhancement following damage to the brain. Emerging evidence suggests that individuals with brain damage, particularly following stroke, do benefit from sleep to promote off-line motor skill learning. Because rehabilitation following stroke requires learning new, and re-learning old, motor skills, awareness that individuals with stroke benefit from a period of sleep following motor skill practice to enhance skill learning could affect physical therapist practice. The objective of this article is to present the evidence demonstrating sleep-dependent off-line motor learning in young people who are healthy and the variables that may influence this beneficial sleep-dependent skill enhancement. In young people who are healthy, these variables include the stages of memory formation, the type of memory, the type of instruction provided (implicit versus explicit learning), and the task utilized. The neural mechanisms thought to be associated with sleep-dependent off-line motor learning also are considered. Research examining whether older adults who are healthy show the same benefits of sleep as do younger adults is discussed. The data suggest that older adults who are healthy do not benefit from sleep to promote off-line skill enhancement. A possible explanation for the apparent lack of sleep-dependent off-line motor learning by older adults who are healthy is presented. Last, emerging evidence showing that individuals with chronic stroke demonstrate sleep-dependent off-line motor skill learning and some of the possible mechanisms

  5. Auditory and motor imagery modulate learning in music performance

    PubMed Central

    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

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

    PubMed

    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

  7. The Errors of Our Ways: Understanding Error Representations in Cerebellar-Dependent Motor Learning

    PubMed Central

    Popa, Laurentiu S.; Streng, Martha L.; Hewitt, Angela L.; Ebner, Timothy J.

    2015-01-01

    The cerebellum is essential for error-driven motor learning and is strongly implicated in detecting and correcting for motor errors. Therefore, elucidating how motor errors are represented in the cerebellum is essential in understanding cerebellar function, in general, and its role in motor learning, in particular. This review examines how motor errors are encoded in the cerebellar cortex in the context of a forward internal model that generates predictions about the upcoming movement and drives learning and adaptation. In this framework, sensory prediction errors, defined as the discrepancy between the predicted consequences of motor commands and the sensory feedback, are crucial for both on-line movement control and motor learning. While many studies support the dominant view that motor errors are encoded in the complex spike discharge of Purkinje cells, others have failed to relate complex spike activity with errors. Given these limitations, we review recent findings in the monkey showing that complex spike modulation is not necessarily required for motor learning or for simple spike adaptation. Also, new results demonstrate that the simple spike discharge provides continuous error signals that both lead and lag the actual movements in time, suggesting errors are encoded as both an internal prediction of motor commands and the actual sensory feedback. These dual error representations have opposing effects on simple spike discharge, consistent with the signals needed to generate sensory prediction errors used to update a forward internal model. PMID:26112422

  8. Psychosocial Modulators of Motor Learning in Parkinson's Disease.

    PubMed

    Zemankova, Petra; Lungu, Ovidiu; Bares, Martin

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:26973495

  9. Psychosocial Modulators of Motor Learning in Parkinson’s Disease

    PubMed Central

    Zemankova, Petra; Lungu, Ovidiu; Bares, Martin

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:26973495

  10. Transposed firing activation of motor units

    PubMed Central

    Kline, Joshua C.; Contessa, Paola

    2014-01-01

    Muscles are composed of groups of muscle fibers, called motor units, each innervated by a single motoneuron originating in the spinal cord. During constant or linearly varying voluntary force contractions, motor units are activated in a hierarchical order, with the earlier-recruited motor units having greater firing rates than the later-recruited ones. We found that this normal pattern of firing activation can be altered during oscillatory contractions where the force oscillates at frequencies ≥2 Hz. During these high-frequency oscillations, the activation of the lower-threshold motor units effectively decreases and that of the higher-threshold motor units effectively increases. This transposition of firing activation provides means to activate higher-threshold motor units preferentially. Our results demonstrate that the hierarchical regulation of motor unit activation can be manipulated to activate specific motoneuron populations preferentially. This finding can be exploited to develop new forms of physical therapies and exercise programs that enhance muscle performance or that target the preferential atrophy of high-threshold motor units as a result of aging or motor disorders such as stroke and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. PMID:24899671

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

    PubMed Central

    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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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,…

  13. The Value of the Follow-Through Derives from Motor Learning Depending on Future Actions

    PubMed Central

    Howard, Ian S.; Wolpert, Daniel M.; Franklin, David W.

    2015-01-01

    Summary In ball sports, we are taught to follow through, despite the inability of events after contact or release to influence the outcome [1, 2]. Here we show that the specific motor memory active at any given moment critically depends on the movement that will be made in the near future. We demonstrate that associating a different follow-through movement with two motor skills that normally interfere [3–7] allows them to be learned simultaneously, suggesting that distinct future actions activate separate motor memories. This implies that when learning a skill, a variable follow-through would activate multiple motor memories across practice, whereas a consistent follow-through would activate a single motor memory, resulting in faster learning. We confirm this prediction and show that such follow-through effects influence adaptation over time periods associated with real-world skill learning. Overall, our results indicate that movements made in the immediate future influence the current active motor memory. This suggests that there is a critical time period both before [8] and after the current movement that determines motor memory activation and controls learning. PMID:25578907

  14. The value of the follow-through derives from motor learning depending on future actions.

    PubMed

    Howard, Ian S; Wolpert, Daniel M; Franklin, David W

    2015-02-01

    In ball sports, we are taught to follow through, despite the inability of events after contact or release to influence the outcome [1, 2]. Here we show that the specific motor memory active at any given moment critically depends on the movement that will be made in the near future. We demonstrate that associating a different follow-through movement with two motor skills that normally interfere [3-7] allows them to be learned simultaneously, suggesting that distinct future actions activate separate motor memories. This implies that when learning a skill, a variable follow-through would activate multiple motor memories across practice, whereas a consistent follow-through would activate a single motor memory, resulting in faster learning. We confirm this prediction and show that such follow-through effects influence adaptation over time periods associated with real-world skill learning. Overall, our results indicate that movements made in the immediate future influence the current active motor memory. This suggests that there is a critical time period both before [8] and after the current movement that determines motor memory activation and controls learning. PMID:25578907

  15. Neural substrates underlying motor skill learning in chronic hemiparetic stroke patients

    PubMed Central

    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 critical in post-stroke motor recovery, but little is known about its underlying neural substrates. Recently, using a new visuomotor skill learning paradigm involving a speed/accuracy trade-off in healthy individuals we identified three subpopulations based on their behavioral trajectories: fitters (in whom improvement in speed or accuracy coincided with deterioration in the other parameter), shifters (in whom speed and/or accuracy improved without degradation of the other parameter), and non-learners. We aimed to identify the neural substrates underlying the first stages of motor skill learning in chronic hemiparetic stroke patients and to determine whether specific neural substrates were recruited in shifters versus fitters. During functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), 23 patients learned the visuomotor skill with their paretic upper limb. In the whole-group analysis, correlation between activation and motor skill learning was restricted to the dorsal prefrontal cortex of the damaged hemisphere (DLPFCdamh: r = −0.82) and the dorsal premotor cortex (PMddamh: r = 0.70); the correlations was much lesser (−0.16 < r > 0.25) in the other regions of interest. In a subgroup analysis, significant activation was restricted to bilateral posterior parietal cortices of the fitters and did not correlate with motor skill learning. Conversely, in shifters significant activation occurred in the primary sensorimotor cortexdamh and supplementary motor areadamh and in bilateral PMd where activation changes correlated significantly with motor skill learning (r = 0.91). Finally, resting-state activity acquired before learning showed a higher functional connectivity in the salience network of shifters compared with fitters (qFDR < 0.05). These data suggest a neuroplastic compensatory reorganization of brain activity underlying the first stages of motor skill learning with the paretic upper limb in chronic hemiparetic stroke patients, with a key role

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

    PubMed

    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

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  18. Brains and Brawn: Complex Motor Activities to Maximize Cognitive Enhancement

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Moreau, David

    2015-01-01

    The target articles in this special issue address the timely question of embodied cognition in the classroom, and in particular the potential of this approach to facilitate learning in children. The interest for motor activities within settings that typically give little space to nontraditional content is proof of a shift from a Cartesian…

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:25995349

  20. Auditory-Perceptual Learning Improves Speech Motor Adaptation in Children

    PubMed Central

    Shiller, Douglas M.; Rochon, Marie-Lyne

    2015-01-01

    Auditory feedback plays an important role in children’s speech development by providing the child with information about speech outcomes that is used to learn and fine-tune speech motor plans. The use of auditory feedback in speech motor learning has been extensively studied in adults by examining oral motor responses to manipulations of auditory feedback during speech production. Children are also capable of adapting speech motor patterns to perceived changes in auditory feedback, however it is not known whether their capacity for motor learning is limited by immature auditory-perceptual abilities. Here, the link between speech perceptual ability and the capacity for motor learning was explored in two groups of 5–7-year-old children who underwent a period of auditory perceptual training followed by tests of speech motor adaptation to altered auditory feedback. One group received perceptual training on a speech acoustic property relevant to the motor task while a control group received perceptual training on an irrelevant speech contrast. Learned perceptual improvements led to an enhancement in speech motor adaptation (proportional to the perceptual change) only for the experimental group. The results indicate that children’s ability to perceive relevant speech acoustic properties has a direct influence on their capacity for sensory-based speech motor adaptation. PMID:24842067

  1. The Statistical Determinants of the Speed of Motor Learning.

    PubMed

    He, Kang; Liang, You; Abdollahi, Farnaz; Fisher Bittmann, Moria; Kording, Konrad; Wei, Kunlin

    2016-09-01

    It has recently been suggested that movement variability directly increases the speed of motor learning. Here we use computational modeling of motor adaptation to show that variability can have a broad range of effects on learning, both negative and positive. Experimentally, we also find contributing and decelerating effects. Lastly, through a meta-analysis of published papers, we verify that across a wide range of experiments, movement variability has no statistical relation with learning rate. While motor learning is a complex process that can be modeled, further research is needed to understand the relative importance of the involved factors. PMID:27606808

  2. Common mechanisms of human perceptual and motor learning

    PubMed Central

    Censor, Nitzan; Sagi, Dov; Cohen, Leonardo G.

    2016-01-01

    The adult mammalian brain has a remarkable capacity to learn in both the perceptual and motor domains through the formation and consolidation of memories. Such practice-enabled procedural learning results in perceptual and motor skill improvements. Here, we examine evidence supporting the notion that perceptual and motor learning in humans exhibit analogous properties, including similarities in temporal dynamics and the interactions between primary cortical and higher-order brain areas. These similarities may point to the existence of a common general mechanism for learning in humans. PMID:22903222

  3. Reinforcement learning of motor skills with policy gradients.

    PubMed

    Peters, Jan; Schaal, Stefan

    2008-05-01

    Autonomous learning is one of the hallmarks of human and animal behavior, and understanding the principles of learning will be crucial in order to achieve true autonomy in advanced machines like humanoid robots. In this paper, we examine learning of complex motor skills with human-like limbs. While supervised learning can offer useful tools for bootstrapping behavior, e.g., by learning from demonstration, it is only reinforcement learning that offers a general approach to the final trial-and-error improvement that is needed by each individual acquiring a skill. Neither neurobiological nor machine learning studies have, so far, offered compelling results on how reinforcement learning can be scaled to the high-dimensional continuous state and action spaces of humans or humanoids. Here, we combine two recent research developments on learning motor control in order to achieve this scaling. First, we interpret the idea of modular motor control by means of motor primitives as a suitable way to generate parameterized control policies for reinforcement learning. Second, we combine motor primitives with the theory of stochastic policy gradient learning, which currently seems to be the only feasible framework for reinforcement learning for humanoids. We evaluate different policy gradient methods with a focus on their applicability to parameterized motor primitives. We compare these algorithms in the context of motor primitive learning, and show that our most modern algorithm, the Episodic Natural Actor-Critic outperforms previous algorithms by at least an order of magnitude. We demonstrate the efficiency of this reinforcement learning method in the application of learning to hit a baseball with an anthropomorphic robot arm. PMID:18482830

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

    PubMed

    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 < 0.001) with the skill retained 24 h later in MP and a 16 % improvement in AC. Corticospinal excitability at rest and during task did not change, but when measured during contraction at 20 % of maximal force, it strongly increased in MP and decreased in AC (interaction, p = 0.002). Intracortical inhibition at rest and during the task decreased and facilitation at rest increased in MP, but these metrics changed in the opposite direction in AC. These neuronal changes were especially profound at retention. Healthy old adults can 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. PMID:25956604

  5. Learning as Activity.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jonassen, David H.

    2002-01-01

    Integrates contemporary theories of learning into a theory of learning as activity. Explains ecological psychology, changes in understanding of learning, activity systems and activity theory (including the integration of consciousness and activity), and activity structure; and discusses learning as a cognitive and social process. (LRW)

  6. Prespeech motor learning in a neural network using reinforcement☆

    PubMed Central

    Warlaumont, Anne S.; Westermann, Gert; Buder, Eugene H.; Oller, D. Kimbrough

    2012-01-01

    Vocal motor development in infancy provides a crucial foundation for language development. Some significant early accomplishments include learning to control the process of phonation (the production of sound at the larynx) and learning to produce the sounds of one’s language. Previous work has shown that social reinforcement shapes the kinds of vocalizations infants produce. We present a neural network model that provides an account of how vocal learning may be guided by reinforcement. The model consists of a self-organizing map that outputs to muscles of a realistic vocalization synthesizer. Vocalizations are spontaneously produced by the network. If a vocalization meets certain acoustic criteria, it is reinforced, and the weights are updated to make similar muscle activations increasingly likely to recur. We ran simulations of the model under various reinforcement criteria and tested the types of vocalizations it produced after learning in the differ-ent conditions. When reinforcement was contingent on the production of phonated (i.e. voiced) sounds, the network’s post learning productions were almost always phonated, whereas when reinforcement was not contingent on phonation, the network’s post-learning productions were almost always not phonated. When reinforcement was contingent on both phonation and proximity to English vowels as opposed to Korean vowels, the model’s post-learning productions were more likely to resemble the English vowels and vice versa. PMID:23275137

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:25644641

  8. Optimization of a motor learning attention-directing strategy based on an individual's motor imagery ability.

    PubMed

    Sakurada, Takeshi; Hirai, Masahiro; Watanabe, Eiju

    2016-01-01

    Motor learning performance has been shown to be affected by various cognitive factors such as the focus of attention and motor imagery ability. Most previous studies on motor learning have shown that directing the attention of participants externally, such as on the outcome of an assigned body movement, can be more effective than directing their attention internally, such as on body movement itself. However, to the best of our knowledge, no findings have been reported on the effect of the focus of attention selected according to the motor imagery ability of an individual on motor learning performance. We measured individual motor imagery ability assessed by the Movement Imagery Questionnaire and classified the participants into kinesthetic-dominant (n = 12) and visual-dominant (n = 8) groups based on the questionnaire score. Subsequently, the participants performed a motor learning task such as tracing a trajectory using visuomotor rotation. When the participants were required to direct their attention internally, the after-effects of the learning task in the kinesthetic-dominant group were significantly greater than those in the visual-dominant group. Conversely, when the participants were required to direct their attention externally, the after-effects of the visual-dominant group were significantly greater than those of the kinesthetic-dominant group. Furthermore, we found a significant positive correlation between the size of after-effects and the modality-dominance of motor imagery. These results suggest that a suitable attention strategy based on the intrinsic motor imagery ability of an individual can improve performance during motor learning tasks. PMID:26466828

  9. Learning of Action Through Adaptive Combination of Motor Primitives

    PubMed Central

    Thoroughman, Kurt A.; Shadmehr, Reza

    2008-01-01

    Understanding how the brain constructs movements remains a fundamental challenge in neuroscience. The brain may control complex movements through flexible combination of motor primitives1, where each primitive is an element of computation in the sensorimotor map that transforms desired limb trajectories into motor commands. Theoretical studies have shown that a system’s ability to learn actions depends on the shape of its primitives2. Using a time-series analysis of error patterns, here we find evidence that humans learn dynamics of reaching movements through flexible combination of primitives that have Gaussian-like tuning functions encoding hand velocity. The wide tuning of the inferred primitives predicts limitations on the brain’s ability to represent viscous dynamics. We find close agreement between the predicted limitations and subjects’ adaptation to novel force fields. The mathematical properties of the derived primitives resemble the tuning curves of Purkinje cells in the cerebellum. Activity of these cells may encode primitives that underlie learning of dynamics. PMID:11048720

  10. Motor patterns during active electrosensory acquisition

    PubMed Central

    Hofmann, Volker; Geurten, Bart R. H.; Sanguinetti-Scheck, Juan I.; Gómez-Sena, Leonel; Engelmann, Jacob

    2014-01-01

    Motor patterns displayed during active electrosensory acquisition of information seem to be an essential part of a sensory strategy by which weakly electric fish actively generate and shape sensory flow. These active sensing strategies are expected to adaptively optimize ongoing behavior with respect to either motor efficiency or sensory information gained. The tight link between the motor domain and sensory perception in active electrolocation make weakly electric fish like Gnathonemus petersii an ideal system for studying sensory-motor interactions in the form of active sensing strategies. Analyzing the movements and electric signals of solitary fish during unrestrained exploration of objects in the dark, we here present the first formal quantification of motor patterns used by fish during electrolocation. Based on a cluster analysis of the kinematic values we categorized the basic units of motion. These were then analyzed for their associative grouping to identify and extract short coherent chains of behavior. This enabled the description of sensory behavior on different levels of complexity: from single movements, over short behaviors to more complex behavioral sequences during which the kinematics alter between different behaviors. We present detailed data for three classified patterns and provide evidence that these can be considered as motor components of active sensing strategies. In accordance with the idea of active sensing strategies, we found categorical motor patterns to be modified by the sensory context. In addition these motor patterns were linked with changes in the temporal sampling in form of differing electric organ discharge frequencies and differing spatial distributions. The ability to detect such strategies quantitatively will allow future research to investigate the impact of such behaviors on sensing. PMID:24904337

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

    PubMed Central

    Sagari, Akira; Iso, Naoki; Moriuchi, Takefumi; Ogahara, Kakuya; Kitajima, Eiji; Tanaka, Koji; Tabira, Takayuki; Higashi, Toshio

    2015-01-01

    Introduction 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. Methods 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. Results 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. Conclusions 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. PMID:26485534

  12. Learning Activities.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tipton, Tom, Ed.

    1983-01-01

    Presents a flow chart for naming inorganic compounds. Although it is not necessary for students to memorize rules, preliminary skills needed before using the chart are outlined. Also presents an activity in which the mass of an imaginary atom is determined using lead shot, Petri dishes, and a platform balance. (JN)

  13. Impaired Visuo-Motor Sequence Learning in Developmental Coordination Disorder

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gheysen, Freja; Van Waelvelde, Hilde; Fias, Wim

    2011-01-01

    The defining feature of Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is the marked impairment in the development of motor coordination (DSM-IV-TR, American Psychiatric Association, 2000). In the current study, we focused on one core aspect of motor coordination: learning to correctly sequence movements. We investigated the procedural, visuo-motor…

  14. Sleep-Related Improvements in Motor Learning Following Mental Practice

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Debarnot, Ursula; Creveaux, Thomas; Collet, Christian; Gemignani, Angelo; Massarelli, Raphael; Doyon, Julien; Guillot, Aymeric

    2009-01-01

    A wide range of experimental studies have provided evidence that a night of sleep may enhance motor performance following physical practice (PP), but little is known, however, about its effect after motor imagery (MI). Using an explicitly learned pointing task paradigm, thirty participants were assigned to one of three groups that differed in the…

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

  16. Primary Motor Cortex Involvement in Initial Learning during Visuomotor Adaptation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Riek, Stephan; Hinder, Mark R.; Carson, Richard G.

    2012-01-01

    Human motor behaviour is continually modified on the basis of errors between desired and actual movement outcomes. It is emerging that the role played by the primary motor cortex (M1) in this process is contingent upon a variety of factors, including the nature of the task being performed, and the stage of learning. Here we used repetitive TMS to…

  17. Self-controlled practice benefits motor learning in older adults.

    PubMed

    Lessa, Helena Thofehrn; Chiviacowsky, Suzete

    2015-04-01

    Providing learners with the chance to choose over certain aspects of practice has been consistently shown to facilitate the acquisition of motor skills in several populations. However, studies investigating the effects of providing autonomy support during the learning process of older adults remain scarce. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effects of self-controlled amount of practice on the learning of a sequential motor task in older adults. Participants in the self-control group were able to choose when to stop practicing a speed cup stacking task, while the number of practice trials for a yoked group was pre-determined, mirroring the self-control group. The opportunity to choose when stop practicing facilitated motor performance and learning compared to the yoked condition. The findings suggest that letting older adult learners choose the amount of practice, supporting their autonomy needs, has a positive influence on motor learning. PMID:25687663

  18. Feedback delays eliminate auditory-motor learning in speech production.

    PubMed

    Max, Ludo; Maffett, Derek G

    2015-03-30

    Neurologically healthy individuals use sensory feedback to alter future movements by updating internal models of the effector system and environment. For example, when visual feedback about limb movements or auditory feedback about speech movements is experimentally perturbed, the planning of subsequent movements is adjusted - i.e., sensorimotor adaptation occurs. A separate line of studies has demonstrated that experimentally delaying the sensory consequences of limb movements causes the sensory input to be attributed to external sources rather than to one's own actions. Yet similar feedback delays have remarkably little effect on visuo-motor adaptation (although the rate of learning varies, the amount of adaptation is only moderately affected with delays of 100-200ms, and adaptation still occurs even with a delay as long as 5000ms). Thus, limb motor learning remains largely intact even in conditions where error assignment favors external factors. Here, we show a fundamentally different result for sensorimotor control of speech articulation: auditory-motor adaptation to formant-shifted feedback is completely eliminated with delays of 100ms or more. Thus, for speech motor learning, real-time auditory feedback is critical. This novel finding informs theoretical models of human motor control in general and speech motor control in particular, and it has direct implications for the application of motor learning principles in the habilitation and rehabilitation of individuals with various sensorimotor speech disorders. PMID:25676810

  19. Translational studies exploring neuroplasticity associated with motor skill learning and the regulatory role of the dopamine system.

    PubMed

    Diaz Heijtz, Rochellys; Forssberg, Hans

    2015-04-01

    Cerebral palsy (CP) is a heterogeneous group of neurodevelopmental disorders associated with lifelong motor impairment and disability. Current intervention programmes aim to capitalize on the neuroplasticity of the undamaged part of the brain to improve motor functions, by engaging individuals in active motor learning and training. In this review, we highlight recent animal studies (1) exploring cellular and molecular mechanisms contributing to neuroplasticity during motor training, (2) assessing the functional role of the mesocortical dopaminergic system in motor skill learning, and (3) exploring the impact of naturally occurring genetic variation in dopamine-related gene expression on the acquisition and performance of fine motor skills. Finally, the potential influence of the dopamine system on the outcome of motor learning interventions in cerebral palsy is discussed. PMID:25690110

  20. A Day Awake Attenuates Motor Learning-Induced Increases in Corticomotor Excitability

    PubMed Central

    de Beukelaar, Toon T.; Van Soom, Jago; Huber, Reto; Wenderoth, Nicole

    2016-01-01

    The “synaptic homeostasis hypothesis” proposes that the brain’s capacity to exhibit synaptic plasticity is reduced during the day but restores when sleeping. While this prediction has been confirmed for declarative memories, it is currently unknown whether it is also the case for motor memories. We quantified practice-induced changes in corticomotor excitability in response to repetitive motor sequence training as an indirect marker of synaptic plasticity in the primary motor cortex (M1). Subjects either practiced a motor sequence in the morning and a new motor sequence in the evening, i.e., after a 12 h period of wakefulness (wake group); or they practiced a sequence in the evening and a new sequence in the morning, i.e., after a 12 h period including sleep (sleep group). In both wake and sleep groups motor training improved movement performance irrespective of the time of day. Learning a new sequence in the morning triggered a clear increase in corticomotor excitability suggesting that motor training triggered synaptic adaptation in the M1 that was absent when a new sequence was learned in the evening. Thus, the magnitude of the practice-induced increase in corticomotor excitability was significantly influenced by time of day while the magnitude of motor performance improvements were not. These results suggest that the motor cortex’s potential to efficiently adapt to the environment by quickly adjusting synaptic strength in an activity-dependent manner is higher in the morning than in the evening. PMID:27065837

  1. Motor Learning and Control Foundations of Kinesiology: Defining the Academic Core

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fischman, Mark G.

    2007-01-01

    This paper outlines the kinesiological foundations of the motor behavior subdisciplines of motor learning and motor control. After defining the components of motor behavior, the paper addresses the undergraduate major and core knowledge by examining several classic textbooks in motor learning and control, as well as a number of contemporary…

  2. Motor Skill Learning, Retention, and Control Deficits in Parkinson's Disease

    PubMed Central

    Pendt, Lisa Katharina; Reuter, Iris; Müller, Hermann

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:21760898

  3. Electromyographic Study of Motor Learning for a Voice Production Task

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Yiu, Edwin M.-L.; Verdolini, Katherine; Chow, Linda P. Y.

    2005-01-01

    Purpose: This study's broad objective was to examine the effectiveness of surface electromyographic (EMG) biofeedback for motor learning in the voice production domain. The specific objective was to examine whether concurrent or terminal biofeedback would facilitate learning for a relaxed laryngeal musculature task during spoken reading. Method:…

  4. Sleep-Dependent Learning and Motor-Skill Complexity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kuriyama, Kenichi; Stickgold, Robert; Walker, Matthew P.

    2004-01-01

    Learning of a procedural motor-skill task is known to progress through a series of unique memory stages. Performance initially improves during training, and continues to improve, without further rehearsal, across subsequent periods of sleep. Here, we investigate how this delayed sleep-dependent learning is affected when the task characteristics…

  5. Approximate Optimal Control as a Model for Motor Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Berthier, Neil E.; Rosenstein, Michael T.; Barto, Andrew G.

    2005-01-01

    Current models of psychological development rely heavily on connectionist models that use supervised learning. These models adapt network weights when the network output does not match the target outputs computed by some agent. The authors present a model of motor learning in which the child uses exploration to discover appropriate ways of…

  6. Using Mobile Devices for Motor-Learning Laboratory Exercises

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

  7. Motor learning perspectives on haptic training for the upper extremities.

    PubMed

    Williams, Camille K; Carnahan, Heather

    2014-01-01

    Recent developments in neurorehabilitation have spawned numerous new robotic rehabilitation therapies. However, many of the concepts upon which these therapies are based are not fully understood and it may be necessary to explore some of the motor learning principles that apply to the use of haptics for motor learning in non-clinical scenarios/populations. We conducted a review of studies that utilized a haptic training paradigm teaching healthy participants to perform a motor skill involving the upper extremities. We discuss studies in the context of four important motor learning concepts: performance versus learning, feedback, observational learning, and functional task difficulty. Additionally, we note that the proliferation of research in haptic training has led to an extensive vocabulary of terms, some of which may be misnomers or redundant. We propose a classification of terms describing haptic training in an effort to provide clarity and further contextualize the studies. We believe that making connections to motor learning principles and clarifying meanings will facilitate a fuller understanding of the outcomes of studies in basic science research and allow for more directed applications of these training techniques to clinical populations. PMID:24968385

  8. Learning piano melodies in visuo-motor or audio-motor training conditions and the neural correlates of their cross-modal transfer.

    PubMed

    Engel, Annerose; Bangert, Marc; Horbank, David; Hijmans, Brenda S; Wilkens, Katharina; Keller, Peter E; Keysers, Christian

    2012-11-01

    To investigate the cross-modal transfer of movement patterns necessary to perform melodies on the piano, 22 non-musicians learned to play short sequences on a piano keyboard by (1) merely listening and replaying (vision of own fingers occluded) or (2) merely observing silent finger movements and replaying (on a silent keyboard). After training, participants recognized with above chance accuracy (1) audio-motor learned sequences upon visual presentation (89±17%), and (2) visuo-motor learned sequences upon auditory presentation (77±22%). The recognition rates for visual presentation significantly exceeded those for auditory presentation (p<.05). fMRI revealed that observing finger movements corresponding to audio-motor trained melodies is associated with stronger activation in the left rolandic operculum than observing untrained sequences. This region was also involved in silent execution of sequences, suggesting that a link to motor representations may play a role in cross-modal transfer from audio-motor training condition to visual recognition. No significant differences in brain activity were found during listening to visuo-motor trained compared to untrained melodies. Cross-modal transfer was stronger from the audio-motor training condition to visual recognition and this is discussed in relation to the fact that non-musicians are familiar with how their finger movements look (motor-to-vision transformation), but not with how they sound on a piano (motor-to-sound transformation). PMID:22484310

  9. Comparison of effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation on primary motor cortex and supplementary motor area in motor skill learning (randomized, cross over study).

    PubMed

    Kim, Yong Kyun; Shin, Sung Hun

    2014-01-01

    Motor skills require quick visuomotor reaction time, fast movement time, and accurate performance. Primary motor cortex (M1) and supplementary motor area (SMA) are closely related in learning motor skills. Also, it is well known that high frequency repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on these sites has a facilitating effect. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of high frequency rTMS activation of these two brain sites on learning of motor skills. Twenty three normal volunteers participated. Subjects were randomly stimulated on either brain area, SMA or M1. The motor task required the learning of sequential finger movements, explicitly or implicitly. It consisted of pressing the keyboard sequentially with their right hand on seeing 7 digits on the monitor explicitly, and then tapping the 7 digits by memorization, implicitly. Subjects were instructed to hit the keyboard as fast and accurately as possible. Using Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI), the keyboard pressing task was measured before and after high frequency rTMS for motor performance, which was measured by response time (RT), movement time, and accuracy (AC). A week later, the same task was repeated by cross-over study design. At this time, rTMS was applied on the other brain area. Two-way ANOVA was used to assess the carry over time effect and stimulation sites (M1 and SMA), as factors. Results indicated that no carry-over effect was observed. The AC and RT were not different between the two stimulating sites (M1 and SMA). But movement time was significantly decreased after rTMS on both SMA and M1. The amount of shortened movement time after rTMS on SMA was significantly increased as compared to the movement time after rTMS on M1 (p < 0.05), especially for implicit learning of motor tasks. The coefficient of variation was lower in implicit trial than in explicit trial. In conclusion, this finding indicated an important role of SMA compared to M1, in implicit motor

  10. Active Learning Methods

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zayapragassarazan, Z.; Kumar, Santosh

    2012-01-01

    Present generation students are primarily active learners with varied learning experiences and lecture courses may not suit all their learning needs. Effective learning involves providing students with a sense of progress and control over their own learning. This requires creating a situation where learners have a chance to try out or test their…

  11. Motor-reduced visual perceptual abilities and visual-motor integration abilities of Chinese learning children.

    PubMed

    Lai, Mun Yee; Leung, Frederick Koon Shing

    2012-10-01

    This study investigated the relationship between motor-reduced visual perceptual abilities and visual-motor integration abilities of Chinese learning children by employing the Developmental Test of Visual Perception (Hammill, Pearson, & Voress, 1993), in which both abilities are measured in a single test. A total of 72 native Chinese learners of age 5 participated in this study. The findings indicated that the Chinese learners scored much higher in the visual-motor integration tasks than in motor-reduced visual perceptual tasks. The results support the theory of autonomous systems of motor-reduced visual perception and visual-motor integration and query current beliefs about the prior development of the former to the latter for the Chinese learners. To account for the Chinese participants' superior performance in visual-motor integration tasks over motor-reduced visual perceptual tasks, the visual-spatial properties of Chinese characters, general handwriting theories, the motor control theory and the psychogeometric theory of Chinese character-writing are referred to. The significance of the findings is then discussed. PMID:22663773

  12. Toward an Interdisciplinary Perspective: A Review of Adult Learning Frameworks and Theoretical Models of Motor Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Roessger, Kevin M.

    2012-01-01

    Researchers have yet to agree on an approach that supports how adults best learn novel motor skills in formal educational contexts. The literature fails to adequately discuss adult motor learning from the standpoint of adult education. Instead, the subject is addressed by other disciplines. This review attempts to integrate perspectives across…

  13. Motor Learning and Movement Performance: Older versus Younger Adults

    PubMed Central

    Ehsani, Fatemeh; Abdollahi, Iraj; Mohseni Bandpei, Mohammad Ali; Zahiri, Nahid; Jaberzadeh, Shapour

    2015-01-01

    Introduction: Motor skills play an important role during life span, and older adults need to learn or relearn these skills. The purpose of this study was to investigate how aging affects induction of improved movement performance by motor training. Methods: Serial Reaction Time Test (SRTT) was used to assess movement performance during 8 blocks of motor training. Participants were tested in two separate dates, 48 hours apart. First session included 8 blocks of training (blocks 1–8) and second session comprised 2 blocks (blocks 9, 10). Results: Analyses of data showed that reaction times in both online and offline learning were significantly shorter in older adults compared to younger adults (P<0.001). Young adults demonstrated both online and offline learning (P<0.001), but older adults only showed online learning (P<0.001) without offline learning (P=0.24). Discussion: The result of the current study provides evidence that the healthy older adults are able to improve their performance with practice and learn motor skill successfully in the form of online learning. PMID:26649161

  14. Dissociation of Neural Networks for Predisposition and for Training-Related Plasticity in Auditory-Motor Learning.

    PubMed

    Herholz, Sibylle C; Coffey, Emily B J; Pantev, Christo; Zatorre, Robert J

    2016-07-01

    Skill learning results in changes to brain function, but at the same time individuals strongly differ in their abilities to learn specific skills. Using a 6-week piano-training protocol and pre- and post-fMRI of melody perception and imagery in adults, we dissociate learning-related patterns of neural activity from pre-training activity that predicts learning rates. Fronto-parietal and cerebellar areas related to storage of newly learned auditory-motor associations increased their response following training; in contrast, pre-training activity in areas related to stimulus encoding and motor control, including right auditory cortex, hippocampus, and caudate nuclei, was predictive of subsequent learning rate. We discuss the implications of these results for models of perceptual and of motor learning. These findings highlight the importance of considering individual predisposition in plasticity research and applications. PMID:26139842

  15. Graph network analysis of immediate motor-learning induced changes in resting state BOLD

    PubMed Central

    Sami, S.; Miall, R. C.

    2013-01-01

    Recent studies have demonstrated that following learning tasks, changes in the resting state activity of the brain shape regional connections in functionally specific circuits. Here we expand on these findings by comparing changes induced in the resting state immediately following four motor tasks. Two groups of participants performed a visuo-motor joystick task with one group adapting to a transformed relationship between joystick and cursor. Two other groups were trained in either explicit or implicit procedural sequence learning. Resting state BOLD data were collected immediately before and after the tasks. We then used graph theory-based approaches that include statistical measures of functional integration and segregation to characterize changes in biologically plausible brain connectivity networks within each group. Our results demonstrate that motor learning reorganizes resting brain networks with an increase in local information transfer, as indicated by local efficiency measures that affect the brain's small world network architecture. This was particularly apparent when comparing two distinct forms of explicit motor learning: procedural learning and the joystick learning task. Both groups showed notable increases in local efficiency. However, a change in local efficiency in the inferior frontal and cerebellar regions also distinguishes between the two learning tasks. Additional graph analytic measures on the “non-learning” visuo-motor performance task revealed reversed topological patterns in comparison with the three learning tasks. These findings underscore the utility of graph-based network analysis as a novel means to compare both regional and global changes in functional brain connectivity in the resting state following motor learning tasks. PMID:23720616

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26821314

  17. Cognitive-motor learning in Parkinson's disease.

    PubMed

    Haaland, K Y; Harrington, D L; O'Brien, S; Hermanowicz, N

    1997-04-01

    Procedural learning deficits are common in Parkinson's disease (PD), but contradictory results have been reported in rotary pursuit learning. This article compared rotary pursuit learning in 2 nondemented PD groups and 2 normal control (NC) groups, using a between-subjects group design in which 3 rotation speeds were presented either randomly or in blocks. The pattern of learning differed between the randomized and the blocked conditions in the NC, but not in the PD groups. Learning was impaired in the PD group in the random condition only. Memory, visuospatial, or executive skills were not associated with the PD group's poorer learning in the randomized context. Results show that procedural learning deficits are not universal with basal ganglia abnormalities but rather depend on the specific cognitive requirements of the learning context. PMID:9110325

  18. White Matter Microstructure Changes Induced by Motor Skill Learning Utilizing a Body Machine Interface

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Xue; Casadio, Maura; Weber, Kenneth A.; Mussa-Ivaldi, Ferdinando A.; Parrish, Todd B.

    2014-01-01

    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 2 days 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. PMID:24220038

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  20. Motor Learning and Consolidation: The Case of Visuomotor Rotation

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Adaptation to visuomotor rotation is a particular form of motor learning distinct from force-field adaptation, sequence learning, and skill learning. Nevertheless, study of adaptation to visuomotor rotation has yielded a number of findings and principles that are likely of general importance to procedural learning and memory. First, rotation learning is implicit and appears to proceed through reduction in a visual prediction error generated by a forward model, such implicit adaptation occurs even when it is in conflict with an explicit task goal. Second, rotation learning is subject to different forms of interference: retrograde, anterograde through aftereffects, and contextual blocking of retrieval. Third, opposite rotations can be recalled within a short time interval without interference if implicit contextual cues (effector change) rather than explicit cues (color change) are used. Fourth, rotation learning consolidates both over time and with increased initial training (saturation learning). PMID:19227512

  1. 5 Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation over the ipsilesional sensory cortex enhances motor learning after stroke

    PubMed Central

    Brodie, Sonia M.; Meehan, Sean; Borich, Michael R.; Boyd, Lara A.

    2014-01-01

    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 5 Hz rTMS + training group demonstrated significantly greater improvements in STT performance {response time [F(1, 286.04) = 13.016, p < 0.0005], peak velocity [F(1, 285.95) = 4.111, p = 0.044], and cumulative distance [F(1, 285.92) = 4.076, p = 0.044]} and cutaneous somatosensation [F(1, 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, 5 Hz 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. PMID:24711790

  2. Sleep and Motor Learning: Implications for Physical Rehabilitation After Stroke

    PubMed Central

    Gudberg, Christel; Johansen-Berg, Heidi

    2015-01-01

    Sleep is essential for healthy brain function and plasticity underlying learning and memory. In the context of physical impairment such as following a stroke, sleep may be particularly important for supporting critical recovery of motor function through similar processes of reorganization in the brain. Despite a link between stroke and poor sleep, current approaches to rehabilitative care often neglect the importance of sleep in clinical assessment and treatment. This review assimilates current evidence on the role of sleep in motor learning, with a focus on the implications for physical rehabilitation after stroke. We further outline practical considerations for integrating sleep assessment as a vital part of clinical care. PMID:26635718

  3. Selective impairments of motor sequence learning in multiple sclerosis patients with minimal disability.

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-17

    Patients with Multiple Sclerosis (PwMS) with severe sensorimotor and cognitive deficits show reduced ability in motor sequence learning. Conversely, in PwMS with minimal disability (EDSS≤2), showing only subtle neurological impairments and no particular deficits in everyday life activities, motor sequence learning has been poorly addressed. Here, we investigated whether PwMS with minimal disability already show a specific impairment in motor sequence learning and which component of this process can be first affected in MS. We implemented a serial reaction time task based on thumb-to-finger opposition movements in response to visual stimuli. Each session included 14 blocks of 120 stimuli presented randomly or in ten repetitions of a 12-item sequence. Random (R) and sequence (S) blocks were temporally alternated (R1, R2, S1/S5, R3, S6/S10, R4). Random blocks were designed to evaluate the motor component; sequence blocks, beside the motor component, allowed to discriminate the procedural performance. Twenty-two PwMS and 22 control healthy subjects were asked to perform the task under implicit or explicit instructions (11 subjects for each experimental condition). PwMS with minimal disability improved motor performance in random blocks reducing response time with practice with a trend similar to control subjects, suggesting that short-term learning of simple motor tasks is nearly preserved at this disease stage. Conversely, they found difficulties in sequence-specific learning in implicit and explicit condition, with more pronounced impairment in the implicit condition. These findings could suggest an involvement of different circuits in implicit and explicit sequence learning that could deteriorate at different disease stages. PMID:25148706

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

    PubMed Central

    Bloch, Ayala; Tamir, Dror; Vakil, Eli; Zeilig, Gabi

    2016-01-01

    Background 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. Objective 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. Methods 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. Results 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. Conclusions 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. PMID:27355834

  5. Rehabilitation and motor learning through vibrotactile feedback

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Panchanathan, Roshan; Rosenthal, Jacob; McDaniel, Troy

    2014-05-01

    Group instruction is the most common delivery method of motor skill training given its cost and time effectiveness. This is also the case during rehabilitation where therapists divide their attention among several patients. Compared to dedicated one-on-one instruction, group instruction often suffers from reduced quality and quantity of instruction and feedback. Further, during rehabilitation programs, patients struggle outside of therapy sessions given the lack of instruction and feedback found only during clinic visits. We propose a wearable, low-cost motion sensing and actuation system capable of providing real-time vibrotactile feedback for trainer-defined goal movements and repetitions. The trainer inputs movement goals for the user, and adapts these values (joint angles, movement speeds) over time for continued progress. In this paper, we present a novel second generation design, and introduce a flexible vibrotactile strip to overcome construction challenges of these types of systems. The flexible display is constructed using commercial LED strips that have been modified by attaching pancake style vibration motors. The flexible display does not require external microcontrollers to enable or disable motors, and may allow these systems to be expanded to the whole body. We also summarize two previous studies that have assessed appropriate body sites and pattern designs for vibrotactile motor instructions and feedback signals.

  6. Aspects of Motor Performance and Preacademic Learning.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Feder, Katya; Kerr, Robert

    1996-01-01

    The Miller Assessment for Preschoolers (MAP) and a number/counting test were given to 50 4- and 5-year-olds. Low performance on counting was related to significantly slower average response time, overshoot movement time, and reaction time, indicating perceptual-motor difficulty. Low MAP scores indicated difficulty processing visual spatial…

  7. Impact of Antipsychotic Treatment on Attention and Motor Learning Systems in First-Episode Schizophrenia

    PubMed Central

    Keedy, Sarah K.; Reilly, James L.; Bishop, Jeffrey R.; Weiden, Peter J.; Sweeney, John A.

    2015-01-01

    Background: Antipsychotic medications have established clinical benefit, but there are few neuroimaging studies before and after initiating antipsychotic medication to assess drug influence on brain circuitry. Attention and motor learning tasks are promising approaches for examining treatment-related changes in frontostriatal systems. Methods: Twenty-one unmedicated first-episode schizophrenia patients (14 antipsychotic-naïve) participated in functional imaging studies while performing visual attention (prosaccades) and motor learning tasks (predictive saccades). Posttreatment testing was completed in 14 patients after 4–6 weeks of antipsychotic treatment. Matched healthy controls were studied in parallel. Results: Pretreatment, patients had reduced activation in the dorsal neocortical visual attention network. Activation deficits were significantly reduced posttreatment. Higher medication dose was associated with greater caudate activation at follow-up. For the motor learning task, patients’ dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) was unimpaired prior to treatment but showed significantly reduced activation after treatment. Conclusion: Impairments in dorsal cortical attention networks are present in untreated first-episode schizophrenia patients. These impairments are reduced after antipsychotic treatment, suggesting a beneficial effect on neural systems for attention. Treatment-emergent decreases in DLPFC activation observed for the motor learning task are consistent with other clinical and preclinical evidence suggesting that antipsychotics can have adverse effects on prefrontal function. PMID:24894883

  8. Biphasic plasticity of dendritic fields in layer V motor neurons in response to motor learning.

    PubMed

    Gloor, C; Luft, A R; Hosp, J A

    2015-11-01

    Motor learning is associated with plastic reorganization of neural networks in primary motor cortex (M1) that advances through stages. An initial increment in spine formation is followed by pruning and maturation one week after training ended. A similar biphasic course was described for the size of the forelimb representation in M1. This study investigates the evolution of the dendritic architecture in response to motor skill training using Golgy-Cox silver impregnation in rat M1. After learning of a unilateral forelimb-reaching task to plateau performance, an increase in dendritic length of layer V pyramidal neurons (i.e. motor neurons) was observed that peaked one month after training ended. This increment in dendritic length reflected an expansion of the distal dendritic compartment. After one month dendritic arborization shrinks even though animals retain task performance. This pattern of evolution was observed for apical and basal dendrites alike - although the increase in dendritic length occurs faster in basal than in apical dendrites. Dendritic plasticity in response to motor training follows a biphasic course with initial expansion and subsequent shrinkage. This evolution takes fourth as long as the biphasic reorganization of spines or motor representations. PMID:26318492

  9. Practice and nap schedules modulate children's motor learning.

    PubMed

    Ren, Jie; Guo, Wei; Yan, Jin H; Liu, Guanmin; Jia, Fujun

    2016-01-01

    Night- or day-time sleep enhances motor skill acquisition. However, prominent issues remained about the circadian (time-of-day) and homeostatic (time since last sleep) effects of sleep on developmental motor learning. Therefore, we examined the effects of nap schedules and nap-test-intervals (NTIs) on the learning of finger tapping sequences on computer keyboards. Children aged 6-7, 8-9, and 10-11 years explicitly acquired the short and long tapping orders that share the same movement strings (4-2-3-1-4, 4-2-3-1-4-2-3-1-4). Following a constant 8- or 10-hr post-learning period in one of the four NTIs (2, 4, 5, 7 hr), children in the morning napping groups, the afternoon napping groups, or the waking group performed the original long sequence in retention test (4-2-3-1-4-2-3-1-4) and the mirrored-order sequence in transfer test (1-3-2-4-1-3-2-4-1). Age and treatment differences in the movement time (MT, ms) and sequence accuracy (SA, %) were compared during skill learning and in retrieval tests. Results suggest that practice or nap affects MT and SA in a greater extent for the younger learners than for the older learners. The circadian effects might not change nap-based skill learning. Importantly, the longer NTIs resulted in superior retention performance than the shorter ones, suggesting that children require a relatively longer post-nap period to form motor memory. Finally, nap-based motor learning was more marked in skill retention than in skill transfer. Brain development may play an important role in motor learning. Our discussion centers on memory consolidation and its relevance for skill acquisition from early to late childhood. PMID:26582507

  10. Meeting Learning Challenges: Working with Children Who Have Motor Difficulties

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Greenspan, Stanley I.

    2005-01-01

    Problems with large-motor coordination is motor planning and sequencing. This is the ability to carry out actions that require five or six steps. For example, many children can take off their coats, hang them in their cubbies, walk back to a table, sit at the table, and get ready for an activity. A child with coordination problems is likely to…

  11. INTERLABORATORY COMPARISON OF MOTOR ACTIVITY EXPERIMENTS: IMPLICATIONS FOR NEUROTOXICOLOGICAL ASSESSMENTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Motor activity is an important functional measure used in neurotoxicology the effects of chemicals on motor activity, however, may depend on variables such as, type of measurement apparatus, physical and environmental testing conditions, and many other experimental protocol and o...

  12. Motor Learning as Young Gymnast’s Talent Indicator

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    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 < 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. Key points In 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. PMID:25435768

  13. Motor imagery muscle contraction strength influences spinal motor neuron excitability and cardiac sympathetic nerve activity

    PubMed Central

    Bunno, Yoshibumi; Suzuki, Toshiaki; Iwatsuki, Hiroyasu

    2015-01-01

    [Purpose] The aim of this study was to investigate the changes in spinal motor neuron excitability and autonomic nervous system activity during motor imagery of isometric thenar muscle activity at 10% and 50% maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). [Methods] The F-waves and low frequency/high frequency (LF/HF) ratio were recorded at rest, during motor imagery, and post-trial. For motor imagery trials, subjects were instructed to imagine thenar muscle activity at 10% and 50% MVC while holding the sensor of a pinch meter for 5 min. [Results] The F-waves and LF/HF ratio during motor imagery at 50% MVC were significantly increased compared with those at rest, whereas those during motor imagery at 10% MVC were not significantly different from those at rest. The relative values of the F/M amplitude ratio during motor imagery at 50% MVC were significantly higher than those at 10% MVC. The relative values of persistence and the LF/HF ratio during motor imagery were similar during motor imagery at the two muscle contraction strengths. [Conclusion] Motor imagery can increase the spinal motor neuron excitability and cardiac sympathetic nerve activity. Motor imagery at 50% MVC may be more effective than motor imagery at 10% MVC. PMID:26834354

  14. No Association of the BDNF Val66met Polymorphism with Implicit Associative Vocabulary and Motor Learning

    PubMed Central

    Freundlieb, Nils; Philipp, Stephan; Schneider, Susanne A.; Brüggemann, Norbert; Klein, Christine; Gerloff, Christian; Hummel, Friedhelm C.

    2012-01-01

    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. PMID:23152767

  15. Striatal and Hippocampal Involvement in Motor Sequence Chunking Depends on the Learning Strategy

    PubMed Central

    Lungu, Ovidiu; Monchi, Oury; Albouy, Geneviève; Jubault, Thomas; Ballarin, Emanuelle; Burnod, Yves; Doyon, Julien

    2014-01-01

    Motor sequences can be learned using an incremental approach by starting with a few elements and then adding more as training evolves (e.g., learning a piano piece); conversely, one can use a global approach and practice the whole sequence in every training session (e.g., shifting gears in an automobile). Yet, the neural correlates associated with such learning strategies in motor sequence learning remain largely unexplored to date. Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure the cerebral activity of individuals executing the same 8-element sequence after they completed a 4-days training regimen (2 sessions each day) following either a global or incremental strategy. A network comprised of striatal and fronto-parietal regions was engaged significantly regardless of the learning strategy, whereas the global training regimen led to additional cerebellar and temporal lobe recruitment. Analysis of chunking/grouping of sequence elements revealed a common prefrontal network in both conditions during the chunk initiation phase, whereas execution of chunk cores led to higher mediotemporal activity (involving the hippocampus) after global than incremental training. The novelty of our results relate to the recruitment of mediotemporal regions conditional of the learning strategy. Thus, the present findings may have clinical implications suggesting that the ability of patients with lesions to the medial temporal lobe to learn and consolidate new motor sequences may benefit from using an incremental strategy. PMID:25148078

  16. Motor Learning in Childhood Reveals Distinct Mechanisms for Memory Retention and Re-Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Musselman, Kristin E.; Roemmich, Ryan T.; Garrett, Ben; Bastian, Amy J.

    2016-01-01

    Adults can easily learn and access multiple versions of the same motor skill adapted for different conditions (e.g., walking in water, sand, snow). Following even a single session of adaptation, adults exhibit clear day-to-day retention and faster re-learning of the adapted pattern. Here, we studied the retention and re-learning of an adapted…

  17. Motor Learning: The FoxP2 Puzzle Piece

    PubMed Central

    Teramitsu, Ikuko; White, Stephanie A.

    2009-01-01

    Mutation of the DNA-binding region of the FOXP2 protein causes an inherited language disorder. A recent study provides the first data on mice with this mutation, which exhibit deficits in motor-skill learning and abnormal properties of neural circuits that contribute to these skills. PMID:18430631

  18. Motor Skill Learning in Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bo, Jin; Lee, Chi-Mei

    2013-01-01

    Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) are characterized as having motor difficulties and learning impairment that may last well into adolescence and adulthood. Although behavioral deficits have been identified in many domains such as visuo-spatial processing, kinesthetic perception, and cross-modal sensory integration, recent…

  19. Qualitative and Quantitative Change in the Dynamics of Motor Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Liu, Yeou-Teh; Mayer-Kress, Gottfried; Newell, Karl M.

    2006-01-01

    The experiments examined qualitative and quantitative changes in the dynamics of learning a novel motor skill (roller ball task) as a function of the manipulation of a control parameter (initial ball speed). The focus was on the relation between the rates of change in performance over practice time and the changing time scales of the evolving…

  20. Motor learning of mice lacking cerebellar Purkinje cells.

    PubMed

    Porras-García, M Elena; Ruiz, Rocío; Pérez-Villegas, Eva M; Armengol, José Á

    2013-01-01

    The cerebellum plays a key role in the acquisition and execution of motor tasks whose physiological foundations were postulated on Purkinje cells' long-term depression (LTD). Numerous research efforts have been focused on understanding the cerebellum as a site of learning and/or memory storage. However, the controversy on which part of the cerebellum participates in motor learning, and how the process takes place, remains unsolved. In fact, it has been suggested that cerebellar cortex, deep cerebellar nuclei, and/or their combination with some brain structures other than the cerebellum are responsible for motor learning. Different experimental approaches have been used to tackle this question (cerebellar lesions, pharmacological agonist and/or antagonist of cerebellar neurotransmitters, virus tract tracings, etc.). One of these approaches is the study of spontaneous mutations affecting the cerebellar cortex and depriving it of its main input-output organizer (i.e., the Purkinje cell). In this review, we discuss the results obtained in our laboratory in motor learning of both Lurcher (Lc/+) and tambaleante (tbl/tbl) mice as models of Purkinje-cell-devoid cerebellum. PMID:23630472

  1. Motor learning of mice lacking cerebellar Purkinje cells

    PubMed Central

    Porras-García, M. Elena; Ruiz, Rocío; Pérez-Villegas, Eva M.; Armengol, José Á.

    2013-01-01

    The cerebellum plays a key role in the acquisition and execution of motor tasks whose physiological foundations were postulated on Purkinje cells' long-term depression (LTD). Numerous research efforts have been focused on understanding the cerebellum as a site of learning and/or memory storage. However, the controversy on which part of the cerebellum participates in motor learning, and how the process takes place, remains unsolved. In fact, it has been suggested that cerebellar cortex, deep cerebellar nuclei, and/or their combination with some brain structures other than the cerebellum are responsible for motor learning. Different experimental approaches have been used to tackle this question (cerebellar lesions, pharmacological agonist and/or antagonist of cerebellar neurotransmitters, virus tract tracings, etc.). One of these approaches is the study of spontaneous mutations affecting the cerebellar cortex and depriving it of its main input–output organizer (i.e., the Purkinje cell). In this review, we discuss the results obtained in our laboratory in motor learning of both Lurcher (Lc/+) and tambaleante (tbl/tbl) mice as models of Purkinje-cell-devoid cerebellum. PMID:23630472

  2. Thalamocortical Projections onto Behaviorally Relevant Neurons Exhibit Plasticity during Adult Motor Learning.

    PubMed

    Biane, Jeremy S; Takashima, Yoshio; Scanziani, Massimo; Conner, James M; Tuszynski, Mark H

    2016-03-16

    Layer 5 neurons of the neocortex receive direct and relatively strong input from the thalamus. However, the intralaminar distribution of these inputs and their capacity for plasticity in adult animals are largely unknown. In slices of the primary motor cortex (M1), we simultaneously recorded from pairs of corticospinal neurons associated with control of distinct motor outputs: distal forelimb versus proximal forelimb. Activation of ChR2-expressing thalamocortical afferents in M1 before motor learning produced equivalent responses in monosynaptic excitation of neurons controlling the distal and proximal forelimb, suggesting balanced thalamic input at baseline. Following skilled grasp training, however, thalamocortical input shifted to bias activation of corticospinal neurons associated with control of the distal forelimb. This increase was associated with a cell-specific increase in mEPSC amplitude but not presynaptic release probability. These findings demonstrate distinct and highly segregated plasticity of thalamocortical projections during adult learning. PMID:26948893

  3. Specialized Motor-Driven dusp1 Expression in the Song Systems of Multiple Lineages of Vocal Learning Birds

    PubMed Central

    Horita, Haruhito; Kobayashi, Masahiko; Liu, Wan-chun; Oka, Kotaro; Jarvis, Erich D.; Wada, Kazuhiro

    2012-01-01

    Mechanisms for the evolution of convergent behavioral traits are largely unknown. Vocal learning is one such trait that evolved multiple times and is necessary in humans for the acquisition of spoken language. Among birds, vocal learning is evolved in songbirds, parrots, and hummingbirds. Each time similar forebrain song nuclei specialized for vocal learning and production have evolved. This finding led to the hypothesis that the behavioral and neuroanatomical convergences for vocal learning could be associated with molecular convergence. We previously found that the neural activity-induced gene dual specificity phosphatase 1 (dusp1) was up-regulated in non-vocal circuits, specifically in sensory-input neurons of the thalamus and telencephalon; however, dusp1 was not up-regulated in higher order sensory neurons or motor circuits. Here we show that song motor nuclei are an exception to this pattern. The song nuclei of species from all known vocal learning avian lineages showed motor-driven up-regulation of dusp1 expression induced by singing. There was no detectable motor-driven dusp1 expression throughout the rest of the forebrain after non-vocal motor performance. This pattern contrasts with expression of the commonly studied activity-induced gene egr1, which shows motor-driven expression in song nuclei induced by singing, but also motor-driven expression in adjacent brain regions after non-vocal motor behaviors. In the vocal non-learning avian species, we found no detectable vocalizing-driven dusp1 expression in the forebrain. These findings suggest that independent evolutions of neural systems for vocal learning were accompanied by selection for specialized motor-driven expression of the dusp1 gene in those circuits. This specialized expression of dusp1 could potentially lead to differential regulation of dusp1-modulated molecular cascades in vocal learning circuits. PMID:22876306

  4. Proprioception in motor learning: lessons from a deafferented subject.

    PubMed

    Yousif, N; Cole, J; Rothwell, J; Diedrichsen, J

    2015-08-01

    Proprioceptive information arises from a variety of channels, including muscle, tendon, and skin afferents. It tells us where our static limbs are in space and how they are moving. It remains unclear however, how these proprioceptive modes contribute to motor learning. Here, we studied a subject (IW) who has lost large myelinated fibres below the neck and found that he was strongly impaired in sensing the static position of his upper limbs, when passively moved to an unseen location. When making reaching movements however, his ability to discriminate in which direction the trajectory had been diverted was unimpaired. This dissociation allowed us to test the involvement of static and dynamic proprioception in motor learning. We found that IW showed a preserved ability to adapt to force fields when visual feedback was present. He was even sensitive to the exact form of the force perturbation, responding appropriately to a velocity- or position-dependent force after a single perturbation. The ability to adapt to force fields was also preserved when visual feedback about the lateral perturbation of the hand was withdrawn. In this experiment, however, he did not exhibit a form of use-dependent learning, which was evident in the control participants as a drift of the intended direction of the reaching movement in the perturbed direction. This suggests that this form of learning may depend on static position sense at the end of the movement. Our results indicate that dynamic and static proprioception play dissociable roles in motor learning. PMID:25990821

  5. Speech and oral motor learning in individuals with cerebellar atrophy.

    PubMed

    Schulz, G M; Dingwall, W O; Ludlow, C L

    1999-10-01

    The purpose of this study was to determine whether cerebellar pathology interferes with motor learning for either speech or novel tasks. Practice effects were contrasted between persons with cerebellar cortical atrophy (CCA) and control participants on previously learned real speech, nonsense speech, and novel nonspeech oral-movement tasks. Studies of limb motor learning suggested that control participants would evidence reduced variability, increased speed of movement, and reduced movement amplitude with practice as compared with the CCA group. No significant differences were found between the real- and nonsense-speech tasks. For both speech tasks, although neither group reduced their movement variability with practice, both groups significantly reduced jaw closing displacement and velocity with practice. For the novel nonspeech oral-movement task, no change with practice was observed in either group in terms of variability, amplitude, or peak velocity. No effects of cerebellar pathology were seen in either the speech- or oral-movement tasks. These results demonstrated that with practice of speech tasks, a previously learned motor skill, movement speed and displacement decreased in both groups. Therefore, the effects of practice differed between previously learned speech tasks and the novel oral-movement task regardless of cerebellar pathology. PMID:10515513

  6. Learning to play a melody: an fMRI study examining the formation of auditory-motor associations.

    PubMed

    Chen, Joyce L; Rae, Charlotte; Watkins, Kate E

    2012-01-16

    Interactions between the auditory and motor systems are important for music and speech, and may be especially relevant when one learns to associate sounds with movements such as when learning to play a musical instrument. However, little is known about the neural substrates underlying auditory-motor learning. This study used fMRI to investigate the formation of auditory-motor associations while participants with no musical training learned to play a melody. Listening to melodies before and after training activated the superior temporal gyrus bilaterally, but neural activity in this region was significantly reduced on the right when participants listened to the trained melody. When playing melodies and random sequences, activity in the left dorsal premotor cortex (PMd) was reduced in the late compared to early phase of training; learning to play the melody was also associated with reduced neural activity in the left ventral premotor cortex (PMv). Participants with the highest performance scores for learning the melody showed more reduced neural activity in the left PMd and PMv. Learning to play a melody or random sequence involves acquiring conditional associations between key-presses and their corresponding musical pitches, and is related to activity in the PMd. Learning to play a melody additionally involves acquisition of a learned auditory-motor sequence and is related to activity in the PMv. Together, these findings demonstrate that auditory-motor learning is related to the reduction of neural activity in brain regions of the dorsal auditory action stream, which suggests increased efficiency in neural processing of a learned stimulus. PMID:21871571

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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 <1 min of accumulated stimulation. These learned changes were consolidated over >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.

  8. Development of a Portable Motor Learning Laboratory (PoMLab)

    PubMed Central

    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

  9. Development of a Portable Motor Learning Laboratory (PoMLab).

    PubMed

    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

  10. Evidence for biomechanics and motor learning research improving golf performance.

    PubMed

    Keogh, Justin W L; Hume, Patria A

    2012-06-01

    The aim of this review was to determine how the findings of biomechanics and motor control/learning research may be used to improve golf performance. To be eligible, the biomechanics and motor learning studies had to use direct (ball displacement and shot accuracy) or indirect (clubhead velocity and clubface angle) golf performance outcome measures. Biomechanical studies suggested that reducing the radius path of the hands during the downswing, increasing wrist torque and/or range of motion, delaying wrist motion to late in the downswing, increasing downswing amplitude, improving sequential acceleration of body parts, improving weight transfer, and utilising X-factor stretch and physical conditioning programmes can improve clubhead velocity. Motor learning studies suggested that golf performance improved more when golfers focused on swing outcome or clubhead movement rather than specific body movements. A distributed practice approach involving multiple sessions per week of blocked, errorless practice may be best for improving putting accuracy of novice golfers, although variable practice may be better for skilled golfers. Video, verbal, or a combination of video and verbal feedback can increase mid-short iron distance in novice to mid-handicap (hcp) golfers. Coaches should not only continue to critique swing technique but also consider how the focus, structure, and types of feedback for practice may alter learning for different groups of golfers. PMID:22900408

  11. Cerebellar plasticity and motor learning deficits in a copy-number variation mouse model of autism.

    PubMed

    Piochon, Claire; Kloth, Alexander D; Grasselli, Giorgio; Titley, Heather K; Nakayama, Hisako; Hashimoto, Kouichi; Wan, Vivian; Simmons, Dana H; Eissa, Tahra; Nakatani, Jin; Cherskov, Adriana; Miyazaki, Taisuke; Watanabe, Masahiko; Takumi, Toru; Kano, Masanobu; Wang, Samuel S-H; Hansel, Christian

    2014-01-01

    A common feature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the impairment of motor control and learning, occurring in a majority of children with autism, consistent with perturbation in cerebellar function. Here we report alterations in motor behaviour and cerebellar synaptic plasticity in a mouse model (patDp/+) for the human 15q11-13 duplication, one of the most frequently observed genetic aberrations in autism. These mice show ASD-resembling social behaviour deficits. We find that in patDp/+ mice delay eyeblink conditioning--a form of cerebellum-dependent motor learning--is impaired, and observe deregulation of a putative cellular mechanism for motor learning, long-term depression (LTD) at parallel fibre-Purkinje cell synapses. Moreover, developmental elimination of surplus climbing fibres--a model for activity-dependent synaptic pruning--is impaired. These findings point to deficits in synaptic plasticity and pruning as potential causes for motor problems and abnormal circuit development in autism. PMID:25418414

  12. Bihemispheric Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Enhances Effector-Independent Representations of Motor Synergy and Sequence Learning

    PubMed Central

    Husain, Masud; Wiestler, Tobias; Diedrichsen, Jörn

    2014-01-01

    Complex manual tasks—everything from buttoning up a shirt to playing the piano—fundamentally involve two components: (1) generating specific patterns of muscle activity (here, termed “synergies”); and (2) stringing these into purposeful sequences. Although transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the primary motor cortex (M1) has been found to increase the learning of motor sequences, it is unknown whether it can similarly facilitate motor synergy learning. Here, we determined the effects of tDCS on the learning of motor synergies using a novel hand configuration task that required the production of difficult muscular activation patterns. Bihemispheric tDCS was applied to M1 of healthy, right-handed human participants during 4 d of repetitive left-hand configuration training in a double-blind design. tDCS augmented synergy learning, leading subsequently to faster and more synchronized execution. This effect persisted for at least 4 weeks after training. Qualitatively similar tDCS-associated improvements occurred during training of finger sequences in a separate subject cohort. We additionally determined whether tDCS only improved the acquisition of motor memories for specific synergies/sequences or whether it also facilitated more general parts of the motor representations, which could be transferred to novel movements. Critically, we observed that tDCS effects generalized to untrained hand configurations and untrained finger sequences (i.e., were nonspecific), as well as to the untrained hand (i.e., were effector-independent). Hence, bihemispheric tDCS may be a promising adjunct to neurorehabilitative training regimes, in which broad transfer to everyday tasks is highly desirable. PMID:24431461

  13. Flexible Cognitive Strategies during Motor Learning

    PubMed Central

    Taylor, Jordan A.; Ivry, Richard B.

    2011-01-01

    Visuomotor rotation tasks have proven to be a powerful tool to study adaptation of the motor system. While adaptation in such tasks is seemingly automatic and incremental, participants may gain knowledge of the perturbation and invoke a compensatory strategy. When provided with an explicit strategy to counteract a rotation, participants are initially very accurate, even without on-line feedback. Surprisingly, with further testing, the angle of their reaching movements drifts in the direction of the strategy, producing an increase in endpoint errors. This drift is attributed to the gradual adaptation of an internal model that operates independently from the strategy, even at the cost of task accuracy. Here we identify constraints that influence this process, allowing us to explore models of the interaction between strategic and implicit changes during visuomotor adaptation. When the adaptation phase was extended, participants eventually modified their strategy to offset the rise in endpoint errors. Moreover, when we removed visual markers that provided external landmarks to support a strategy, the degree of drift was sharply attenuated. These effects are accounted for by a setpoint state-space model in which a strategy is flexibly adjusted to offset performance errors arising from the implicit adaptation of an internal model. More generally, these results suggest that strategic processes may operate in many studies of visuomotor adaptation, with participants arriving at a synergy between a strategic plan and the effects of sensorimotor adaptation. PMID:21390266

  14. Motor Behavior Activates Bergmann Glial Networks

    PubMed Central

    Nimmerjahn, Axel; Mukamel, Eran A.; Schnitzer, Mark J.

    2010-01-01

    SUMMARY Although it is firmly established neuronal activity is a prime determinant of animal behavior, relationships between astrocytic excitation and animal behavior have remained opaque. Cerebellar Bergmann glia are radial astrocytes that are implicated in motor behavior and exhibit Ca2+-excitation. However, Ca2+-excitation in these cells has not previously been studied in behaving animals. Using two-photon microscopy we found that Bergmann glia exhibit three forms of Ca2+-excitation in awake behaving mice. Two of these are ongoing within the cerebellar vermis. During locomotor performance concerted Ca2+-excitation arises in networks of at least hundreds of Bergmann glia extending across several hundred microns or more. Concerted Ca2+-excitation was abolished by anesthesia or blockade of either neural activity or glutamatergic transmission. Thus, large networks of Bergmann glia can be activated by specific animal behaviors and undergo excitation of sufficient magnitude to potentially initiate macroscopic changes in brain dynamics or blood flow. PMID:19447095

  15. The Integration of Environmental Education in Science Materials by Using "MOTORIC" Learning Model

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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.…

  16. Effects of Dispositional Mindfulness on the Self-Controlled Learning of a Novel Motor Task

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kee, Ying Hwa; Liu, Yeou-Teh

    2011-01-01

    Current literature suggests that mindful learning is beneficial to learning but its links with motor learning is seldom examined. In the present study, we examine the effects of learners' mindfulness disposition on the self-controlled learning of a novel motor task. Thirty-two participants undertook five practice sessions, in addition to a pre-,…

  17. Technology Learning Activities I.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    International Technology Education Association, Reston, VA.

    This guide contains 30 technology learning activities. Activities may contain all or some of the following: an introduction, objectives, materials and equipment, challenges, limitations, notes and investigations, resources and references used, and evaluation ideas. Activity titles are: (1) Occupations in Construction Technology; (2) Designing a…

  18. Impairment in motor learning of somatostatin null mutant mice.

    PubMed

    Zeyda, T; Diehl, N; Paylor, R; Brennan, M B; Hochgeschwender, U

    2001-07-01

    Somatostatin was first identified as a hypothalamic factor which inhibits the release of growth hormone from the anterior pituitary (somatotropin release inhibitory factor, SRIF). Both SRIF and its receptors were subsequently found widely distributed within and outside the nervous system, in the adult as well as in the developing organism. Reflecting this wide distribution, somatostatin has been implicated regulating a diverse array of biological processes. These include body growth, homeostasis, sensory perception, autonomous functions, rate of intestinal absorption, behavior, including cognition and memory, and developmental processes. We produced null mutant mice lacking somatostatin through targeted mutagenesis. The mutant mice are healthy, fertile, and superficially indistinguishable from their heterozygous and wildtype littermates. A 'first round' phenotype screen revealed that mice lacking somatostatin have elevated plasma growth hormone levels, despite normal body size, and have elevated basal plasma corticosterone levels. In order to uncover subtle and unexpected differences, we carried out a systematic behavioral phenotype screen which identified a significant impairment in motor learning revealed when increased demands were made on motor coordination. Motor coordination and motor learning require an intact cerebellum. While somatostatin is virtually absent from the adult cerebellum, the ligand and its receptor(s) are transiently expressed at high levels in the developing cerebellum. This result suggests the functional significance of transient expression of SRIF and its receptors in the development of the cerebellum. PMID:11430867

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

    PubMed Central

    Kleynen, Melanie; Braun, Susy M.; Rasquin, Sascha M. C.; Bleijlevens, Michel H. C.; Lexis, Monique A. S.; Halfens, Jos; Wilson, Mark R.; Masters, Rich S. W.; Beurskens, Anna J.

    2015-01-01

    Background 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. Methods 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. Results 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). Conclusion 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. PMID:26296203

  20. Synchrony and motor mimicking in chimpanzee observational learning.

    PubMed

    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

  1. Dopaminergic Meso-Cortical Projections to M1: Role in Motor Learning and Motor Cortex Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Hosp, Jonas A.; Luft, Andreas R.

    2013-01-01

    Although the architecture of a dopaminergic (DA) system within the primary motor cortex (M1) was well characterized anatomically, its functional significance remained obscure for a long time. Recent studies in rats revealed that the integrity of DA 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 M1 circuitry at multiple levels thereby promoting plastic changes that are required for information storage: at the network level, DA increases cortical excitability and enhances the stability of motor maps. At the cellular level, DA induces the expression of learning-related genes via the transcription factor c-Fos. At the level of synapses, DA is required for the formation of long-term potentiation, a mechanism that likely is a fingerprint of a motor memory trace within M1. DA fibers innervating 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 the meso-cortico-limbic pathway – a network that provides information about saliency and motivational value of an external stimulus and is commonly referred as “reward system.” However, the behavioral triggers of the release of dopamine in M1 are not yet identified. As alterations in DA transmission within M1 occur under various pathological conditions such as Parkinson disease or ischemic and traumatic brain injury, a deeper understanding of the interaction of VTA/SN and M1 may reveal a deeper insight into a large spectrum of neurological disorders. PMID:24109472

  2. PKC in motorneurons underlies self-learning, a form of motor learning in Drosophila

    PubMed Central

    Colomb, Julien

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:27168980

  3. PKC in motorneurons underlies self-learning, a form of motor learning in Drosophila.

    PubMed

    Colomb, Julien; Brembs, Björn

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:27168980

  4. Practice Schedule and the Learning of Motor Skills in Children and Adults: Teaching Implications

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zipp, Genevieve Pinto; Gentile, A. M.

    2010-01-01

    Understanding how motor skills are learned influences how one teaches effective motor skill attainment. Educators must ask, "Does repetitive practice of the same task make for better performance or does contextual variability (random practice) offer some benefit when learning motor skills?" Studies on the effects of Contextual Interference may…

  5. Fine Motor Activities Program to Promote Fine Motor Skills in a Case Study of Down's Syndrome.

    PubMed

    Lersilp, Suchitporn; Putthinoi, Supawadee; Panyo, Kewalin

    2016-01-01

    Children with Down's syndrome have developmental delays, particularly regarding cognitive and motor development. Fine motor skill problems are related to motor development. They have impact on occupational performances in school-age children with Down's syndrome because they relate to participation in school activities, such as grasping, writing, and carrying out self-care duties. This study aimed to develop a fine motor activities program and to examine the efficiency of the program that promoted fine motor skills in a case study of Down's syndrome. The case study subject was an 8 -year-old male called Kai, who had Down's syndrome. He was a first grader in a regular school that provided classrooms for students with special needs. This study used the fine motor activities program with assessment tools, which included 3 subtests of the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, second edition (BOT-2) that applied to Upper-limb coordination, Fine motor precision and Manual dexterity; as well as the In-hand Manipulation Checklist, and Jamar Hand Dynamometer Grip Test. The fine motor activities program was implemented separately and consisted of 3 sessions of 45 activities per week for 5 weeks, with each session taking 45 minutes. The results showed obvious improvement of fine motor skills, including bilateral hand coordination, hand prehension, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, and hand muscle strength. This positive result was an example of a fine motor intervention program designed and developed for therapists and related service providers in choosing activities that enhance fine motor skills in children with Down's syndrome. PMID:27357876

  6. How Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Can Modulate Implicit Motor Sequence Learning and Consolidation: A Brief Review.

    PubMed

    Savic, Branislav; Meier, Beat

    2016-01-01

    The purpose of this review is to investigate how transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can modulate implicit motor sequence learning and consolidation. So far, most of the studies have focused on the modulating effect of tDCS for explicit motor learning. Here, we focus explicitly on implicit motor sequence learning and consolidation in order to improve our understanding about the potential of tDCS to affect this kind of unconscious learning. Specifically, we concentrate on studies with the serial reaction time task (SRTT), the classical paradigm for measuring implicit motor sequence learning. The influence of tDCS has been investigated for the primary motor cortex, the premotor cortex, the prefrontal cortex, and the cerebellum. The results indicate that tDCS above the primary motor cortex gives raise to the most consistent modulating effects for both implicit motor sequence learning and consolidation. PMID:26903837

  7. How Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Can Modulate Implicit Motor Sequence Learning and Consolidation: A Brief Review

    PubMed Central

    Savic, Branislav; Meier, Beat

    2016-01-01

    The purpose of this review is to investigate how transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can modulate implicit motor sequence learning and consolidation. So far, most of the studies have focused on the modulating effect of tDCS for explicit motor learning. Here, we focus explicitly on implicit motor sequence learning and consolidation in order to improve our understanding about the potential of tDCS to affect this kind of unconscious learning. Specifically, we concentrate on studies with the serial reaction time task (SRTT), the classical paradigm for measuring implicit motor sequence learning. The influence of tDCS has been investigated for the primary motor cortex, the premotor cortex, the prefrontal cortex, and the cerebellum. The results indicate that tDCS above the primary motor cortex gives raise to the most consistent modulating effects for both implicit motor sequence learning and consolidation. PMID:26903837

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  9. Recruitment of rat diaphragm motor units across motor behaviors with different levels of diaphragm activation

    PubMed Central

    Seven, Yasin B.; Mantilla, Carlos B.

    2014-01-01

    Phrenic motor neurons are recruited across a range of motor behaviors to generate varying levels of diaphragm muscle (DIAm) force. We hypothesized that DIAm motor units are recruited in a fixed order across a range of motor behaviors of varying force levels, consistent with the Henneman Size Principle. Single motor unit action potentials and compound DIAm EMG activities were recorded in anesthetized, neurally intact rats across different motor behaviors, i.e., eupnea, hypoxia-hypercapnia (10% O2 and 5% CO2), deep breaths, sustained airway occlusion, and sneezing. Central drive [estimated by root-mean-squared (RMS) EMG value 75 ms after the onset of EMG activity (RMS75)], recruitment delay, and onset discharge frequencies were similar during eupnea and hypoxia-hypercapnia. Compared with eupnea, central drive increased (∼25%) during deep breaths, and motor units were recruited ∼12 ms earlier (P < 0.01). During airway occlusion, central drive was ∼3 times greater, motor units were recruited ∼30 ms earlier (P < 0.01), and motor unit onset discharge frequencies were significantly higher (P < 0.01). Recruitment order of motor unit pairs observed during eupnea was maintained for 98%, 87%, and 84% of the same pairs recorded during hypoxia-hypercapnia, deep breaths, and airway occlusion, respectively. Reversals in motor unit recruitment order were observed primarily if motor unit pairs were recruited <20 ms apart. These results are consistent with DIAm motor unit recruitment order being determined primarily by the intrinsic size-dependent electrophysiological properties of phrenic motor neurons. PMID:25257864

  10. Neural Correlates of Motor Learning, Transfer of Learning, and Learning to Learn

    PubMed Central

    Seidler, Rachael D.

    2009-01-01

    Recent studies on the neural bases of sensorimotor adaptation demonstrate that the cerebellar and striatal thalamocortical pathways contribute to early learning. Transfer of learning involves a reduction in the contribution of early learning networks, and increased reliance on the cerebellum. The neural correlates of learning to learn remain to be determined, but likely involve enhanced functioning of general aspects of early learning. PMID:20016293

  11. Simultaneous Brain–Cervical Cord fMRI Reveals Intrinsic Spinal Cord Plasticity during Motor Sequence Learning

    PubMed Central

    Cohen-Adad, Julien; Marchand-Pauvert, Veronique; Benali, Habib; Doyon, Julien

    2015-01-01

    The spinal cord participates in the execution of skilled movements by translating high-level cerebral motor representations into musculotopic commands. Yet, the extent to which motor skill acquisition relies on intrinsic spinal cord processes remains unknown. To date, attempts to address this question were limited by difficulties in separating spinal local effects from supraspinal influences through traditional electrophysiological and neuroimaging methods. Here, for the first time, we provide evidence for local learning-induced plasticity in intact human spinal cord through simultaneous functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and spinal cord during motor sequence learning. Specifically, we show learning-related modulation of activity in the C6–C8 spinal region, which is independent from that of related supraspinal sensorimotor structures. Moreover, a brain–spinal cord functional connectivity analysis demonstrates that the initial linear relationship between the spinal cord and sensorimotor cortex gradually fades away over the course of motor sequence learning, while the connectivity between spinal activity and cerebellum gains strength. These data suggest that the spinal cord not only constitutes an active functional component of the human motor learning network but also contributes distinctively from the brain to the learning process. The present findings open new avenues for rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injuries, as they demonstrate that this part of the central nervous system is much more plastic than assumed before. Yet, the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying this intrinsic functional plasticity in the spinal cord warrant further investigations. PMID:26125597

  12. Auditory feedback in error-based learning of motor regularity.

    PubMed

    van Vugt, Floris T; Tillmann, Barbara

    2015-05-01

    Music and speech are skills that require high temporal precision of motor output. A key question is how humans achieve this timing precision given the poor temporal resolution of somatosensory feedback, which is classically considered to drive motor learning. We hypothesise that auditory feedback critically contributes to learn timing, and that, similarly to visuo-spatial learning models, learning proceeds by correcting a proportion of perceived timing errors. Thirty-six participants learned to tap a sequence regularly in time. For participants in the synchronous-sound group, a tone was presented simultaneously with every keystroke. For the jittered-sound group, the tone was presented after a random delay of 10-190 ms following the keystroke, thus degrading the temporal information that the sound provided about the movement. For the mute group, no keystroke-triggered sound was presented. In line with the model predictions, participants in the synchronous-sound group were able to improve tapping regularity, whereas the jittered-sound and mute group were not. The improved tapping regularity of the synchronous-sound group also transferred to a novel sequence and was maintained when sound was subsequently removed. The present findings provide evidence that humans engage in auditory feedback error-based learning to improve movement quality (here reduce variability in sequence tapping). We thus elucidate the mechanism by which high temporal precision of movement can be achieved through sound in a way that may not be possible with less temporally precise somatosensory modalities. Furthermore, the finding that sound-supported learning generalises to novel sequences suggests potential rehabilitation applications. PMID:25721795

  13. Neural activation in cognitive motor processes: comparing motor imagery and observation of gymnastic movements.

    PubMed

    Munzert, Jörn; Zentgraf, Karen; Stark, Rudolf; Vaitl, Dieter

    2008-07-01

    The simulation concept suggested by Jeannerod (Neuroimage 14:S103-S109, 2001) defines the S-states of action observation and mental simulation of action as action-related mental states lacking overt execution. Within this framework, similarities and neural overlap between S-states and overt execution are interpreted as providing the common basis for the motor representations implemented within the motor system. The present brain imaging study compared activation overlap and differential activation during mental simulation (motor imagery) with that while observing gymnastic movements. The fMRI conjunction analysis revealed overlapping activation for both S-states in primary motor cortex, premotor cortex, and the supplementary motor area as well as in the intraparietal sulcus, cerebellar hemispheres, and parts of the basal ganglia. A direct contrast between the motor imagery and observation conditions revealed stronger activation for imagery in the posterior insula and the anterior cingulate gyrus. The hippocampus, the superior parietal lobe, and the cerebellar areas were differentially activated in the observation condition. In general, these data corroborate the concept of action-related S-states because of the high overlap in core motor as well as in motor-related areas. We argue that differential activity between S-states relates to task-specific and modal information processing. PMID:18425505

  14. Probing the allocation of attention in implicit (motor) learning.

    PubMed

    Lam, W K; Maxwell, J P; Masters, R S W

    2010-12-01

    We investigated the attention demands associated with implicit and explicit (motor) learning and performance using a probe reaction time paradigm. Two groups of participants learned a golf putting task over eight blocks of 50 trials performed from different distances. One group (errorless learning) began putting from the shortest distance (25 cm) and moved progressively back to the furthest distance (200 cm). A second group (errorful learning) began putting from the furthest distance (200 cm) and moved progressively closer (25 cm). Retention tests were used to assess learning in the two conditions, followed by transfer tests in which participants used either an unusual putter or a very unusual putter. Transfer to the unusual putters had an equivalent effect on the performance of both errorless and errorful learners, but probe reaction times were unaffected in the errorless learners, suggesting that execution of their movements was associated with reduced attention demands. Reducing errors during initial learning trials may encourage an implicit mode of learning and lower the demand for cognitive resources in subsequent performance. PMID:21049315

  15. Learning Motor Synergies Makes Use of Information on Muscular Load

    PubMed Central

    Fernández-Ruiz, Juan; Hall-Haro, Cynthia; Díaz, Rosalinda; Mischner, Jacqueline; Vergara, Patricia; Lopez-Garcia, Juan Carlos

    2000-01-01

    Prism adaptation, a form of procedural learning, requires the integration of visual and motor information for its proper acquisition. Although the role of the visual feedback has begun to be understood, the nature of the motor information necessary for the development of the adaptation remains unknown. In this work we have tested the idea that modifying the arm load at different stages of the adaptation process, and the ensuing change of motor information perceived by the subjects, would modify the final properties of the adaptation. We trained a set of subjects to throw balls to a target while wearing prism glasses and varied the weight of their arms at different time points during the task. We observed that the acquisition of the adaptation was not affected by the change in load. However, its persistence (i.e., the aftereffect) was reduced when tested under a weight condition different from the training trials. Furthermore, when the training weight conditions were restored later during testing, a second, late aftereffect was unmasked, suggesting that the missing aftereffect did not disappear but had remained latent. Our results show that the internal representation of a motor memory incorporates information about load conditions and that the memory stored under a specific weight condition can be fully retrieved only when the original training condition is restored. PMID:10940319

  16. Space Shuttle Reusable Solid Rocket Motor Program Overview and Lessons Learned

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Graves, Stan R.; McCool, Alex (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    An overview of the Space Shuttle Reusable Solid Rocket Motor (RSRM) program is provided with a summary of lessons learned since the first test firing in 1977. Fifteen different lessons learned are discussed that fundamentally changed the motor's design, processing, and RSRM program risk management systems. The evolution of the rocket motor design is presented including the baseline or High Performance Solid Rocket Motor (HPM), the Filament Wound Case (FWC), the RSRM, and the proposed Five-Segment Booster (FSB).

  17. Dissociation between the Procedural Learning of Letter Names and Motor Sequences in Developmental Dyslexia

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gabay, Yafit; Schiff, Rachel; Vakil, Eli

    2012-01-01

    Motor sequence learning has been studied extensively in Developmental dyslexia (DD). The purpose of the present research was to examine procedural learning of letter names and motor sequences in individuals with DD and control groups. Both groups completed the Serial Search Task which enabled the assessment of learning of letter names and motor…

  18. Motor Cortex Activity During Functional Motor Skills: An fNIRS Study.

    PubMed

    Nishiyori, Ryota; Bisconti, Silvia; Ulrich, Beverly

    2016-01-01

    Assessments of brain activity during motor task performance have been limited to fine motor movements due to technological constraints presented by traditional neuroimaging techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) offers a promising method by which to overcome these constraints and investigate motor performance of functional motor tasks. The current study used fNIRS to quantify hemodynamic responses within the primary motor cortex in twelve healthy adults as they performed unimanual right, unimanual left, and bimanual reaching, and stepping in place. Results revealed that during both unimanual reaching tasks, the contralateral hemisphere showed significant activation in channels located approximately 3 cm medial to the C3 (for right-hand reach) and C4 (for left-hand reach) landmarks. Bimanual reaching and stepping showed activation in similar channels, which were located bilaterally across the primary motor cortex. The medial channels, surrounding Cz, showed significantly higher activations during stepping when compared to bimanual reaching. Our results extend the viability of fNIRS to study motor function and build a foundation for future investigation of motor development in infants during nascent functional behaviors and monitor how they may change with age or practice. PMID:26243304

  19. Improved discriminability of spatiotemporal neural patterns in rat motor cortical areas as directional choice learning progresses

    PubMed Central

    Mao, Hongwei; Yuan, Yuan; Si, Jennie

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25798093

  20. Optimism in Active Learning

    PubMed Central

    Collet, Timothé; Pietquin, Olivier

    2015-01-01

    Active learning is the problem of interactively constructing the training set used in classification in order to reduce its size. It would ideally successively add the instance-label pair that decreases the classification error most. However, the effect of the addition of a pair is not known in advance. It can still be estimated with the pairs already in the training set. The online minimization of the classification error involves a tradeoff between exploration and exploitation. This is a common problem in machine learning for which multiarmed bandit, using the approach of Optimism int the Face of Uncertainty, has proven very efficient these last years. This paper introduces three algorithms for the active learning problem in classification using Optimism in the Face of Uncertainty. Experiments lead on built-in problems and real world datasets demonstrate that they compare positively to state-of-the-art methods. PMID:26681934

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:22353425

  2. Rapid production of new oligodendrocytes is required in the earliest stages of motor-skill learning.

    PubMed

    Xiao, Lin; Ohayon, David; McKenzie, Ian A; Sinclair-Wilson, Alexander; Wright, Jordan L; Fudge, Alexander D; Emery, Ben; Li, Huiliang; Richardson, William D

    2016-09-01

    We identified mRNA encoding the ecto-enzyme Enpp6 as a marker of newly forming oligodendrocytes, and used Enpp6 in situ hybridization to track oligodendrocyte differentiation in adult mice as they learned a motor skill (running on a wheel with unevenly spaced rungs). Within just 2.5 h of exposure to the complex wheel, production of Enpp6-expressing immature oligodendrocytes was accelerated in subcortical white matter; within 4 h, it was accelerated in motor cortex. Conditional deletion of myelin regulatory factor (Myrf) in oligodendrocyte precursors blocked formation of new Enpp6(+) oligodendrocytes and impaired learning within the same ∼2-3 h time frame. This very early requirement for oligodendrocytes suggests a direct and active role in learning, closely linked to synaptic strengthening. Running performance of normal mice continued to improve over the following week accompanied by secondary waves of oligodendrocyte precursor proliferation and differentiation. We concluded that new oligodendrocytes contribute to both early and late stages of motor skill learning. PMID:27455109

  3. From Spontaneous Motor Activity to Coordinated Behaviour: A Developmental Model

    PubMed Central

    Marques, Hugo Gravato; Bharadwaj, Arjun; Iida, Fumiya

    2014-01-01

    In mammals, the developmental path that links the primary behaviours observed during foetal stages to the full fledged behaviours observed in adults is still beyond our understanding. Often theories of motor control try to deal with the process of incremental learning in an abstract and modular way without establishing any correspondence with the mammalian developmental stages. In this paper, we propose a computational model that links three distinct behaviours which appear at three different stages of development. In order of appearance, these behaviours are: spontaneous motor activity (SMA), reflexes, and coordinated behaviours, such as locomotion. The goal of our model is to address in silico four hypotheses that are currently hard to verify in vivo: First, the hypothesis that spinal reflex circuits can be self-organized from the sensor and motor activity induced by SMA. Second, the hypothesis that supraspinal systems can modulate reflex circuits to achieve coordinated behaviour. Third, the hypothesis that, since SMA is observed in an organism throughout its entire lifetime, it provides a mechanism suitable to maintain the reflex circuits aligned with the musculoskeletal system, and thus adapt to changes in body morphology. And fourth, the hypothesis that by changing the modulation of the reflex circuits over time, one can switch between different coordinated behaviours. Our model is tested in a simulated musculoskeletal leg actuated by six muscles arranged in a number of different ways. Hopping is used as a case study of coordinated behaviour. Our results show that reflex circuits can be self-organized from SMA, and that, once these circuits are in place, they can be modulated to achieve coordinated behaviour. In addition, our results show that our model can naturally adapt to different morphological changes and perform behavioural transitions. PMID:25057775

  4. Creative Activity and Learning.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cunningham, Flora E.

    1979-01-01

    This article compares three theories of the creative process taken from aesthetic philosophy: aesthetic enjoyment (D. W. Gotshalk), aesthetic experience (John Dewey), and aesthetic knowledge (Susanne Langer). Each shows different versions of the learning that accrues from creative activity. From this, curriculum planning and teaching suggestions…

  5. Neural correlates of the age-related changes in motor sequence learning and motor adaptation in older adults

    PubMed Central

    King, Bradley R.; Fogel, Stuart M.; Albouy, Geneviève; Doyon, Julien

    2013-01-01

    As the world's population ages, a deeper understanding of the relationship between aging and motor learning will become increasingly relevant in basic research and applied settings. In this context, this review aims to address the effects of age on motor sequence learning (MSL) and motor adaptation (MA) with respect to behavioral, neurological, and neuroimaging findings. Previous behavioral research investigating the influence of aging on motor learning has consistently reported the following results. First, the initial acquisition of motor sequences is not altered, except under conditions of increased task complexity. Second, older adults demonstrate deficits in motor sequence memory consolidation. And, third, although older adults demonstrate deficits during the exposure phase of MA paradigms, the aftereffects following removal of the sensorimotor perturbation are similar to young adults, suggesting that the adaptive ability of older adults is relatively intact. This paper will review the potential neural underpinnings of these behavioral results, with a particular emphasis on the influence of age-related dysfunctions in the cortico-striatal system on motor learning. PMID:23616757

  6. Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor Program - Lessons learned

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mccool, A. A.; Ray, W. L.

    1991-01-01

    An evaluation is given of the most important lessons learned concerning the Space Shuttle's Solid Rocket Motors with respect to flight safety, reuse requirements, system reliability, structural integrity, and hardware damage due to reentry, water impact, and retrieval. Within the major categories of flight safety, performance, and reuse/cost, priorities are identified for implementation of envisioned improvements; schedule and cost considerations are noted to have been substantially downgraded in favor of flight safety. The consequences of the primacy of flight safety are discussed in the areas of primary systems design, redundant systems, manufacturing and assembly processing, and launch constraints.

  7. AUTOMOTIVE DIESEL MAINTENANCE 2. UNIT XIX, LEARNING ABOUT CRANKING MOTORS.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Human Engineering Inst., Cleveland, OH.

    THIS MODULE OF A 25-MODULE COURSE IS DESIGNED TO DEVELOP AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE OPERATING PRINCIPLES OF CRANKING MOTORS USED ON DIESEL POWERED EQUIPMENT, TOPICS ARE (1) CRANKING MOTORS. (2) MOTOR PINCIPLES, (3) CRANKING MOTOR CIRCUITS, (4) TYPES OF CRANKING MOTOR DRIVES, AND (5) CRANKING MOTOR SOLENOID CIRCUITS. THE MODULE CONSISTS OF A…

  8. Marginally perceptible outcome feedback, motor learning and implicit processes.

    PubMed

    Masters, Rich S W; Maxwell, Jon P; Eves, Frank F

    2009-09-01

    Participants struck 500 golf balls to a concealed target. Outcome feedback was presented at the subjective or objective threshold of awareness of each participant or at a supraliminal threshold. Participants who received fully perceptible (supraliminal) feedback learned to strike the ball onto the target, as did participants who received feedback that was only marginally perceptible (subjective threshold). Participants who received feedback that was not perceptible (objective threshold) showed no learning. Upon transfer to a condition in which the target was unconcealed, performance increased in both the subjective and the objective threshold condition, but decreased in the supraliminal condition. In all three conditions, participants reported minimal declarative knowledge of their movements, suggesting that deliberate hypothesis testing about how best to move in order to perform the motor task successfully was disrupted by the impoverished disposition of the visual outcome feedback. It was concluded that sub-optimally perceptible visual feedback evokes implicit processes. PMID:19375946

  9. Motor imagery of hand actions: Decoding the content of motor imagery from brain activity in frontal and parietal motor areas.

    PubMed

    Pilgramm, Sebastian; de Haas, Benjamin; Helm, Fabian; Zentgraf, Karen; Stark, Rudolf; Munzert, Jörn; Krüger, Britta

    2016-01-01

    How motor maps are organized while imagining actions is an intensely debated issue. It is particularly unclear whether motor imagery relies on action-specific representations in premotor and posterior parietal cortices. This study tackled this issue by attempting to decode the content of motor imagery from spatial patterns of Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) signals recorded in the frontoparietal motor imagery network. During fMRI-scanning, 20 right-handed volunteers worked on three experimental conditions and one baseline condition. In the experimental conditions, they had to imagine three different types of right-hand actions: an aiming movement, an extension-flexion movement, and a squeezing movement. The identity of imagined actions was decoded from the spatial patterns of BOLD signals they evoked in premotor and posterior parietal cortices using multivoxel pattern analysis. Results showed that the content of motor imagery (i.e., the action type) could be decoded significantly above chance level from the spatial patterns of BOLD signals in both frontal (PMC, M1) and parietal areas (SPL, IPL, IPS). An exploratory searchlight analysis revealed significant clusters motor- and motor-associated cortices, as well as in visual cortices. Hence, the data provide evidence that patterns of activity within premotor and posterior parietal cortex vary systematically with the specific type of hand action being imagined. PMID:26452176

  10. Motor learning in childhood reveals distinct mechanisms for memory retention and re-learning.

    PubMed

    Musselman, Kristin E; Roemmich, Ryan T; Garrett, Ben; Bastian, Amy J

    2016-05-01

    Adults can easily learn and access multiple versions of the same motor skill adapted for different conditions (e.g., walking in water, sand, snow). Following even a single session of adaptation, adults exhibit clear day-to-day retention and faster re-learning of the adapted pattern. Here, we studied the retention and re-learning of an adapted walking pattern in children aged 6-17 yr. We found that all children, regardless of age, showed adult-like patterns of retention of the adapted walking pattern. In contrast, children under 12 yr of age did not re-learn faster on the next day after washout had occurred-they behaved as if they had never adapted their walking before. Re-learning could be improved in younger children when the adaptation time on day 1 was increased to allow more practice at the plateau of the adapted pattern, but never to adult-like levels. These results show that the ability to store a separate, adapted version of the same general motor pattern does not fully develop until adolescence, and furthermore, that the mechanisms underlying the retention and rapid re-learning of adapted motor patterns are distinct. PMID:27084930

  11. Motor-response learning at a process control panel by an autonomous robot

    SciTech Connect

    Spelt, P.F.; de Saussure, G.; Lyness, E.; Pin, F.G.; Weisbin, C.R.

    1988-01-01

    The Center for Engineering Systems Advanced Research (CESAR) was founded at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) by the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Research/Division of Engineering and Geoscience (DOE-OER/DEG) to conduct basic research in the area of intelligent machines. Therefore, researchers at the CESAR Laboratory are engaged in a variety of research activities in the field of machine learning. In this paper, we describe our approach to a class of machine learning which involves motor response acquisition using feedback from trial-and-error learning. Our formulation is being experimentally validated using an autonomous robot, learning tasks of control panel monitoring and manipulation for effect process control. The CLIPS Expert System and the associated knowledge base used by the robot in the learning process, which reside in a hypercube computer aboard the robot, are described in detail. Benchmark testing of the learning process on a robot/control panel simulation system consisting of two intercommunicating computers is presented, along with results of sample problems used to train and test the expert system. These data illustrate machine learning and the resulting performance improvement in the robot for problems similar to, but not identical with, those on which the robot was trained. Conclusions are drawn concerning the learning problems, and implications for future work on machine learning for autonomous robots are discussed. 16 refs., 4 figs., 1 tab.

  12. Motor Learning Research: Applications and Directions for Elementary Music Teaching and Learning.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Turner, Mark

    1998-01-01

    Explores the literature from physical education psychomotor research in order to answer questions concerning elementary music psychomotor skills acquisition and retention by focusing on four aspects of motor-learning theories: (1) knowledge of results; (2) contextual interference; (3) cognitive strategies; and (4) modeling. (CMK)

  13. Design, Synthesis, and Monitoring of Light-Activated Motorized Nanomachines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chiang, Pinn-Tsong

    Our group has developed a family of single molecules termed nanocars, which are aimed at performing controllable motion on surfaces. In this work, a series of light-activated motorized nanomachines incorporated with a MHz frequency light-activated unidirectional rotary motor were designed and synthesized. We hope the light-activated motor can serve as the powering unit for the nanomachines, and perform controllable translational motion on surfaces or in solution. A series of motorized nanovehicles intended for scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) imaging were designed and synthesized. A p-carborane-wheeled motorized nanocar was synthesized and monitored by STM. Single-molecule imaging was accomplished on a Cu(111) surface. However, further manipulations did lead to motor induced lateral motion. We attributed this result to the strong molecule-surface interactions between the p-carborane-wheeled nanocar and the Cu(111) surface and possible energy transfer between the rotary motor and the Cu(111) surface. To fine-tune the molecule-surface interactions, an adamantane-wheeled motorized nanocar and a three-wheel nanoroadster were designed and synthesized. In addition, the STM substrates will be varied and different combinations of molecule-surface interactions will be studied. As a complimentary imaging method to STM, single-molecule fluorescence microscopy (SMFM) also provides single-molecule level resolution. Unlike STM experiment requires ultra-high vacuum and conductive substrate, SMFM experiment is conducted at ambient conditions and uses non-conductive substrate. This imaging method allows us to study another category of molecule-surface interactions. We plan to design a fluorescent motorized nanocar that is suitable for SMFM studies. However, both the motor and fluorophore are photochemically active molecules. In proximity, some undesired energy transfer or interference could occur. A cyanine 5- (cy5-) tagged motorized nanocar incorporated with the MHz motor was

  14. A structural pathway for activation of the kinesin motor ATPase

    PubMed Central

    Yun, Mikyung; Zhang, Xiaohua; Park, Cheon-Gil; Park, Hee-Won; Endow, Sharyn A.

    2001-01-01

    Molecular motors move along actin or microtubules by rapidly hydrolyzing ATP and undergoing changes in filament-binding affinity with steps of the nucleotide hydrolysis cycle. It is generally accepted that motor binding to its filament greatly increases the rate of ATP hydrolysis, but the structural changes in the motor associated with ATPase activation are not known. To identify the conformational changes underlying motor movement on its filament, we solved the crystal structures of three kinesin mutants that decouple nucleotide and microtubule binding by the motor, and block microtubule-activated, but not basal, ATPase activity. Conformational changes in the structures include a disordered loop and helices in the switch I region and a visible switch II loop, which is disordered in wild-type structures. Switch I moved closer to the bound nucleotide in two mutant structures, perturbing water-mediated interactions with the Mg2+. This could weaken Mg2+ binding and accelerate ADP release to activate the motor ATPase. The structural changes we observe define a signaling pathway within the motor for ATPase activation that is likely to be essential for motor movement on microtubules. PMID:11387196

  15. The Binding of Learning to Action in Motor Adaptation

    PubMed Central

    Gonzalez Castro, Luis Nicolas; Monsen, Craig Bryant; Smith, Maurice A.

    2011-01-01

    In motor tasks, errors between planned and actual movements generally result in adaptive changes which reduce the occurrence of similar errors in the future. It has commonly been assumed that the motor adaptation arising from an error occurring on a particular movement is specifically associated with the motion that was planned. Here we show that this is not the case. Instead, we demonstrate the binding of the adaptation arising from an error on a particular trial to the motion experienced on that same trial. The formation of this association means that future movements planned to resemble the motion experienced on a given trial benefit maximally from the adaptation arising from it. This reflects the idea that actual rather than planned motions are assigned ‘credit’ for motor errors because, in a computational sense, the maximal adaptive response would be associated with the condition credited with the error. We studied this process by examining the patterns of generalization associated with motor adaptation to novel dynamic environments during reaching arm movements in humans. We found that these patterns consistently matched those predicted by adaptation associated with the actual rather than the planned motion, with maximal generalization observed where actual motions were clustered. We followed up these findings by showing that a novel training procedure designed to leverage this newfound understanding of the binding of learning to action, can improve adaptation rates by greater than 50%. Our results provide a mechanistic framework for understanding the effects of partial assistance and error augmentation during neurologic rehabilitation, and they suggest ways to optimize their use. PMID:21731476

  16. Dynamic reorganization of neural activity in motor cortex during new sequence production.

    PubMed

    Lu, Xiaofeng; Ashe, James

    2015-09-01

    Although previous studies have shown that primary motor cortex (M1) neurons are modulated during the performance of a sequence of movements, it is not known how this neural activity in the M1 reorganizes during new learning of sequence-dependent motor skills. Here we trained monkeys to move to each of four spatial targets to produce multiple distinct sequences of movements in which the spatial organization of the targets determined uniquely the serial order of the movements. After the monkeys memorized the sequences, we changed one element of these over-practised sequences and the subjects were required to learn the new sequence through trial and error. When one element in an over-learned four-element sequence was changed, the sequence-specific neural activity was totally disrupted, but relatively minor changes in the direction-specific activity were observed. The data suggest that sequential motor skills are represented within M1 in the context of the complete sequential behavior rather than as a series of single consecutive movements; and sequence-specific neurons in the M1 are involved in new learning of sequence by using memorized knowledge to acquire complex motor skill efficiently. PMID:26202600

  17. Neural model for learning-to-learn of novel task sets in the motor domain

    PubMed Central

    Pitti, Alexandre; Braud, Raphaël; Mahé, Sylvain; Quoy, Mathias; Gaussier, Philippe

    2013-01-01

    During development, infants learn to differentiate their motor behaviors relative to various contexts by exploring and identifying the correct structures of causes and effects that they can perform; these structures of actions are called task sets or internal models. The ability to detect the structure of new actions, to learn them and to select on the fly the proper one given the current task set is one great leap in infants cognition. This behavior is an important component of the child's ability of learning-to-learn, a mechanism akin to the one of intrinsic motivation that is argued to drive cognitive development. Accordingly, we propose to model a dual system based on (1) the learning of new task sets and on (2) their evaluation relative to their uncertainty and prediction error. The architecture is designed as a two-level-based neural system for context-dependent behavior (the first system) and task exploration and exploitation (the second system). In our model, the task sets are learned separately by reinforcement learning in the first network after their evaluation and selection in the second one. We perform two different experimental setups to show the sensorimotor mapping and switching between tasks, a first one in a neural simulation for modeling cognitive tasks and a second one with an arm-robot for motor task learning and switching. We show that the interplay of several intrinsic mechanisms drive the rapid formation of the neural populations with respect to novel task sets. PMID:24155736

  18. The Relationship between Gross Motor Skills and Academic Achievement in Children with Learning Disabilities

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Westendorp, Marieke; Hartman, Esther; Houwen, Suzanne; Smith, Joanne; Visscher, Chris

    2011-01-01

    The present study compared the gross motor skills of 7- to 12-year-old children with learning disabilities (n = 104) with those of age-matched typically developing children (n = 104) using the Test of Gross Motor Development-2. Additionally, the specific relationships between subsets of gross motor skills and academic performance in reading,…

  19. Specific increases within global decreases: a functional magnetic resonance imaging investigation of five days of motor sequence learning.

    PubMed

    Steele, Christopher J; Penhune, Virginia B

    2010-06-16

    Our capacity to learn movement sequences is fundamental to our ability to interact with the environment. Although different brain networks have been linked with different stages of learning, there is little evidence for how these networks change across learning. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify the specific contributions of the cerebellum and primary motor cortex (M1) during early learning, consolidation, and retention of a motor sequence task. Performance was separated into two components: accuracy (the more explicit, rapidly learned, stimulus-response association component) and synchronization (the more procedural, slowly learned component). The network of brain regions active during early learning was dominated by the cerebellum, premotor cortex, basal ganglia, presupplementary motor area, and supplementary motor area as predicted by existing models. Across days of learning, as performance improved, global decreases were found in the majority of these regions. Importantly, within the context of these global decreases, we found specific regions of the left M1 and right cerebellar VIIIA/VIIB that were positively correlated with improvements in synchronization performance. Improvements in accuracy were correlated with increases in hippocampus, BA 9/10, and the putamen. Thus, the two behavioral measures, accuracy and synchrony, were found to be related to two different sets of brain regions-suggesting that these networks optimize different components of learning. In addition, M1 activity early on day 1 was shown to be predictive of the degree of consolidation on day 2. Finally, functional connectivity between M1 and cerebellum in late learning points to their interaction as a mechanism underlying the long-term representation and expression of a well learned skill. PMID:20554884

  20. Dynamic associations in the cerebellar-motoneuron network during motor learning.

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Campusano, Raudel; Gruart, Agnès; Delgado-García, José M

    2009-08-26

    We assessed here true causal directionalities in cerebellar-motoneuron (MN) network associations during the classical conditioning of eyelid responses. For this, the firing activities of identified facial MNs and cerebellar interpositus (IP) nucleus neurons were recorded during the acquisition of this type of associative learning in alert behaving cats. Simultaneously, the eyelid conditioned response (CR) and the EMG activity of the orbicularis oculi (OO) muscle were recorded. Nonlinear association analysis and time-dependent causality method allowed us to determine the asymmetry, time delays, direction in coupling, and functional interdependences between neuronal recordings and learned motor responses. We concluded that the functional nonlinear association between the IP neurons and OO muscle activities was bidirectional and asymmetric, and the time delays in the two directions of coupling always lagged the start of the CR. Additionally, the strength of coupling depended inversely on the level of expression of eyeblink CRs, whereas causal inferences were significantly dependent on the phase information status. In contrast, the functional association between OO MNs and OO muscle activities was unidirectional and quasisymmetric, and the time delays in coupling were always of opposed signs. Moreover, information transfer in cerebellar-MN network associations during the learning process required a "driving common source" that induced the mere "modulating coupling" of the IP nucleus with the final common pathway for the eyelid motor system. Thus, it can be proposed that the cerebellum is always looking back and reevaluating its own function, using the information acquired in the process, to play a modulating-reinforcing role in motor learning. PMID:19710326

  1. The origin of word-related motor activity.

    PubMed

    Papeo, Liuba; Lingnau, Angelika; Agosta, Sara; Pascual-Leone, Alvaro; Battelli, Lorella; Caramazza, Alfonso

    2015-06-01

    Conceptual processing of verbs consistently recruits the left posterior middle temporal gyrus (lpMTG). The left precentral motor cortex also responds to verbs, with higher activity for action than nonaction verbs. The early timing of this effect has suggested that motor features of words' meaning are accessed directly, bypassing access to conceptual representations in lpMTG. An alternative hypothesis is that the retrieval of conceptual representations in lpMTG is necessary to drive more specific, motor-related representations in the precentral gyrus. To test these hypotheses, we first showed that repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) applied to the verb-preferring lpMTG site selectively impoverished the semantic processing of verbs. In a second experiment, rTMS perturbation of lpMTG, relative to no stimulation (no-rTMS), eliminated the action-nonaction verb distinction in motor activity, as indexed by motor-evoked potentials induced in peripheral muscles with single-pulse TMS over the left primary motor cortex. rTMS pertubation of an occipital control site, relative to no-rTMS, did not affect the action-nonaction verb distinction in motor activity, but the verb contrast did not differ reliably from the lpMTG effect. The results show that lpMTG carries core semantic information necessary to drive the activation of specific (motor) features in the precentral gyrus. PMID:24421174

  2. Motor Education: Educational Development Programs.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tansley, A. E.

    This booklet presents educational programs and activities focusing on motor skills for 5- to 9-year-old children and older children with learning problems. The premise of the activities is that the acquisition of motor skills is essential to basic learning. The role of language as a mediator and controller of motor development is emphasized. The…

  3. Mountain Plains Learning Experience Guide: Electric Motor Repair.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ziller, T.

    This Electric Motor Repair Course is designed to provide the student with practical information for winding, repairing, and troubleshooting alternating current and direct current motors, and controllers. The course is comprised of eight units: (1) Electric Motor Fundamentals, (2) Rewinding, (3) Split-phase Induction Motors, (4) Capacitor Motors,…

  4. Neurophysiological correlates of visuo-motor learning through mental and physical practice.

    PubMed

    Allami, Nadia; Brovelli, Andrea; Hamzaoui, El Mehdi; Regragui, Fakhita; Paulignan, Yves; Boussaoud, Driss

    2014-03-01

    We have previously shown that mental rehearsal can replace up to 75% of physical practice for learning a visuomotor task (Allami, Paulignan, Brovelli, & Boussaoud, (2008). Experimental Brain Research, 184, 105-113). Presumably, mental rehearsal must induce brain changes that facilitate motor learning. We tested this hypothesis by recording scalp electroencephalographic activity (EEG) in two groups of subjects. In one group, subjects executed a reach to grasp task for 240 trials. In the second group, subjects learned the task through a combination of mental rehearsal for the initial 180 trials followed by the execution of 60 trials. Thus, one group physically executed the task for 240 trials, the other only for 60 trials. Amplitudes and latencies of event-related potentials (ERPs) were compared across groups at different stages during learning. We found that ERP activity increases dramatically with training and reaches the same amplitude over the premotor regions in the two groups, despite large differences in physically executed trials. These findings suggest that during mental rehearsal, neuronal changes occur in the motor networks that make physical practice after mental rehearsal more effective in configuring functional networks for skilful behaviour. PMID:24388796

  5. Reliability of the Motor Learning Strategy Rating Instrument for Children and Youth with Acquired Brain Injury

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kamath, Trishna; Pfeifer, Megan; Banerjee-Guenette, Priyanka; Hunter, Theresa; Ito, Julia; Salbach, Nancy M.; Wright, Virginia; Levac, Danielle

    2012-01-01

    Purpose: To evaluate reliability and feasibility of the Motor Learning Strategy Rating Instrument (MLSRI) in children with acquired brain injury (ABI). The MLSRI quantifies the extent to which motor learning strategies (MLS) are used within physiotherapy (PT) interventions. Methods: PT sessions conducted by ABI team physiotherapists with a…

  6. Using Motor Learning Approaches for Treating Swallowing and Feeding Disorders: A Review

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sheppard, Justine J.

    2008-01-01

    Purpose: This article discusses children's development of mature swallowing and feeding as a process of skill acquisition and considers the applicability of motor learning concepts for advancing these capabilities in school-aged children. Method: The motor learning literature was reviewed, with concentration on (a) concepts that are relevant for…

  7. Motor Sequence Learning Performance in Parkinson's Disease Patients Depends on the Stage of Disease

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stephan, Marianne A.; Meier, Beat; Zaugg, Sabine Weber; Kaelin-Lang, Alain

    2011-01-01

    It is still unclear, whether patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) are impaired in the incidental learning of different motor sequences in short succession, although such a deficit might greatly impact their daily life. The aim of this study was thus to clarify the relation between disease parameters of PD and incidental motor learning of two…

  8. Motor Cortex Activity Organizes the Developing Rubrospinal System

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Preston T.J.A.

    2015-01-01

    The corticospinal and rubrospinal systems function in skilled movement control. A key question is how do these systems develop the capacity to coordinate their motor functions and, in turn, if the red nucleus/rubrospinal tract (RN/RST) compensates for developmental corticospinal injury? We used the cat to investigate whether the developing rubrospinal system is shaped by activity-dependent interactions with the developing corticospinal system. We unilaterally inactivated M1 by muscimol microinfusion between postnatal weeks 5 and 7 to examine activity-dependent interactions and whether the RN/RST compensates for corticospinal tract (CST) developmental motor impairments and CST misprojections after M1 inactivation. We examined the RN motor map and RST cervical projections at 7 weeks of age, while the corticospinal system was inactivated, and at 14 weeks, after activity returned. During M1 inactivation, the RN on the same side showed normal RST projections and reduced motor thresholds, suggestive of precocious development. By contrast, the RN on the untreated/active M1 side showed sparse RST projections and an immature motor map. After M1 activity returned later in adolescent cat development, RN on the active M1/CST side continued to show a substantial loss of spinal terminations and an impaired motor map. RN/RST on the inactivated side regressed to a smaller map and fewer axons. Our findings suggest that the developing rubrospinal system is under activity-dependent regulation by the corticospinal system for establishing mature RST connections and RN motor map. The lack of RS compensation on the non-inactivated side can be explained by development of ipsilateral misprojections from the active M1 that outcompete the RST. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Skilled movements reflect the activity of multiple descending motor systems and their interactions with spinal motor circuits. Currently, there is little insight into whether motor systems interact during development to

  9. Learning flexible sensori-motor mappings in a complex network.

    PubMed

    Vasilaki, Eleni; Fusi, Stefano; Wang, Xiao-Jing; Senn, Walter

    2009-02-01

    Given the complex structure of the brain, how can synaptic plasticity explain the learning and forgetting of associations when these are continuously changing? We address this question by studying different reinforcement learning rules in a multilayer network in order to reproduce monkey behavior in a visuomotor association task. Our model can only reproduce the learning performance of the monkey if the synaptic modifications depend on the pre- and postsynaptic activity, and if the intrinsic level of stochasticity is low. This favored learning rule is based on reward modulated Hebbian synaptic plasticity and shows the interesting feature that the learning performance does not substantially degrade when adding layers to the network, even for a complex problem. PMID:19153762

  10. Functional connectivity in the resting-state motor networks influences the kinematic processes during motor sequence learning

    PubMed Central

    Bonzano, Laura; Palmaro, Eleonora; Teodorescu, Roxana; Fleysher, Lazar; Inglese, Matilde; Bove, Marco

    2014-01-01

    Neuroimaging studies support the involvement of the cerebello-cortical and striato-cortical motor loops in motor sequence learning. Here, we investigated whether the gain of motor sequence learning could depend on a priori resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) between motor areas and structures belonging to these circuits. Fourteen healthy subjects underwent a resting-state fMRI session. Afterward, they were asked to reproduce a verbally-learned sequence of finger opposition movements as fast and accurate as possible. All subjects increased their movement rate with practice, by reducing touch duration and/or inter tapping interval. The rsFC analysis showed that at rest left and right M1 and left and right supplementary motor cortex (SMA) were mainly connected with other motor areas. The covariate analysis taking into account the different kinematic parameters indicated that the subjects achieving greater movement rate increase were those showing stronger rsFC of the left M1 and SMA with the right lobule VIII of the cerebellum. Notably, the subjects with greater inter tapping interval reduction showed stronger rsFC of the left M1 and SMA with the association nuclei of the thalamus. Conversely, the regression analysis with the right M1 and SMA seeds showed only few significant clusters for the different covariates not located in the cerebellum and thalamus. No common clusters were found between right M1 and SMA. All these findings indicate important functional connections at rest of those neural circuits responsible of motor learning improvement, involving the motor areas related to the hemisphere directly controlling the finger movements, the thalamus and the cerebellum. PMID:25328043

  11. The relationship between gross motor skills and academic achievement in children with learning disabilities.

    PubMed

    Westendorp, Marieke; Hartman, Esther; Houwen, Suzanne; Smith, Joanne; Visscher, Chris

    2011-01-01

    The present study compared the gross motor skills of 7- to 12-year-old children with learning disabilities (n = 104) with those of age-matched typically developing children (n = 104) using the Test of Gross Motor Development-2. Additionally, the specific relationships between subsets of gross motor skills and academic performance in reading, spelling, and mathematics were examined in children with learning disabilities. As expected, the children with learning disabilities scored poorer on both the locomotor and object-control subtests than their typically developing peers. Furthermore, in children with learning disabilities a specific relationship was observed between reading and locomotor skills and a trend was found for a relationship between mathematics and object-control skills: the larger children's learning lag, the poorer their motor skill scores. This study stresses the importance of specific interventions facilitating both motor and academic abilities. PMID:21700421

  12. Variability of Practice and Contextual Interference in Motor Skill Learning.

    PubMed

    Hall, K. G.; Magill, R. A.

    1995-12-01

    The purpose of this study was to investigate whether learning benefits in multiple-task learning situations are a result of contextual interference or of schema enhancement related to the amount of variability in the practice session. Two experiments were designed that replicated and extended the experiment reported by Wulf and Schmidt (1988). In a 2 (same vs. different relative time) x 2 (blocked vs. random practice schedule) design, 48 right-handed subjects were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions. A tapping task was employed that required a right-handed tap of three small brass plates arranged in a diamond pattern. Each segment had a specific time requirement. Target times and response times were provided on a computer screen directly in front of the subject. Each subject participated in two acquisition sessions (i.e., 198 practice trials) and was tested for learning on several different retention and transfer tests. In Experiment 2, a control group was added that received no acquisition phase. Results of both experiments showed a typical contextual interference effect, with depressed scores by the random groups during acquisition but significantly better scores than the blocked groups on several retention and transfer tests. Certain characteristics of the tests were found to influence the demonstration of the practice schedule effects. These results were consistent with predictions from Magill and Hall (1990) that the learning benefits of contextual interference are more likely to occur when skill variations are from different classes of movement and that the amount of variability in practice is more influential when the to-be-learned tasks are parameter modifications of the same generalized motor program. PMID:12529226

  13. A Guide for Perceptual-Motor Training Activities.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    South Euclid - Lyndhurst City Schools, Lyndhurst, OH.

    This document has been prepared as part of a kindergarten perceptual-training program of the South Euclid-Lyndhurst City School District near Cleveland, Ohio. The guide contains information on training and procedures related to perceptual-motor learning. This information is structured primarily into 150 lesson plans, devised as 30-minute sessions…

  14. Project Success for the SLD Child, Motor-Perception Activities.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wayne - Carroll Public Schools, Wayne, NE.

    Presented is a curriculum guide for a perceptual motor program which was developed by Project Success (Nebraska) through a Title III grant for language learning disabled elementary level students in kindergarten through grade 3. The program is said to be arranged in a hierarchy of skills ranging from simple to complex and to be written so that the…

  15. Cdk5 Modulates Long-Term Synaptic Plasticity and Motor Learning in Dorsolateral Striatum

    PubMed Central

    Hernandez, Adan; Tan, Chunfeng; Mettlach, Gabriel; Pozo, Karine; Plattner, Florian; Bibb, James A.

    2016-01-01

    The striatum controls multiple cognitive aspects including motivation, reward perception, decision-making and motor planning. In particular, the dorsolateral striatum contributes to motor learning. Here we define an approach for investigating synaptic plasticity in mouse dorsolateral cortico-striatal circuitry and interrogate the relative contributions of neurotransmitter receptors and intracellular signaling components. Consistent with previous studies, we show that long-term potentiation (LTP) in cortico-striatal circuitry is facilitated by dopamine, and requires activation of D1-dopamine receptors, as well as NMDA receptors (NMDAR) and their calcium-dependent downstream effectors, including CaMKII. Moreover, we assessed the contribution of the protein kinase Cdk5, a key neuronal signaling molecule, in cortico-striatal LTP. Pharmacological Cdk5 inhibition, brain-wide Cdk5 conditional knockout, or viral-mediated dorsolateral striatal-specific loss of Cdk5 all impaired dopamine-facilitated LTP or D1-dopamine receptor-facilitated LTP. Selective loss of Cdk5 in dorsolateral striatum increased locomotor activity and attenuated motor learning. Taken together, we report an approach for studying synaptic plasticity in mouse dorsolateral striatum and critically implicate D1-dopamine receptor, NMDAR, Cdk5, and CaMKII in cortico-striatal plasticity. Furthermore, we associate striatal plasticity deficits with effects upon behaviors mediated by this circuitry. This approach should prove useful for the study of the molecular basis of plasticity in the dorsolateral striatum. PMID:27443506

  16. Refining the continuous tracking paradigm to investigate implicit motor learning.

    PubMed

    Zhu, F F; Poolton, J M; Maxwell, J P; Fan, J K M; Leung, G K K; Masters, R S W

    2014-01-01

    In two experiments we investigated factors that undermine conclusions about implicit motor learning in the continuous tracking paradigm. In Experiment 1, we constructed a practice phase in which all three segments of the waveform pattern were random, in order to examine whether tracking performance decreased as a consequence of time spent on task. Tracking error was lower in the first segment than in the middle segment and lower in the middle segment than in the final segment, indicating that tracking performance decreased as a function of increasing time-on-task. In Experiment 2, the waveform pattern presented in the middle segment was identical in each trial of practice. In a retention test, tracking performance on the repeated segment was superior to tracking performance on the random segments of the waveform. Furthermore, substitution of the repeated pattern with a random pattern (in a transfer test) resulted in a significantly increased tracking error. These findings imply that characteristics of the repeated pattern were learned. Crucially, tests of pattern recognition implied that participants were not explicitly aware of the presence of a recurring segment of waveform. Recommendations for refining the continuous tracking paradigm for implicit learning research are proposed. PMID:24149243

  17. Visuo-Motor and Cognitive Procedural Learning in Children with Basal Ganglia Pathology

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mayor-Dubois, C.; Maeder, P.; Zesiger, P.; Roulet-Perez, E.

    2010-01-01

    We investigated procedural learning in 18 children with basal ganglia (BG) lesions or dysfunctions of various aetiologies, using a visuo-motor learning test, the Serial Reaction Time (SRT) task, and a cognitive learning test, the Probabilistic Classification Learning (PCL) task. We compared patients with early (less than 1 year old, n=9), later…

  18. Perceptual and motor learning underlies human stick-balancing skill.

    PubMed

    Lee, Kwee-Yum; O'Dwyer, Nicholas; Halaki, Mark; Smith, Richard

    2015-01-01

    We investigated the acquisition of skill in balancing a stick (52 cm, 34 g) on the fingertip in nine participants using three-dimensional motion analysis. After 3.5 h of practice over 6 wk, the participants could more consistently balance the stick for longer durations with greatly reduced magnitude and speed of stick and finger movements. Irrespective of level of skill, the balanced stick behaved like a normal noninverted pendulum oscillating under greater-than-gravity torque with simple harmonic motion about a virtual pivot located at the radius of gyration above the center of mass. The control input parameter was the magnitude ratio between the torque applied on the stick by the participant and the torque due to gravity. The participants utilized only a narrow range of this parameter, which did not change with practice, to rotate the stick like a linear mass-spring system. With increased skill, the stick therefore maintained the same period of oscillation but showed marked reductions in magnitude of both oscillation and horizontal translation. Better balancing was associated with 1) more accurate visual localization of the stick and proprioceptive localization of the finger and 2) reduced cross-coupling errors between finger and stick movements in orthogonal directions; i.e., finger movements in the anteroposterior plane became less coupled with stick tip movements in the mediolateral plane, and vice versa. Development of this fine motor skill therefore depended on perceptual and motor learning to provide improved estimation of sensorimotor state and precision of motor commands to an unchanging internal model of the rotational dynamics. PMID:25298388

  19. Dynamical movement primitives: learning attractor models for motor behaviors.

    PubMed

    Ijspeert, Auke Jan; Nakanishi, Jun; Hoffmann, Heiko; Pastor, Peter; Schaal, Stefan

    2013-02-01

    Nonlinear dynamical systems have been used in many disciplines to model complex behaviors, including biological motor control, robotics, perception, economics, traffic prediction, and neuroscience. While often the unexpected emergent behavior of nonlinear systems is the focus of investigations, it is of equal importance to create goal-directed behavior (e.g., stable locomotion from a system of coupled oscillators under perceptual guidance). Modeling goal-directed behavior with nonlinear systems is, however, rather difficult due to the parameter sensitivity of these systems, their complex phase transitions in response to subtle parameter changes, and the difficulty of analyzing and predicting their long-term behavior; intuition and time-consuming parameter tuning play a major role. This letter presents and reviews dynamical movement primitives, a line of research for modeling attractor behaviors of autonomous nonlinear dynamical systems with the help of statistical learning techniques. The essence of our approach is to start with a simple dynamical system, such as a set of linear differential equations, and transform those into a weakly nonlinear system with prescribed attractor dynamics by means of a learnable autonomous forcing term. Both point attractors and limit cycle attractors of almost arbitrary complexity can be generated. We explain the design principle of our approach and evaluate its properties in several example applications in motor control and robotics. PMID:23148415

  20. [Motor asymmetry and learning new skills in animals].

    PubMed

    Budilin, S Iu; Pletneva, E V; Ioffe, M E; Arsen'ev, G N

    2014-01-01

    The aim was to examine the relationship between the ability to learn new motor skills and preference to the right or left front paw when performing manipulation movements in rats. As a new skill used the Morris water maze, in which the animals are initially trained to detect platform hidden under water at the swim of the sector of the opposite platform, and then when sailing from sectors on the left or the right of the platform. Preference paw was determined by using the taking of animal food from a narrow horizontal tube and, accordingly, the rats were divided into left-handedness and right-handedness. We found that when changing the place of launch, that is the first voyage from the left or right of the sector, are right-handed, unlike left-handed, spent significantly more time to find the platform. PMID:25713870

  1. Active inference and learning.

    PubMed

    Friston, Karl; FitzGerald, Thomas; Rigoli, Francesco; Schwartenbeck, Philipp; O'Doherty, John; Pezzulo, Giovanni

    2016-09-01

    This paper offers an active inference account of choice behaviour and learning. It focuses on the distinction between goal-directed and habitual behaviour and how they contextualise each other. We show that habits emerge naturally (and autodidactically) from sequential policy optimisation when agents are equipped with state-action policies. In active inference, behaviour has explorative (epistemic) and exploitative (pragmatic) aspects that are sensitive to ambiguity and risk respectively, where epistemic (ambiguity-resolving) behaviour enables pragmatic (reward-seeking) behaviour and the subsequent emergence of habits. Although goal-directed and habitual policies are usually associated with model-based and model-free schemes, we find the more important distinction is between belief-free and belief-based schemes. The underlying (variational) belief updating provides a comprehensive (if metaphorical) process theory for several phenomena, including the transfer of dopamine responses, reversal learning, habit formation and devaluation. Finally, we show that active inference reduces to a classical (Bellman) scheme, in the absence of ambiguity. PMID:27375276

  2. Shifts in connectivity during procedural learning after motor cortex stimulation: A combined transcranial magnetic stimulation/functional magnetic resonance imaging study.

    PubMed

    Steel, Adam; Song, Sunbin; Bageac, Devin; Knutson, Kristine M; Keisler, Aysha; Saad, Ziad S; Gotts, Stephen J; Wassermann, Eric M; Wilkinson, Leonora

    2016-01-01

    Inhibitory transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), of which continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS) is a common form, has been used to inhibit cortical areas during investigations of their function. cTBS applied to the primary motor area (M1) depresses motor output excitability via a local effect and impairs procedural motor learning. This could be due to an effect on M1 itself and/or to changes in its connectivity with other nodes in the learning network. To investigate this issue, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure changes in brain activation and connectivity during implicit procedural learning after real and sham cTBS of M1. Compared to sham, real cTBS impaired motor sequence learning, but caused no local or distant changes in brain activation. Rather, it reduced functional connectivity between motor (M1, dorsal premotor & supplementary motor areas) and visual (superior & inferior occipital gyri) areas. It also increased connectivity between frontal associative (superior & inferior frontal gyri), cingulate (dorsal & middle cingulate), and temporal areas. This potentially compensatory shift in coupling, from a motor-based learning network to an associative learning network accounts for the behavioral effects of cTBS of M1. The findings suggest that the inhibitory TMS affects behavior via relatively subtle and distributed effects on connectivity within networks, rather than by taking the stimulated area "offline". PMID:26673946

  3. Preserved motor learning after stroke is related to the degree of proprioceptive deficit

    PubMed Central

    Vidoni, Eric D; Boyd, Lara A

    2009-01-01

    Background Most motor learning theories posit that proprioceptive sensation serves an important role in acquiring and performing movement patterns. However, we recently demonstrated that experimental disruption of proprioception peripherally altered motor performance but not motor learning in humans. Little work has considered humans with central nervous system damage. The purpose of the present study was to specifically consider the relationship between proprioception and motor learning at the level of the central nervous system in humans. Methods Individuals with chronic (> 6mo) stroke and similarly aged healthy participants performed a continuous tracking task with an embedded repeating segment over two days and returned on a third day for retention testing. A limb-position matching task was used to quantify proprioception. Results Individuals with chronic stroke demonstrated the ability to learn to track a repeating segment; however, the magnitude of behavioral change associated with repeated segment-specific learning was directly related to the integrity of central proprioceptive processing as indexed by our limb-position matching task. Conclusion These results support the importance of central sensory processing for motor learning. The confirmation of central sensory processing dependent motor learning in humans is discussed in the context of our prior report of preserved motor learning when sensation is disrupted peripherally. PMID:19715593

  4. Effective reinforcement learning following cerebellar damage requires a balance between exploration and motor noise

    PubMed Central

    Therrien, Amanda S.; Wolpert, Daniel M.

    2016-01-01

    See Miall and Galea (doi: 10.1093/awv343) for a scientific commentary on this article. Reinforcement and error-based processes are essential for motor learning, with the cerebellum thought to be required only for the error-based mechanism. Here we examined learning and retention of a reaching skill under both processes. Control subjects learned similarly from reinforcement and error-based feedback, but showed much better retention under reinforcement. To apply reinforcement to cerebellar patients, we developed a closed-loop reinforcement schedule in which task difficulty was controlled based on recent performance. This schedule produced substantial learning in cerebellar patients and controls. Cerebellar patients varied in their learning under reinforcement but fully retained what was learned. In contrast, they showed complete lack of retention in error-based learning. We developed a mechanistic model of the reinforcement task and found that learning depended on a balance between exploration variability and motor noise. While the cerebellar and control groups had similar exploration variability, the patients had greater motor noise and hence learned less. Our results suggest that cerebellar damage indirectly impairs reinforcement learning by increasing motor noise, but does not interfere with the reinforcement mechanism itself. Therefore, reinforcement can be used to learn and retain novel skills, but optimal reinforcement learning requires a balance between exploration variability and motor noise. PMID:26626368

  5. Effective reinforcement learning following cerebellar damage requires a balance between exploration and motor noise.

    PubMed

    Therrien, Amanda S; Wolpert, Daniel M; Bastian, Amy J

    2016-01-01

    Reinforcement and error-based processes are essential for motor learning, with the cerebellum thought to be required only for the error-based mechanism. Here we examined learning and retention of a reaching skill under both processes. Control subjects learned similarly from reinforcement and error-based feedback, but showed much better retention under reinforcement. To apply reinforcement to cerebellar patients, we developed a closed-loop reinforcement schedule in which task difficulty was controlled based on recent performance. This schedule produced substantial learning in cerebellar patients and controls. Cerebellar patients varied in their learning under reinforcement but fully retained what was learned. In contrast, they showed complete lack of retention in error-based learning. We developed a mechanistic model of the reinforcement task and found that learning depended on a balance between exploration variability and motor noise. While the cerebellar and control groups had similar exploration variability, the patients had greater motor noise and hence learned less. Our results suggest that cerebellar damage indirectly impairs reinforcement learning by increasing motor noise, but does not interfere with the reinforcement mechanism itself. Therefore, reinforcement can be used to learn and retain novel skills, but optimal reinforcement learning requires a balance between exploration variability and motor noise. PMID:26626368

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    Objective 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. Method 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. Results 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. Conclusions 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. PMID:26466324

  7. Self-organizing spiking neural model for learning fault-tolerant spatio-motor transformations.

    PubMed

    Srinivasa, Narayan; Cho, Youngkwan

    2012-10-01

    In this paper, we present a spiking neural model that learns spatio-motor transformations. The model is in the form of a multilayered architecture consisting of integrate and fire neurons and synapses that employ spike-timing-dependent plasticity learning rule to enable the learning of such transformations. We developed a simple 2-degree-of-freedom robot-based reaching task which involves the learning of a nonlinear function. Computer simulations demonstrate the capability of such a model for learning the forward and inverse kinematics for such a task and hence to learn spatio-motor transformations. The interesting aspect of the model is its capacity to be tolerant to partial absence of sensory or motor inputs at various stages of learning. We believe that such a model lays the foundation for learning other complex functions and transformations in real-world scenarios. PMID:24807999

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  9. Motor imagery of hand actions: Decoding the content of motor imagery from brain activity in frontal and parietal motor areas

    PubMed Central

    Pilgramm, Sebastian; de Haas, Benjamin; Helm, Fabian; Zentgraf, Karen; Stark, Rudolf; Munzert, Jörn

    2015-01-01

    Abstract How motor maps are organized while imagining actions is an intensely debated issue. It is particularly unclear whether motor imagery relies on action‐specific representations in premotor and posterior parietal cortices. This study tackled this issue by attempting to decode the content of motor imagery from spatial patterns of Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) signals recorded in the frontoparietal motor imagery network. During fMRI‐scanning, 20 right‐handed volunteers worked on three experimental conditions and one baseline condition. In the experimental conditions, they had to imagine three different types of right‐hand actions: an aiming movement, an extension–flexion movement, and a squeezing movement. The identity of imagined actions was decoded from the spatial patterns of BOLD signals they evoked in premotor and posterior parietal cortices using multivoxel pattern analysis. Results showed that the content of motor imagery (i.e., the action type) could be decoded significantly above chance level from the spatial patterns of BOLD signals in both frontal (PMC, M1) and parietal areas (SPL, IPL, IPS). An exploratory searchlight analysis revealed significant clusters motor‐ and motor‐associated cortices, as well as in visual cortices. Hence, the data provide evidence that patterns of activity within premotor and posterior parietal cortex vary systematically with the specific type of hand action being imagined. Hum Brain Mapp 37:81–93, 2016. © 2015 The Authors. Human Brain Mapping Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:26452176

  10. Cortical motor activation patterns following hand transplantation and replantation.

    PubMed

    Brenneis, C; Löscher, W N; Egger, K E; Benke, T; Schocke, M; Gabl, M F; Wechselberger, G; Felber, S; Pechlaner, S; Margreiter, R; Piza-Katzer, H; Poewe, W

    2005-10-01

    We studied cortical activation patterns by functional MRI in a patient who received bilateral hand transplantation after amputation 6 years ago and in a patient who had received unilateral hand replantation within 2 hours after amputation. In the early postoperative period, the patient who had had the hand transplantation revealed strong activation of a higher motor area, only weak activation of the primary sensorimotor motor cortex and no activation of the primary somatosensory cortex. At 1-year follow-up, a small increase in primary sensorimotor motor cortex activation was observed. Activation of the primary somatosensory cortex was only seen at the 2 year follow-up. By contrast, after hand replantation, the activation pattern was similar to that of the uninjured hand within 6 weeks. This included activation of the primary sensorimotor motor cortex, higher motor areas and primary somatosensory cortex. Transplantation after long-standing amputation results in cortical reorganization occurring over a 2-year period. In contrast, hand replantation within a few hours preserves a normal activation pattern. PMID:16055246

  11. Saccade Adaptation as a Model of Flexible and General Motor Learning

    PubMed Central

    Herman, James P.; Blangero, Annabelle; Madelain, Laurent; Khan, Afsheen; Harwood, Mark R.

    2013-01-01

    The rapid point-to-point movements of the eyes called saccades are the most commonly made movement by humans, yet differ from nearly every other type of motor output in that they are completed too quickly to be adjusted during their execution by visual feedback. Saccadic accuracy remains quite high over a lifetime despite inevitable changes to the physical structures controlling the eyes, indicating that the oculomotor system actively monitors and adjusts motor commands to achieve consistent behavioural production. Indeed, it seems that beyond the ability to compensate for slow, age-related bodily changes, saccades can be modified following traumatic injury or pathology that affects their production, or in response to more short-term systematic alterations to post-saccadic visual feedback in a laboratory setting. These forms of plasticity rely on the visual detection of accuracy errors by a unified set of mechanisms that support the process known as saccade adaptation. Saccade adaptation has been mostly studied as a phenomenon in its own right, outside of motor learning in general. Here, we highlight the commonalities between eye and arm movement adaptation by reviewing the literature across these fields wherever there are compelling overlapping theories or data. Recent exciting findings are challenging previous interpretations of the underlying mechanism of saccade adaptation with the incorporation of concepts including prediction, reinforcement and contextual learning. We review the emerging ideas and evidence with particular emphasis on the important contributions made by Josh Wallman in this sphere over the past 15 years. PMID:23597598

  12. Motor learning and modulation of prefrontal cortex: an fNIRS assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  13. Coordinate Representations for Interference Reduction in Motor Learning

    PubMed Central

    Yeo, Sang-Hoon; Wolpert, Daniel M.; Franklin, David W.

    2015-01-01

    When opposing force fields are presented alternately or randomly across trials for identical reaching movements, subjects learn neither force field, a behavior termed ‘interference’. Studies have shown that a small difference in the endpoint posture of the limb reduces this interference. However, any difference in the limb’s endpoint location typically changes the hand position, joint angles and the hand orientation making it ambiguous as to which of these changes underlies the ability to learn dynamics that normally interfere. Here we examine the extent to which each of these three possible coordinate systems—Cartesian hand position, shoulder and elbow joint angles, or hand orientation—underlies the reduction in interference. Subjects performed goal-directed reaching movements in five different limb configurations designed so that different pairs of these configurations involved a change in only one coordinate system. By specifically assigning clockwise and counter-clockwise force fields to the configurations we could create three different conditions in which the direction of the force field could only be uniquely distinguished in one of the three coordinate systems. We examined the ability to learn the two fields based on each of the coordinate systems. The largest reduction of interference was observed when the field direction was linked to the hand orientation with smaller reductions in the other two conditions. This result demonstrates that the strongest reduction in interference occurred with changes in the hand orientation, suggesting that hand orientation may have a privileged role in reducing motor interference for changes in the endpoint posture of the limb. PMID:26067480

  14. The effect of early musical training on adult motor performance: evidence for a sensitive period in motor learning.

    PubMed

    Penhune, Virginia; Watanabe, Donald; Savion-Lemieux, Tal

    2005-12-01

    This experiment demonstrates that musicians who began training before age seven perform better on a rhythmic tapping task than musicians who began after the age of seven, when the two groups are matched for years of experience. These results support the idea that there may be a sensitive period in childhood for motor training, similar to that observed for language learning. PMID:16597774

  15. Applying principles of motor learning and control to upper extremity rehabilitation.

    PubMed

    Muratori, Lisa M; Lamberg, Eric M; Quinn, Lori; Duff, Susan V

    2013-01-01

    The purpose of this article is to provide a brief review of the principles of motor control and learning. Different models of motor control from historical to contemporary are presented with emphasis on the Systems model. Concepts of motor learning including skill acquisition, measurement of learning, and methods to promote skill acquisition by examining the many facets of practice scheduling and use of feedback are provided. A fictional client case is introduced and threaded throughout the article to facilitate understanding of these concepts and how they can be applied to clinical practice. PMID:23598082

  16. Applying principles of motor learning and control to upper extremity rehabilitation

    PubMed Central

    Muratori, Lisa M.; Lamberg, Eric M.; Quinn, Lori; Duff, Susan V.

    2013-01-01

    The purpose of this article is to provide a brief review of the principles of motor control and learning. Different models of motor control from historical to contemporary are presented with emphasis on the systems model. Concepts of motor learning including skill acquisition, measurement of learning, and methods to promote skill acquisition by examining the many facets of practice scheduling and use of feedback are provided. A fictional client case is introduced and threaded throughout the article to facilitate understanding of these concepts and how they can be applied to clinical practice. PMID:23598082

  17. Activating the Desire to Learn

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sullo, Bob

    2007-01-01

    Wouldn't your job be easier if students were just more interested in learning? Now, here's a book that will open your eyes to where the desire to learn actually comes from and what teachers can really do to activate it. Using stories from classroom teachers, counselors, administrators, and students, Bob Sullo explains why the desire to learn is…

  18. Postnatal TLR2 activation impairs learning and memory in adulthood.

    PubMed

    Madar, Ravit; Rotter, Aviva; Waldman Ben-Asher, Hiba; Mughal, Mohamed R; Arumugam, Thiruma V; Wood, W H; Becker, K G; Mattson, Mark P; Okun, Eitan

    2015-08-01

    Neuroinflammation in the central nervous system is detrimental for learning and memory, as evident form epidemiological studies linking developmental defects and maternal exposure to harmful pathogens. Postnatal infections can also induce neuroinflammatory responses with long-term consequences. These inflammatory responses can lead to motor deficits and/or behavioral disabilities. Toll like receptors (TLRs) are a family of innate immune receptors best known as sensors of microbial-associated molecular patterns, and are the first responders to infection. TLR2 forms heterodimers with either TLR1 or TLR6, is activated in response to gram-positive bacterial infections, and is expressed in the brain during embryonic development. We hypothesized that early postnatal TLR2-mediated neuroinflammation would adversely affect cognitive behavior in the adult. Our data indicate that postnatal TLR2 activation affects learning and memory in adult mice in a heterodimer-dependent manner. TLR2/6 activation improved motor function and fear learning, while TLR2/1 activation impaired spatial learning and enhanced fear learning. Moreover, developmental TLR2 deficiency significantly impairs spatial learning and enhances fear learning, stressing the involvement of the TLR2 pathway in learning and memory. Analysis of the transcriptional effects of TLR2 activation reveals both common and unique transcriptional programs following heterodimer-specific TLR2 activation. These results imply that adult cognitive behavior could be influenced in part, by activation or alterations in the TLR2 pathway at birth. PMID:26021559

  19. Postnatal TLR2 activation impairs learning and memory in adulthood

    PubMed Central

    Madar, Ravit; Rotter, Aviva; Ben-Asher, Hiba Waldman; Mughal, Mohamed R.; Arumugam, Thiruma V.; Wood, WH; Becker, KG; Mattson, Mark P.; Okun, Eitan

    2015-01-01

    Neuroinflammation in the central nervous system is detrimental for learning and memory, as evident form epidemiological studies linking developmental defects and maternal exposure to harmful pathogens. Postnatal infections can also induce neuroinflammatory responses with long-term consequences. These inflammatory responses can lead to motor deficits and/or behavioral disabilities. Toll like receptors (TLRs) are a family of innate immune receptors best known as sensors of microbial-associated molecular patterns, and are the first responders to infection. TLR2 forms heterodimers with either TLR1 or TLR6, is activated in response to gram-positive bacterial infections, and is expressed in the brain during embryonic development. We hypothesized that early postnatal TLR2-mediated neuroinflammation would adversely affect cognitive behavior in the adult. Our data indicate that postnatal TLR2 activation affects learning and memory in adult mice in a heterodimer-dependent manner. TLR2/6 activation improved motor function and fear learning, while TLR2/1 activation impaired spatial learning and enhanced fear learning. Moreover, developmental TLR2 deficiency significantly impairs spatial learning and enhances fear learning, stressing the involvement of the TLR2 pathway in learning and memory. Analysis of the transcriptional effects of TLR2 activation reveals both common and unique transcriptional programs following heterodimer-specific TLR2 activation. These results imply that adult cognitive behavior could be influenced in part, by activation or alterations in the TLR2 pathway at birth. PMID:26021559

  20. Age-Related Declines in Visuospatial Working Memory Correlate With Deficits in Explicit Motor Sequence Learning

    PubMed Central

    Bo, J.; Borza, V.

    2009-01-01

    Numerous studies have shown that older adults exhibit deficits in motor sequence learning, but the mechanisms underlying this effect remain unclear. Our recent work has shown that visuospatial working-memory capacity predicts the rate of motor sequence learning and the length of motor chunks formed during explicit sequence learning in young adults. In the current study, we evaluate whether age-related deficits in working memory explain the reduced rate of motor sequence learning in older adults. We found that older adults exhibited a correlation between visuospatial working-memory capacity and motor sequence chunk length, as we observed previously in young adults. In addition, older adults exhibited an overall reduction in both working-memory capacity and motor chunk length compared with that of young adults. However, individual variations in visuospatial working-memory capacity did not correlate with the rate of learning in older adults. These results indicate that working memory declines with age at least partially explain age-related differences in explicit motor sequence learning. PMID:19726728

  1. Age-related declines in visuospatial working memory correlate with deficits in explicit motor sequence learning.

    PubMed

    Bo, J; Borza, V; Seidler, R D

    2009-11-01

    Numerous studies have shown that older adults exhibit deficits in motor sequence learning, but the mechanisms underlying this effect remain unclear. Our recent work has shown that visuospatial working-memory capacity predicts the rate of motor sequence learning and the length of motor chunks formed during explicit sequence learning in young adults. In the current study, we evaluate whether age-related deficits in working memory explain the reduced rate of motor sequence learning in older adults. We found that older adults exhibited a correlation between visuospatial working-memory capacity and motor sequence chunk length, as we observed previously in young adults. In addition, older adults exhibited an overall reduction in both working-memory capacity and motor chunk length compared with that of young adults. However, individual variations in visuospatial working-memory capacity did not correlate with the rate of learning in older adults. These results indicate that working memory declines with age at least partially explain age-related differences in explicit motor sequence learning. PMID:19726728

  2. Social interaction is associated with changes in infants’ motor activity

    PubMed Central

    Scola, Céline; Bourjade, Marie; Jover, Marianne

    2015-01-01

    Background In developmental research, infants are commonly assumed to be early stakeholders in interactions with their caregivers. The tools that infants can use to interact with others vary from visual contact to smiling or vocalizing, and also include motor activity. However, surprisingly few studies have explored how the nature and context of social interactions affect infants’ engagement in motor activity. Methods We investigated the kinematic properties of foot and face movements produced by 11 infants aged between 5 and 9 months during six contrasting dyadic episodes (i.e. passive presence of a stranger or the infant's mother, weak or intense interaction with the stranger/mother as she sings a nursery play song). Results The infants’ face and foot motor activity was significantly reduced during the interactive episodes, compared with the episodes without any interaction, in both the mother and stranger conditions. Furthermore, the level of their motor activity was significantly lower in the stranger condition than in the mother one for some parameters. Conclusion These results are in line with those reported by previous studies and confirm the relevance of using motor activity to delineate the early forms of interactive episodes in infants. PMID:26546793

  3. ACTH neuromodulation of the developing motor system and neonatal learning in the rat.

    PubMed

    Acker, G R; Berran, J; Strand, F L

    1985-01-01

    ACTH peptides influence the developing nervous system during the first three weeks of life in the rat. ACTH 4-10 and Org 2766 (10.0 micrograms/kg) accelerate the expression of motor hyperactivity usually exhibited in 15-day old normal animals, with ACTH 4-10 increasing the force of extensor digitorum longus muscle contraction amplitude. Following cold stress and peptide treatment, rate changes in motor activity from one age to the next are dramatically enhanced, with vertical activity being exhibited at an earlier age than controls. Grasping ability is similarly enhanced in 13-day old ACTH 4-10-treated animals. The retention of a T-maze learning paradigm is significantly enhanced in 16-day old ACTH 4-10 (10.0 micrograms/kg)-treated and Org 2766 (0.01 micrograms/kg)-treated animals, with these animals running the maze significantly faster than controls. Peptide treatment appears to reverse the apparent turning preference in the maze during extinction. It is suggested that ACTH peptides modulate the organization of the nervous system and facilitate neurotransmission, and may act on dopaminergic and cholinergic neurotransmitter systems. Motor behavior seems to reflect underlying neural substrates that are integrated to produce the overt behavior of the organism. PMID:2867532

  4. Developmental changes in motor cortex activity as infants develop functional motor skills.

    PubMed

    Nishiyori, Ryota; Bisconti, Silvia; Meehan, Sean K; Ulrich, Beverly D

    2016-09-01

    Despite extensive research examining overt behavioral changes of motor skills in infants, the neural basis underlying the emergence of functional motor control has yet to be determined. We used functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to record hemodynamic activity of the primary motor cortex (M1) from 22 infants (11 six month-olds, 11 twelve month-olds) as they reached for an object, and stepped while supported over a treadmill. Based on the developmental systems framework, we hypothesized that as infants increased goal-directed experience, neural activity shifts from a diffused to focal pattern. Results showed that for reaching, younger infants showed diffuse areas of M1 activity that became focused by 12 months. For elicited stepping, younger infants produced much less M1 activity which shifted to diffuse activity by 12 months. Thus, the data suggest that as infants gain goal-directed experience, M1 activity emerges, initially showing a diffuse area of activity, becoming refined as the behavior stabilizes. Our data begin to document the cortical activity underlying early functional skill acquisition. PMID:27096281

  5. Motor Perception Activities for the Kindergarten.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Simpson, Marian

    The manual is designed to provide the physical education teacher or the kindergarten teacher with an orderly sequence of experiences for promoting growth in body awareness, dynamic balance, muscular strength, spatial awareness, and temporal awareness in the 5- and 6-year-old learning disabled child. The 33 weeks of lesson plans are designed for…

  6. Active Learning with Irrelevant Examples

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mazzoni, Dominic; Wagstaff, Kiri L.; Burl, Michael

    2006-01-01

    Active learning algorithms attempt to accelerate the learning process by requesting labels for the most informative items first. In real-world problems, however, there may exist unlabeled items that are irrelevant to the user's classification goals. Queries about these points slow down learning because they provide no information about the problem of interest. We have observed that when irrelevant items are present, active learning can perform worse than random selection, requiring more time (queries) to achieve the same level of accuracy. Therefore, we propose a novel approach, Relevance Bias, in which the active learner combines its default selection heuristic with the output of a simultaneously trained relevance classifier to favor items that are likely to be both informative and relevant. In our experiments on a real-world problem and two benchmark datasets, the Relevance Bias approach significantly improved the learning rate of three different active learning approaches.

  7. Reduced asymmetry in motor skill learning in left-handed compared to right-handed individuals.

    PubMed

    McGrath, Robert L; Kantak, Shailesh S

    2016-02-01

    Hemispheric specialization for motor control influences how individuals perform and adapt to goal-directed movements. In contrast to adaptation, motor skill learning involves a process wherein one learns to synthesize novel movement capabilities in absence of perturbation such that they are performed with greater accuracy, consistency and efficiency. Here, we investigated manual asymmetry in acquisition and retention of a complex motor skill that requires speed and accuracy for optimal performance in right-handed and left-handed individuals. We further determined if degree of handedness influences motor skill learning. Ten right-handed (RH) and 10 left-handed (LH) adults practiced two distinct motor skills with their dominant or nondominant arms during separate sessions two-four weeks apart. Learning was quantified by changes in the speed-accuracy tradeoff function measured at baseline and one-day retention. Manual asymmetry was evident in the RH group but not the LH group. RH group demonstrated significantly greater skill improvement for their dominant-right hand than their nondominant-left hand. In contrast, for the LH group, both dominant and nondominant hands demonstrated comparable learning. Less strongly-LH individuals (lower EHI scores) exhibited more learning of their dominant hand. These results suggest that while hemispheric specialization influences motor skill learning, these effects may be influenced by handedness. PMID:26638046

  8. Reward and reinforcement activity in the nucleus accumbens during learning

    PubMed Central

    Gale, John T.; Shields, Donald C.; Ishizawa, Yumiko; Eskandar, Emad N.

    2014-01-01

    The nucleus accumbens core (NAcc) has been implicated in learning associations between sensory cues and profitable motor responses. However, the precise mechanisms that underlie these functions remain unclear. We recorded single-neuron activity from the NAcc of primates trained to perform a visual-motor associative learning task. During learning, we found two distinct classes of NAcc neurons. The first class demonstrated progressive increases in firing rates at the go-cue, feedback/tone and reward epochs of the task, as novel associations were learned. This suggests that these neurons may play a role in the exploitation of rewarding behaviors. In contrast, the second class exhibited attenuated firing rates, but only at the reward epoch of the task. These findings suggest that some NAcc neurons play a role in reward-based reinforcement during learning. PMID:24765069

  9. Mirror symmetric bimanual movement priming can increase corticomotor excitability and enhance motor learning.

    PubMed

    Byblow, Winston D; Stinear, Cathy M; Smith, Marie-Claire; Bjerre, Lotte; Flaskager, Brian K; McCambridge, Alana B

    2012-01-01

    Repetitive mirror symmetric bilateral upper limb may be a suitable priming technique for upper limb rehabilitation after stroke. Here we demonstrate neurophysiological and behavioural after-effects in healthy participants after priming with 20 minutes of repetitive active-passive bimanual wrist flexion and extension in a mirror symmetric pattern with respect to the body midline (MIR) compared to an control priming condition with alternating flexion-extension (ALT). Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) indicated that corticomotor excitability (CME) of the passive hemisphere remained elevated compared to baseline for at least 30 minutes after MIR but not ALT, evidenced by an increase in the size of motor evoked potentials in ECR and FCR. Short and long-latency intracortical inhibition (SICI, LICI), short afferent inhibition (SAI) and interhemispheric inhibition (IHI) were also examined using pairs of stimuli. LICI differed between patterns, with less LICI after MIR compared with ALT, and an effect of pattern on IHI, with reduced IHI in passive FCR 15 minutes after MIR compared with ALT and baseline. There was no effect of pattern on SAI or FCR H-reflex. Similarly, SICI remained unchanged after 20 minutes of MIR. We then had participants complete a timed manual dexterity motor learning task with the passive hand during, immediately after, and 24 hours after MIR or control priming. The rate of task completion was faster with MIR priming compared to control conditions. Finally, ECR and FCR MEPs were examined within a pre-movement facilitation paradigm of wrist extension before and after MIR. ECR, but not FCR, MEPs were consistently facilitated before and after MIR, demonstrating no degradation of selective muscle activation. In summary, mirror symmetric active-passive bimanual movement increases CME and can enhance motor learning without degradation of muscle selectivity. These findings rationalise the use of mirror symmetric bimanual movement as a priming modality

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

  11. Integrating Motor-Learning Concepts into Physical Education: Using Guided Discovery to Address NASPE Standard 2

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rukavina, Paul B.; Jeansonne, Jennifer J.

    2009-01-01

    K-12 students enter physical education with many naive conceptions or misconceptions of how motor skills are acquired. One goal of physical education is to teach concepts that will help students learn and perform motor skills, but many practitioners don't know how to provide experiences that will teach students to apply their knowledge…

  12. Creative Paradoxical Thinking and Its Implications for Teaching and Learning Motor Skills

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chen, David

    2011-01-01

    A paradox is a statement or situation that involves two or more contradictory, mutually exclusive elements that operate at the same time. This article examines a number of findings in motor-learning and motor-control research and categorizes them into six paradoxes. Based on those research findings, the concept of creative paradoxical thinking is…

  13. A School-Based Movement Programme for Children with Motor Learning Difficulty

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mannisto, Juha-Pekka; Cantell, Marja; Huovinen, Tommi; Kooistra, Libbe; Larkin, Dawne

    2006-01-01

    The study investigated the effectiveness of a school-based movement programme for a population of 5 to 7 year old children. Performance profiles on the Movement ABC were used to classify the children and to assess skill changes over time. Children were assigned to four different groups: motor learning difficulty (n = 10), borderline motor learning…

  14. Learning and Relative Performance on Two and Three Dimensional Visual Cue Perceptual-Motor Tasks.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Glad, Harold L.

    This study evaluates the relationships that exist between three types of visual and perceptual-motor tasks (coincidence-anticipation, tracking with rotary pursuit, and a unique two-dimensional discrete motor task) and investigates the nature of learning demonstrated by the subjects on each of the three tasks. Thirty male students were given 20…

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

  16. Behind Mathematical Learning Disabilities: What about Visual Perception and Motor Skills?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pieters, Stefanie; Desoete, Annemie; Roeyers, Herbert; Vanderswalmen, Ruth; Van Waelvelde, Hilde

    2012-01-01

    In a sample of 39 children with mathematical learning disabilities (MLD) and 106 typically developing controls belonging to three control groups of three different ages, we found that visual perception, motor skills and visual-motor integration explained a substantial proportion of the variance in either number fact retrieval or procedural…

  17. Floriculture. Selected Learning Activity Packages.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clemson Univ., SC. Vocational Education Media Center.

    This series of learning activity packages is based on a catalog of performance objectives, criterion-referenced measures, and performance guides for gardening/groundskeeping developed by the Vocational Education Consortium of States (V-TECS). Learning activity packages are presented in four areas: (1) preparation of soils and planting media, (2)…

  18. Student Perceptions of Active Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lumpkin, Angela; Achen, Rebecca M.; Dodd, Regan K.

    2015-01-01

    A paradigm shift from lecture-based courses to interactive classes punctuated with engaging, student-centered learning activities has begun to characterize the work of some teachers in higher education. Convinced through the literature of the values of using active learning strategies, we assessed through an action research project in five college…

  19. In Defense of Active Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pica, Rae

    2008-01-01

    Effective early childhood teachers use what they know about and have observed in young children to design programs to meet children's developmental needs. Play and active learning are key tools to address those needs and facilitate children's early education. In this article, the author discusses the benefits of active learning in the education of…

  20. CONTEXTUAL INTERFERENCE AND INTROVERSION/EXTRAVERSION IN MOTOR LEARNING.

    PubMed

    Meira, Cassio M; Fairbrother, Jeffrey T; Perez, Carlos R

    2015-10-01

    The Introversion/Extraversion dimension may interact with contextual interference, as random and blocked practice schedules imply distinct levels of variation. This study investigated the effect of different practice schedules in the acquisition of a motor skill in extraverts and introverts. Forty male undergraduate students (M = 24.3 yr., SD = 5.6) were classified as extraverts (n = 20) and introverts (n = 20) by the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire and allocated in one of two practice schedules with different levels of contextual interference: blocked (low contextual interference) and random (high contextual interference). Half of each group was assigned to a blocked practice schedule, and the other half was assigned to a random practice schedule. The design had two phases: acquisition and transfer (5 min. and 24 hr.). The participants learned variations of a sequential timing keypressing task. Each variation required the same sequence but different timing; three variations were used in acquisition, and one variation of intermediate length was used in transfer. Results for absolute error and overall timing error (root mean square error) indicated that the contextual interference effect was more pronounced for introverts. In addition, introverts who practiced according to the blocked schedule committed more errors during the 24-hr. transfer, suggesting that introverts did not appear to be challenged by a low contextual interference practice schedule. PMID:26447746

  1. Daytime sleep has no effect on the time course of motor sequence and visuomotor adaptation learning.

    PubMed

    Backhaus, Winifried; Braaß, Hanna; Renné, Thomas; Krüger, Christian; Gerloff, Christian; Hummel, Friedhelm C

    2016-05-01

    Sleep has previously been claimed to be essential for the continued learning processes of declarative information as well as procedural learning. This study was conducted to examine the importance of sleep, especially the effects of midday naps, on motor sequence and visuomotor adaptation learning. Thirty-five (27 females) healthy, young adults aged between 18 and 30years of age participated in the current study. Addressing potential differences in explicit sequence and motor adaptation learning participants were asked to learn both, a nine-element explicit sequence and a motor adaptation task, in a crossover fashion on two consecutive days. Both tasks were performed with their non-dominant left hand. Prior to learning, each participant was randomized to one of three interventions; (1) power nap: 10-20min sleep, (2) long nap: 50-80min sleep or (3) a 45-min wake-condition. Performance of the motor learning task took place prior to and after a midday rest period, as well as after a night of sleep. Both sleep conditions were dominated by Stage N2 sleep with embedded sleep spindles, which have been described to be associated with enhancement of motor performance. Significant performance changes were observed in both tasks across all interventions (sleep and wake) confirming that learning took place. In the present setup, the magnitude of motor learning was not sleep-dependent in young adults - no differences between the intervention groups (short nap, long nap, no nap) could be found. The effect of the following night of sleep was not influenced by the previous midday rest or sleep period. This finding may be related to the selectiveness of the human brain enhancing especially memory being thought of as important in the future. Previous findings on motor learning enhancing effects of sleep, especially of daytime sleep, are challenged. PMID:27021017

  2. Mushroom bodies enhance initial motor activity in Drosophila.

    PubMed

    Serway, Christine N; Kaufman, Rebecca R; Strauss, Roland; de Belle, J Steven

    2009-01-01

    The central body (or central complex, CCX) and the mushroom bodies (MBs) are brain structures in most insect phyla that have been shown to influence aspects of locomotion. The CCX regulates motor coordination and enhances activity while MBs have, thus far, been shown to suppress motor activity levels measured over time intervals ranging from hours to weeks. In this report, we investigate MB involvement in motor behavior during the initial stages (15 minutes) of walking in Buridan's paradigm. We measured aspects of walking in flies that had MB lesions induced by mutations in six different genes and by chemical ablation. All tested flies were later examined histologically to assess MB neuroanatomy. Mutant strains with MB structural defects were generally less active in walking than wild-type flies. Most mutants in which MBs were also ablated with hydroxyurea (HU) showed additional activity decrements. Variation in measures of velocity and orientation to landmarks among wild-type and mutant flies was attributed to pleiotropy, rather than to MB lesions. We conclude that MBs upregulate activity during the initial stages of walking, but suppress activity thereafter. An MB influence on decision making has been shown in a wide range of complex behaviors. We suggest that MBs provide appropriate contextual information to motor output systems in the brain, indirectly fine tuning walking by modifying the quantity (i.e., activity) of behavior. PMID:19145515

  3. Terminology, Taxonomy, and Facilitation of Motor Learning in Clinical Practice: Protocol of a Delphi Study

    PubMed Central

    Bleijlevens, Michel HC; Beurskens, Anna JHM; Rasquin, Sascha M; Halfens, Jos; Wilson, Mark R; Masters, Rich S; Lexis, Monique A; Braun, Susy M

    2013-01-01

    Background Facilitating motor learning in patients during clinical practice is complex, especially in people with cognitive impairments. General principles of motor learning are available for therapists to use in their practice. However, the translation of evidence from the different fields of motor learning for use in clinical practice is problematic due to lack of uniformity in definition and taxonomy of terms related to motor learning. Objective The objective of this paper was to describe the design of a Delphi technique to reach consensus on definitions, descriptions, and taxonomy used within motor learning and to explore experts’ opinions and experiences on the application of motor learning in practice. Methods A heterogeneous sample of at least 30 international experts on motor learning will be recruited. Their opinions regarding several central topics on motor learning using a Delphi technique will be collected in 3 sequential rounds. The questionnaires in the 3 rounds will be developed based on the literature and answers of experts from earlier rounds. Consensus will be reached when at least 70% of the experts agree on a certain topic. Free text comments and answers from open questions on opinions and experiences will be described and clustered into themes. Results This study is currently ongoing. It is financially supported by Stichting Alliantie Innovatie (Innovation Alliance Foundation), RAAK-international (Registration number: 2011-3-33int). Conclusions The results of this study will enable us to summarize and categorize expert knowledge and experiences in a format that should be more accessible for therapists to use in support of their clinical practice. Unresolved aspects will direct future research. PMID:23685621

  4. Gross Motor Engrams: An Important Spatial Learning Modality for Preschool Visually Handicapped Children. Vol. 1, No. 9.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Whitcraft, Carol

    Investigations and theories concerning interrelationships of motoric experiences, perceptual-motor skills, and learning are reviewed, with emphasis on early engramming of form and space concepts. Covered are studies on haptic perception of form, the matching of perceptual data and motor information, Kephart's perceptual-motor theory, and…

  5. Motor Skill Learning Induces Changes in White Matter Microstructure and Myelination

    PubMed Central

    Sampaio-Baptista, Cassandra; Khrapitchev, Alexandre A.; Foxley, Sean; Schlagheck, Theresa; Scholz, Jan; Jbabdi, Saad; DeLuca, Gabriele C.; Miller, Karla L.; Taylor, Amy; Thomas, Nagheme; Kleim, Jeffrey; Sibson, Nicola R.; Bannerman, David

    2013-01-01

    Learning a novel motor skill is associated with well characterized structural and functional plasticity in the rodent motor cortex. Furthermore, neuroimaging studies of visuomotor learning in humans have suggested that structural plasticity can occur in white matter (WM), but the biological basis for such changes is unclear. We assessed the influence of motor skill learning on WM structure within sensorimotor cortex using both diffusion MRI fractional anisotropy (FA) and quantitative immunohistochemistry. Seventy-two adult (male) rats were randomly assigned to one of three conditions (skilled reaching, unskilled reaching, and caged control). After 11 d of training, postmortem diffusion MRI revealed significantly higher FA in the skilled reaching group compared with the control groups, specifically in the WM subjacent to the sensorimotor cortex contralateral to the trained limb. In addition, within the skilled reaching group, FA across widespread regions of WM in the contralateral hemisphere correlated significantly with learning rate. Immunohistological analysis conducted on a subset of 24 animals (eight per group) revealed significantly increased myelin staining in the WM underlying motor cortex in the hemisphere contralateral (but not ipsilateral) to the trained limb for the skilled learning group versus the control groups. Within the trained hemisphere (but not the untrained hemisphere), myelin staining density correlated significantly with learning rate. Our results suggest that learning a novel motor skill induces structural change in task-relevant WM pathways and that these changes may in part reflect learning-related increases in myelination. PMID:24336716

  6. Motor skill learning induces changes in white matter microstructure and myelination.

    PubMed

    Sampaio-Baptista, Cassandra; Khrapitchev, Alexandre A; Foxley, Sean; Schlagheck, Theresa; Scholz, Jan; Jbabdi, Saad; DeLuca, Gabriele C; Miller, Karla L; Taylor, Amy; Thomas, Nagheme; Kleim, Jeffrey; Sibson, Nicola R; Bannerman, David; Johansen-Berg, Heidi

    2013-12-11

    Learning a novel motor skill is associated with well characterized structural and functional plasticity in the rodent motor cortex. Furthermore, neuroimaging studies of visuomotor learning in humans have suggested that structural plasticity can occur in white matter (WM), but the biological basis for such changes is unclear. We assessed the influence of motor skill learning on WM structure within sensorimotor cortex using both diffusion MRI fractional anisotropy (FA) and quantitative immunohistochemistry. Seventy-two adult (male) rats were randomly assigned to one of three conditions (skilled reaching, unskilled reaching, and caged control). After 11 d of training, postmortem diffusion MRI revealed significantly higher FA in the skilled reaching group compared with the control groups, specifically in the WM subjacent to the sensorimotor cortex contralateral to the trained limb. In addition, within the skilled reaching group, FA across widespread regions of WM in the contralateral hemisphere correlated significantly with learning rate. Immunohistological analysis conducted on a subset of 24 animals (eight per group) revealed significantly increased myelin staining in the WM underlying motor cortex in the hemisphere contralateral (but not ipsilateral) to the trained limb for the skilled learning group versus the control groups. Within the trained hemisphere (but not the untrained hemisphere), myelin staining density correlated significantly with learning rate. Our results suggest that learning a novel motor skill induces structural change in task-relevant WM pathways and that these changes may in part reflect learning-related increases in myelination. PMID:24336716

  7. Automatic motor activation in the executive control of action

    PubMed Central

    McBride, Jennifer; Boy, Frédéric; Husain, Masud; Sumner, Petroc

    2012-01-01

    Although executive control and automatic behavior have often been considered separate and distinct processes, there is strong emerging and convergent evidence that they may in fact be intricately interlinked. In this review, we draw together evidence showing that visual stimuli cause automatic and unconscious motor activation, and how this in turn has implications for executive control. We discuss object affordances, alien limb syndrome, the visual grasp reflex, subliminal priming, and subliminal triggering of attentional orienting. Consideration of these findings suggests automatic motor activation might form an intrinsic part of all behavior, rather than being categorically different from voluntary actions. PMID:22536177

  8. Motor Skill Learning Is Associated with Phase-Dependent Modifications in the Striatal cAMP/PKA/DARPP-32 Signaling Pathway in Rodents

    PubMed Central

    Qian, Yu; Forssberg, Hans; Diaz Heijtz, Rochellys

    2015-01-01

    Abundant evidence points to a key role of dopamine in motor skill learning, although the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms are still poorly understood. Here, we used a skilled-reaching paradigm to first examine changes in the expression of the plasticity-related gene Arc to map activity in cortico-striatal circuitry during different phases of motor skill learning in young animals. In the early phase, Arc mRNA was significantly induced in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), cingulate cortex, primary motor cortex, and striatum. In the late phase, expression of Arc did not change in most regions, except in the mPFC and dorsal striatum. In the second series of experiments, we studied the learning-induced changes in the phosphorylation state of dopamine and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein, 32k Da (DARPP-32). Western blot analysis of the phosphorylation state of DARPP-32 and its downstream target cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) in the striatum revealed that the early, but not late, phase of motor skill learning was associated with increased levels of phospho-Thr34-DARPP-32 and phospho-Ser133-CREB. Finally, we used the DARPP-32 knock-in mice with a point mutation in the Thr34 regulatory site (i.e., protein kinase A site) to test the significance of this pathway in motor skill learning. In accordance with our hypothesis, inhibition of DARPP-32 activity at the Thr34 regulatory site strongly attenuated the motor learning rate and skilled reaching performance of mice. These findings suggest that the cAMP/PKA/DARPP-32 signaling pathway is critically involved in the acquisition of novel motor skills, and also demonstrate a dynamic shift in the contribution of cortico-striatal circuitry during different phases of motor skill learning. PMID:26488498

  9. Active, motor-driven mechanics in a DNA gel

    PubMed Central

    Bertrand, Olivier J. N.; Fygenson, Deborah Kuchnir; Saleh, Omar A.

    2012-01-01

    Cells are capable of a variety of dramatic stimuli-responsive mechanical behaviors. These capabilities are enabled by the pervading cytoskeletal network, an active gel composed of structural filaments (e.g., actin) that are acted upon by motor proteins (e.g., myosin). Here, we describe the synthesis and characterization of an active gel using noncytoskeletal components. We use methods of base-pair-templated DNA self assembly to create a hybrid DNA gel containing stiff tubes and flexible linkers. We then activate the gel by adding the motor FtsK50C, a construct derived from the bacterial protein FtsK that, in vitro, has a strong and processive DNA contraction activity. The motors stiffen the gel and create stochastic contractile events that affect the positions of attached beads. We quantify the fluctuations of the beads and show that they are comparable both to measurements of cytoskeletal systems and to theoretical predictions for active gels. Thus, we present a DNA-based active gel whose behavior highlights the universal aspects of nonequilibrium, motor-driven networks. PMID:23045635

  10. Reduced respiratory neural activity elicits phrenic motor facilitation.

    PubMed

    Mahamed, Safraaz; Strey, Kristi A; Mitchell, Gordon S; Baker-Herman, Tracy L

    2011-03-15

    We hypothesized that reduced respiratory neural activity elicits compensatory mechanisms of plasticity that enhance respiratory motor output. In urethane-anesthetized and ventilated rats, we reversibly reduced respiratory neural activity for 25-30 min using: hypocapnia (end tidal CO(2)=30 mmHg), isoflurane (~1%) or high frequency ventilation (HFV; ~100 breaths/min). In all cases, increased phrenic burst amplitude was observed following restoration of respiratory neural activity (hypocapnia: 92±22%; isoflurane: 65±22%; HFV: 54±13% baseline), which was significantly greater than time controls receiving the same surgery, but no interruptions in respiratory neural activity (3±5% baseline, p<0.05). Hypocapnia also elicited transient increases in respiratory burst frequency (9±2 versus 1±1bursts/min, p<0.05). Our results suggest that reduced respiratory neural activity elicits a unique form of plasticity in respiratory motor control which we refer to as inactivity-induced phrenic motor facilitation (iPMF). iPMF may prevent catastrophic decreases in respiratory motor output during ventilatory control disorders associated with abnormal respiratory activity. PMID:21167322

  11. Reduced respiratory neural activity elicits phrenic motor facilitation

    PubMed Central

    Mahamed, Safraaz; Strey, Kristi A.; Mitchell, Gordon S.; Baker-Herman, Tracy L.

    2011-01-01

    We hypothesized that reduced respiratory neural activity elicits compensatory mechanisms of plasticity that enhance respiratory motor output. In urethane-anesthetized and ventilated rats, we reversibly reduced respiratory neural activity for 25–30 min using: hypocapnia (end tidal CO2 = 30 mmHg), isoflurane (~ 1%) or high frequency ventilation (HFV; ~100 breaths/min). In all cases, increased phrenic burst amplitude was observed following restoration of respiratory neural activity (hypocapnia: 92 ± 22%; isoflurane: 65 ± 22%; HFV: 54 ± 13% baseline), which was significantly greater than time controls receiving the same surgery, but no interruptions in respiratory neural activity (3 ± 5% baseline, p<0.05). Hypocapnia also elicited transient increases in respiratory burst frequency (9 ± 2 versus 1 ± 1 bursts/min, p<0.05). Our results suggest that reduced respiratory neural activity elicits a unique form of plasticity in respiratory motor control which we refer to as inactivity-induced phrenic motor facilitation (iPMF). iPMF may prevent catastrophic decreases in respiratory motor output during ventilatory control disorders associated with abnormal respiratory activity. PMID:21167322

  12. Differences in cortical activity related to motor planning between experienced guitarists and non-musicians during guitar playing.

    PubMed

    Wright, David J; Holmes, Paul S; Di Russo, Francesco; Loporto, Michela; Smith, Dave

    2012-06-01

    The influence of motor skill learning on movement-related brain activity was investigated using electroencephalography. Previous research has indicated that experienced performers display movement-related cortical potentials (MRCPs) of smaller amplitude and later onset compared to novices. Unfortunately, previous studies have lacked ecological validity with experimenters recording the MRCP prior to simple motor tasks and applying the results to more complex motor skills. This study replicated previous research using an ecologically valid motor skill; recording the MRCP from a group of experienced guitarists and a control group of non-musicians while they played a simple scale on the guitar. Results indicated no difference between groups in early motor planning. In contrast, the later, negative slope and motor potential components were of smaller amplitude and the negative slope began later in the experienced guitarists. The data may indicate that, for experienced guitarists, a reduced level of effort is required during the motor preparation phase of the task. These findings have implications for musical instrument learning as well as motor skill acquisition in general. PMID:21899906

  13. Laterality effects in motor learning by mental practice in right-handers.

    PubMed

    Gentili, R J; Papaxanthis, C

    2015-06-25

    Converging evidences suggest that mental movement simulation and actual movement production share similar neurocognitive and learning processes. Although a large body of data is available in the literature regarding mental states involving the dominant arm, examinations for the nondominant arm are sparse. Does mental training, through motor-imagery practice, with the dominant arm or the nondominant arm is equally efficient for motor learning? In the current study, we investigated laterality effects in motor learning by motor-imagery practice. Four groups of right-hander adults mentally and physically performed as fast and accurately as possible (speed/accuracy trade-off paradigm) successive reaching movements with their dominant or nondominant arm (physical-training-dominant-arm, mental-training-dominant-arm, physical-training-nondominant-arm, and mental-training-nondominant-arm groups). Movement time was recorded and analyzed before, during, and after the training sessions. We found that physical and mental practice had a positive effect on the motor performance (i.e., decrease in movement time) of both arms through similar learning process (i.e., similar exponential learning curves). However, movement time reduction in the posttest session was significantly higher after physical practice than motor-imagery practice for both arms. More importantly, motor-imagery practice with the dominant arm resulted in larger and more robust improvements in movement speed compared to motor-imagery practice with the nondominant arm. No such improvements were observed in the control group. Our results suggest a superiority of the dominant arm in motor learning by mental practice. We discussed these findings from the perspective of the internal models theory. PMID:25797464

  14. Lost for emotion words: what motor and limbic brain activity reveals about autism and semantic theory.

    PubMed

    Moseley, Rachel L; Shtyrov, Yury; Mohr, Bettina; Lombardo, Michael V; Baron-Cohen, Simon; Pulvermüller, Friedemann

    2015-01-01

    Autism spectrum conditions (ASC) are characterised by deficits in understanding and expressing emotions and are frequently accompanied by alexithymia, a difficulty in understanding and expressing emotion words. Words are differentially represented in the brain according to their semantic category and these difficulties in ASC predict reduced activation to emotion-related words in limbic structures crucial for affective processing. Semantic theories view 'emotion actions' as critical for learning the semantic relationship between a word and the emotion it describes, such that emotion words typically activate the cortical motor systems involved in expressing emotion actions such as facial expressions. As ASC are also characterised by motor deficits and atypical brain structure and function in these regions, motor structures would also be expected to show reduced activation during emotion-semantic processing. Here we used event-related fMRI to compare passive processing of emotion words in comparison to abstract verbs and animal names in typically-developing controls and individuals with ASC. Relatively reduced brain activation in ASC for emotion words, but not matched control words, was found in motor areas and cingulate cortex specifically. The degree of activation evoked by emotion words in the motor system was also associated with the extent of autistic traits as revealed by the Autism Spectrum Quotient. We suggest that hypoactivation of motor and limbic regions for emotion word processing may underlie difficulties in processing emotional language in ASC. The role that sensorimotor systems and their connections might play in the affective and social-communication difficulties in ASC is discussed. PMID:25278250

  15. Lost for emotion words: What motor and limbic brain activity reveals about autism and semantic theory

    PubMed Central

    Moseley, Rachel L.; Shtyrov, Yury; Mohr, Bettina; Lombardo, Michael V.; Baron-Cohen, Simon; Pulvermüller, Friedemann

    2015-01-01

    Autism spectrum conditions (ASC) are characterised by deficits in understanding and expressing emotions and are frequently accompanied by alexithymia, a difficulty in understanding and expressing emotion words. Words are differentially represented in the brain according to their semantic category and these difficulties in ASC predict reduced activation to emotion-related words in limbic structures crucial for affective processing. Semantic theories view ‘emotion actions’ as critical for learning the semantic relationship between a word and the emotion it describes, such that emotion words typically activate the cortical motor systems involved in expressing emotion actions such as facial expressions. As ASC are also characterised by motor deficits and atypical brain structure and function in these regions, motor structures would also be expected to show reduced activation during emotion-semantic processing. Here we used event-related fMRI to compare passive processing of emotion words in comparison to abstract verbs and animal names in typically-developing controls and individuals with ASC. Relatively reduced brain activation in ASC for emotion words, but not matched control words, was found in motor areas and cingulate cortex specifically. The degree of activation evoked by emotion words in the motor system was also associated with the extent of autistic traits as revealed by the Autism Spectrum Quotient. We suggest that hypoactivation of motor and limbic regions for emotion word processing may underlie difficulties in processing emotional language in ASC. The role that sensorimotor systems and their connections might play in the affective and social-communication difficulties in ASC is discussed. PMID:25278250

  16. Learning and Active Aging

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Boulton-Lewis, Gillian M.; Buys, Laurie; Lovie-Kitchin, Jan

    2006-01-01

    Learning is an important aspect of aging productively. This paper describes results from 2645 respondents (aged from 50 to 74+ years) to a 165-variable postal survey in Australia. The focus is on learning and its relation to work; social, spiritual, and emotional status; health; vision; home; life events; and demographic details. Clustering…

  17. THE ORIGIN OF SEGMENTATION MOTOR ACTIVITY IN THE INTESTINE

    PubMed Central

    Huizinga, Jan D.; Chen, Ji-Hong; Zhu, Yong Fang; Pawelka, Andrew; McGinn, Ryan J.; Bardakjian, Berj L.; Parsons, Sean P.; Kunze, Wolfgang A.; Wu, Richard You; Bercik, Premysl; Khoshdel, Amir; Chen, Sifeng; Yin, Sheng; Zhang, Qian; Yu, Yuanjie; Gao, Qingmin; Li, Kongling; Hu, Xinghai; Zarate, Natalia; Collins, Phillip; Pistilli, Marc; Ma, Junling; Zhang, Ruixue; Chen, David

    2016-01-01

    The segmentation motor activity of the gut that facilitates absorption of nutrients, was first described in the late 19th century but the fundamental mechanisms underlying it remain poorly understood. The dominant theory suggests alternate excitation and inhibition from the enteric nervous system. Here we demonstrate that typical segmentation can occur after total nerve blockade. The segmentation motor pattern emerges when the amplitude of the dominant pacemaker, the slow wave generated by ICC associated with the myenteric plexus (ICC-MP), is modulated by the phase of induced lower frequency rhythmic transient depolarizations, generated by ICC associated with the deep muscular plexus (ICC-DMP), resulting in a waxing and waning of the amplitude of the slow wave and a rhythmic checkered pattern of segmentation motor activity. Phase amplitude modulation of the slow waves points to an underlying system of coupled nonlinear oscillators originating in ICC. PMID:24561718

  18. Abstract art and cortical motor activation: an EEG study

    PubMed Central

    Umilta', M. Alessandra; Berchio, Cristina; Sestito, Mariateresa; Freedberg, David; Gallese, Vittorio

    2012-01-01

    The role of the motor system in the perception of visual art remains to be better understood. Earlier studies on the visual perception of abstract art (from Gestalt theory, as in Arnheim, 1954 and 1988, to balance preference studies as in Locher and Stappers, 2002, and more recent work by Locher et al., 2007; Redies, 2007, and Taylor et al., 2011), neglected the question, while the field of neuroesthetics (Ramachandran and Hirstein, 1999; Zeki, 1999) mostly concentrated on figurative works. Much recent work has demonstrated the multimodality of vision, encompassing the activation of motor, somatosensory, and viscero-motor brain regions. The present study investigated whether the observation of high-resolution digitized static images of abstract paintings by Lucio Fontana is associated with specific cortical motor activation in the beholder's brain. Mu rhythm suppression was evoked by the observation of original art works but not by control stimuli (as in the case of graphically modified versions of these works). Most interestingly, previous visual exposure to the stimuli did not affect the mu rhythm suppression induced by their observation. The present results clearly show the involvement of the cortical motor system in the viewing of static abstract art works. PMID:23162456

  19. Molecular Mapping of Movement-Associated Areas in the Avian Brain: A Motor Theory for Vocal Learning Origin

    PubMed Central

    Feenders, Gesa; Liedvogel, Miriam; Rivas, Miriam; Zapka, Manuela; Horita, Haruhito; Hara, Erina; Wada, Kazuhiro; Mouritsen, Henrik; Jarvis, Erich D.

    2008-01-01

    Vocal learning is a critical behavioral substrate for spoken human language. It is a rare trait found in three distantly related groups of birds-songbirds, hummingbirds, and parrots. These avian groups have remarkably similar systems of cerebral vocal nuclei for the control of learned vocalizations that are not found in their more closely related vocal non-learning relatives. These findings led to the hypothesis that brain pathways for vocal learning in different groups evolved independently from a common ancestor but under pre-existing constraints. Here, we suggest one constraint, a pre-existing system for movement control. Using behavioral molecular mapping, we discovered that in songbirds, parrots, and hummingbirds, all cerebral vocal learning nuclei are adjacent to discrete brain areas active during limb and body movements. Similar to the relationships between vocal nuclei activation and singing, activation in the adjacent areas correlated with the amount of movement performed and was independent of auditory and visual input. These same movement-associated brain areas were also present in female songbirds that do not learn vocalizations and have atrophied cerebral vocal nuclei, and in ring doves that are vocal non-learners and do not have cerebral vocal nuclei. A compilation of previous neural tracing experiments in songbirds suggests that the movement-associated areas are connected in a network that is in parallel with the adjacent vocal learning system. This study is the first global mapping that we are aware for movement-associated areas of the avian cerebrum and it indicates that brain systems that control vocal learning in distantly related birds are directly adjacent to brain systems involved in movement control. Based upon these findings, we propose a motor theory for the origin of vocal learning, this being that the brain areas specialized for vocal learning in vocal learners evolved as a specialization of a pre-existing motor pathway that controls

  20. Implicit Motor Sequence Learning and Working Memory Performance Changes Across the Adult Life Span.

    PubMed

    Meissner, Sarah Nadine; Keitel, Ariane; Südmeyer, Martin; Pollok, Bettina

    2016-01-01

    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 (SRTT). 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. PMID:27199736

  1. Implicit Motor Sequence Learning and Working Memory Performance Changes Across the Adult Life Span

    PubMed Central

    Meissner, Sarah Nadine; Keitel, Ariane; Südmeyer, Martin; Pollok, Bettina

    2016-01-01

    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 (SRTT). 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. PMID:27199736

  2. New Directions for Understanding Neural Control in Swallowing: The Potential and Promise of Motor Learning

    PubMed Central

    Humbert, Ianessa A.

    2013-01-01

    Oropharyngeal swallowing is a complex sensorimotor phenomenon that has had decades of research dedicated to understanding it more thoroughly. However, the underlying neural mechanisms responsible for normal and disordered swallowing remain very vague. We consider this gap in knowledge the result of swallowing research that has been broad (identifying phenomena) but not deep (identifying what controls the phenomena). The goals of this review are to address the complexity of motor control of oropharyngeal swallowing and to review the principles of motor learning based on limb movements as a model system. We compare this literature on limb motor learning to what is known about oropharyngeal function as a first step toward suggesting the use of motor learning principles in swallowing research. PMID:23192633

  3. New directions for understanding neural control in swallowing: the potential and promise of motor learning.

    PubMed

    Humbert, Ianessa A; German, Rebecca Z

    2013-03-01

    Oropharyngeal swallowing is a complex sensorimotor phenomenon that has had decades of research dedicated to understanding it more thoroughly. However, the underlying neural mechanisms responsible for normal and disordered swallowing remain very vague. We consider this gap in knowledge the result of swallowing research that has been broad (identifying phenomena) but not deep (identifying what controls the phenomena). The goals of this review are to address the complexity of motor control of oropharyngeal swallowing and to review the principles of motor learning based on limb movements as a model system. We compare this literature on limb motor learning to what is known about oropharyngeal function as a first step toward suggesting the use of motor learning principles in swallowing research. PMID:23192633

  4. Recreational Activities and Motor Skills of Children in Kindergarten

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Temple, Viviene A.; Crane, Jeff R.; Brown, Amy; Williams, Buffy-Lynne; Bell, Rick I.

    2016-01-01

    Background: Developmental theorists suggest that physical activity during early childhood promotes fundamental motor skill (FMS) proficiency; and that differences in FMS proficiency are largely related to children's experiences. Aim: To examine associations between participation in different types of recreation/leisure and FMS proficiency of boys…

  5. Sport and Other Motor Activities of Warsaw Students

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Biernat, Elzbieta

    2011-01-01

    Study aim: To assess the engagement of students of Warsaw university schools in sports and in recreational motor activities. Material and methods: A cohort (n = 1100) of students attending B.S. or M.S. courses at 6 university schools in Warsaw were studied by applying questionnaire techniques. The questions pertained to participation in…

  6. Face Preference in Infancy and Its Relation to Motor Activity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Libertus, Klaus; Needham, Amy

    2014-01-01

    Infants' preference for faces was investigated in a cross-sectional sample of 75 children, aged 3 to 11 months, and 23 adults. A visual preference paradigm was used where pairs of faces and toys were presented side-by-side while eye gaze was recorded. In addition, motor activity was assessed via parent report and the relation between motor…

  7. 40 CFR 798.6200 - Motor activity.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... addition to the reporting requirements specified under 40 CFR part 792, subpart J the final test report... activity,” Handbook of Psychopharmacology. Vol. 7. Eds. Iversen, L.L., Iversen, D.S., Snyder, S.H....

  8. 40 CFR 798.6200 - Motor activity.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... addition to the reporting requirements specified under 40 CFR part 792, subpart J the final test report... activity,” Handbook of Psychopharmacology. Vol. 7. Eds. Iversen, L.L., Iversen, D.S., Snyder, S.H....

  9. 40 CFR 798.6200 - Motor activity.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... addition to the reporting requirements specified under 40 CFR part 792, subpart J the final test report... activity,” Handbook of Psychopharmacology. Vol. 7. Eds. Iversen, L.L., Iversen, D.S., Snyder, S.H....

  10. 40 CFR 798.6200 - Motor activity.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... addition to the reporting requirements specified under 40 CFR part 792, subpart J the final test report... activity,” Handbook of Psychopharmacology. Vol. 7. Eds. Iversen, L.L., Iversen, D.S., Snyder, S.H....

  11. 40 CFR 798.6200 - Motor activity.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... addition to the reporting requirements specified under 40 CFR part 792, subpart J the final test report... activity,” Handbook of Psychopharmacology. Vol. 7. Eds. Iversen, L.L., Iversen, D.S., Snyder, S.H....

  12. Measuring Motor Skill Learning--A Practical Application

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kovacs, Christopher R.

    2008-01-01

    The assessment of fundamental motor skills in early learners is critical to the overall well-being and physical development of the students within the physical education setting. Olrich (2002) has suggested that any physical education program must be designed to assess both measures of physical fitness and fundamental motor skills in all students.…

  13. High-frequency TRNS reduces BOLD activity during visuomotor learning.

    PubMed

    Saiote, Catarina; Polanía, Rafael; Rosenberger, Konstantin; Paulus, Walter; Antal, Andrea

    2013-01-01

    Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) consist in the application of electrical current of small intensity through the scalp, able to modulate perceptual and motor learning, probably by changing brain excitability. We investigated the effects of these transcranial electrical stimulation techniques in the early and later stages of visuomotor learning, as well as associated brain activity changes using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We applied anodal and cathodal tDCS, low-frequency and high-frequency tRNS (lf-tRNS, 0.1-100 Hz; hf-tRNS 101-640 Hz, respectively) and sham stimulation over the primary motor cortex (M1) during the first 10 minutes of a visuomotor learning paradigm and measured performance changes for 20 minutes after stimulation ceased. Functional imaging scans were acquired throughout the whole experiment. Cathodal tDCS and hf-tRNS showed a tendency to improve and lf-tRNS to hinder early learning during stimulation, an effect that remained for 20 minutes after cessation of stimulation in the late learning phase. Motor learning-related activity decreased in several regions as reported previously, however, there was no significant modulation of brain activity by tDCS. In opposition to this, hf-tRNS was associated with reduced motor task-related-activity bilaterally in the frontal cortex and precuneous, probably due to interaction with ongoing neuronal oscillations. This result highlights the potential of lf-tRNS and hf-tRNS to differentially modulate visuomotor learning and advances our knowledge on neuroplasticity induction approaches combined with functional imaging methods. PMID:23527247

  14. Neural correlates of learning in an electrocorticographic motor-imagery brain-computer interface

    PubMed Central

    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

  15. 3D visualization of movements can amplify motor cortex activation during subsequent motor imagery.

    PubMed

    Sollfrank, Teresa; Hart, Daniel; Goodsell, Rachel; Foster, Jonathan; Tan, Tele

    2015-01-01

    A repetitive movement practice by motor imagery (MI) can influence motor cortical excitability in the electroencephalogram (EEG). This study investigated if a realistic visualization in 3D of upper and lower limb movements can amplify motor related potentials during subsequent MI. We hypothesized that a richer sensory visualization might be more effective during instrumental conditioning, resulting in a more pronounced event related desynchronization (ERD) of the upper alpha band (10-12 Hz) over the sensorimotor cortices thereby potentially improving MI based brain-computer interface (BCI) protocols for motor rehabilitation. The results show a strong increase of the characteristic patterns of ERD of the upper alpha band components for left and right limb MI present over the sensorimotor areas in both visualization conditions. Overall, significant differences were observed as a function of visualization modality (VM; 2D vs. 3D). The largest upper alpha band power decrease was obtained during MI after a 3-dimensional visualization. In total in 12 out of 20 tasks the end-user of the 3D visualization group showed an enhanced upper alpha ERD relative to 2D VM group, with statistical significance in nine tasks.With a realistic visualization of the limb movements, we tried to increase motor cortex activation during subsequent MI. The feedback and the feedback environment should be inherently motivating and relevant for the learner and should have an appeal of novelty, real-world relevance or aesthetic value (Ryan and Deci, 2000; Merrill, 2007). Realistic visual feedback, consistent with the participant's MI, might be helpful for accomplishing successful MI and the use of such feedback may assist in making BCI a more natural interface for MI based BCI rehabilitation. PMID:26347642

  16. 3D visualization of movements can amplify motor cortex activation during subsequent motor imagery

    PubMed Central

    Sollfrank, Teresa; Hart, Daniel; Goodsell, Rachel; Foster, Jonathan; Tan, Tele

    2015-01-01

    A repetitive movement practice by motor imagery (MI) can influence motor cortical excitability in the electroencephalogram (EEG). This study investigated if a realistic visualization in 3D of upper and lower limb movements can amplify motor related potentials during subsequent MI. We hypothesized that a richer sensory visualization might be more effective during instrumental conditioning, resulting in a more pronounced event related desynchronization (ERD) of the upper alpha band (10–12 Hz) over the sensorimotor cortices thereby potentially improving MI based brain-computer interface (BCI) protocols for motor rehabilitation. The results show a strong increase of the characteristic patterns of ERD of the upper alpha band components for left and right limb MI present over the sensorimotor areas in both visualization conditions. Overall, significant differences were observed as a function of visualization modality (VM; 2D vs. 3D). The largest upper alpha band power decrease was obtained during MI after a 3-dimensional visualization. In total in 12 out of 20 tasks the end-user of the 3D visualization group showed an enhanced upper alpha ERD relative to 2D VM group, with statistical significance in nine tasks.With a realistic visualization of the limb movements, we tried to increase motor cortex activation during subsequent MI. The feedback and the feedback environment should be inherently motivating and relevant for the learner and should have an appeal of novelty, real-world relevance or aesthetic value (Ryan and Deci, 2000; Merrill, 2007). Realistic visual feedback, consistent with the participant’s MI, might be helpful for accomplishing successful MI and the use of such feedback may assist in making BCI a more natural interface for MI based BCI rehabilitation. PMID:26347642

  17. Done that: short-term repetition related modulations of motor cortex activity as a stable signature for overnight motor memory consolidation.

    PubMed

    Gabitov, Ella; Manor, David; Karni, Avi

    2014-12-01

    An almost universally accepted tacit expectation is that learning and memory consolidation processes must be reflected in the average brain activity in brain areas relevant to task performance. Motor cortex (M1) plasticity has been implicated in motor skill acquisition and its consolidation. Nevertheless, no consistent pattern of changes in the average signal, related to motor learning or motor memory consolidation following a single session of training, has emerged from imaging studies. Here we show that the pattern and magnitude of short-term brain activity modulations in response to task repetition, in M1, may provide a robust signature for effective motor memory consolidation processes. We studied participants during the paced performance of a finger-to-thumb opposition sequence (FOS), intensively trained a day earlier, and a similarly constructed untrained FOS. In addition to within-session "on-line" gains, most participants expressed delayed, consolidation-phase gains in the performance of the trained FOS. The execution of the trained FOS induced repetition enhancements in the contralateral M1 and bilaterally in the medial-temporal lobes, offsetting novelty-related repetition suppression effects. Moreover, the M1 modulations were positively correlated with the magnitude of each participant's overnight delayed gains but not with absolute performance levels. Our results suggest that short-term enhancements of brain signals upon task repetition reflect the effectiveness of overnight motor memory consolidation. We propose that procedural memory consolidation processes may affect the excitation-inhibition balance within cortical representations of the trained movements; this new balance is better reflected in repetition effects than in the average level of evoked neural activity. PMID:24893741

  18. The Effects of Collectivism-Individualism on the Cooperative Learning of Motor Skill

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Luo, Yi; Sun, Yan; Strobel, Johannes

    2013-01-01

    This study examined how cultural background (collectivism vs. individualism) affects motor skill learning in a dyadic cooperative learning environment. The research context of this study was Nintendo™ Wii Tennis. Twenty college students from a Midwestern university participated in the study, among whom half were from an individualistic culture…

  19. Self-Controlled Amount of Practice Benefits Learning of a Motor Skill

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Post, Phillip G.; Fairbrother, Jeffrey T.; Barros, Joao A. C.

    2011-01-01

    Self-control over factors involving task-related information (e.g., feedback) can enhance motor learning. It is unknown if these benefits extend to manipulations that do not directly affect such information. The purpose of this study was to determine if self-control over the amount of practice would also facilitate learning. Participants learned…

  20. Modified Delphi Investigation of Motor Development and Learning in Physical Education Teacher Education

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ross, Susan; Metcalf, Amanda; Bulger, Sean M.; Housner, Lynn D.

    2014-01-01

    Purpose: As the scope of motor development and learning knowledge has successfully broadened over the years, there is an increased need to identify the content and learning experiences that are essential in preparing preservice physical educators. The purpose of this study was to generate expert consensus regarding the most critical motor…

  1. Does (Non-)Meaningful Sensori-Motor Engagement Promote Learning with Animated Physical Systems?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pouw, Wim T. J. L.; Eielts, Charly; Gog, Tamara; Zwaan, Rolf A.; Paas, Fred

    2016-01-01

    Previous research indicates that sensori-motor experience with physical systems can have a positive effect on learning. However, it is not clear whether this effect is caused by mere bodily engagement or the intrinsically meaningful information that such interaction affords in performing the learning task. We investigated (N = 74), through the use…

  2. Purkinje-cell plasticity and cerebellar motor learning are graded by complex-spike duration.

    PubMed

    Yang, Yan; Lisberger, Stephen G

    2014-06-26

    Behavioural learning is mediated by cellular plasticity, such as changes in the strength of synapses at specific sites in neural circuits. The theory of cerebellar motor learning relies on movement errors signalled by climbing-fibre inputs to cause long-term depression of synapses from parallel fibres to Purkinje cells. However, a recent review has called into question the widely held view that the climbing-fibre input is an 'all-or-none' event. In anaesthetized animals, there is wide variation in the duration of the complex spike (CS) caused in Purkinje cells by a climbing-fibre input. Furthermore, the amount of plasticity in Purkinje cells is graded according to the duration of electrically controlled bursts in climbing fibres. The duration of bursts depends on the 'state' of the inferior olive and therefore may be correlated across climbing fibres. Here we provide a potential functional context for these mechanisms during motor learning in behaving monkeys. The magnitudes of both plasticity and motor learning depend on the duration of the CS responses. Furthermore, the duration of CS responses seems to be a meaningful signal that is correlated across the Purkinje-cell population during motor learning. We suggest that during learning, longer bursts in climbing fibres lead to longer-duration CS responses in Purkinje cells, more calcium entry into Purkinje cells, larger synaptic depression, and stronger learning. The same graded impact of instructive signals for plasticity and learning might occur throughout the nervous system. PMID:24814344

  3. THE EFFECT OF MENTAL AND PHYSICAL PRACTICE ON THE LEARNING OF GROSS MOTOR SKILLS.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    OXENDINE, JOSEPH B.

    THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY WAS TO DETERMINE THE EFFECTS OF DIFFERENT SCHEDULES OF MENTAL AND PHYSICAL PRACTICE ON THE LEARNING AND RETENTION OF THREE MOTOR TASKS--USING THE PURSUIT ROTOR AND LEARNING THE SOCCER KICK, AND JUMP SHOT. THREE SEPARATE EXPERIMENTS WERE CONDUCTED IN THREE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS USING 80, 72, AND 60 SEVENTH GRADE BOYS AS…

  4. Enhancement in Motor Learning through Genetic Manipulation of the Lynx1 Gene

    PubMed Central

    Miwa, Julie M.; Walz, Andreas

    2012-01-01

    The cholinergic system is a neuromodulatory neurotransmitter system involved in a variety of brain processes, including learning and memory, attention, and motor processes, among others. The influence of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors of the cholinergic system are moderated by lynx proteins, which are GPI-anchored membrane proteins forming tight associations with nicotinic receptors. Previous studies indicate lynx1 inhibits nicotinic receptor function and limits neuronal plasticity. We sought to investigate the mechanism of action of lynx1 on nicotinic receptor function, through the generation of lynx mouse models, expressing a soluble version of lynx and comparing results to the full length overexpression. Using rotarod as a test for motor learning, we found that expressing a secreted variant of lynx leads to motor learning enhancements whereas overexpression of full-length lynx had no effect. Further, adult lynx1KO mice demonstrated comparable motor learning enhancements as the soluble transgenic lines, whereas previously, aged lynx1KO mice showed performance augmentation only with nicotine treatment. From this we conclude the motor learning is more sensitive to loss of lynx function, and that the GPI anchor plays a role in the normal function of the lynx protein. In addition, our data suggests that the lynx gene plays a modulatory role in the brain during aging, and that a soluble version of lynx has potential as a tool for adjusting cholinergic-dependent plasticity and learning mechanisms in the brain. PMID:23139735

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26442448

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:25446755

  7. Hyperactivity and Motoric Activity in ADHD: Characterization, Assessment, and Intervention.

    PubMed

    Gawrilow, Caterina; Kühnhausen, Jan; Schmid, Johanna; Stadler, Gertraud

    2014-01-01

    The aim of the present literature review is threefold. (1) We will review theories, models, and studies on symptomatic hyperactivity and motoric activity in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). (2) Another focus will be on assessment methods that have been proven to be effective in the detection of hyperactivity and motoric activity in children, adolescents, and adults with and without ADHD and emerging areas of research in the field of ADHD. We will compare subjective methods (i.e., rating scales) and objective methods (i.e., accelerometers). (3) Finally, physical activity intervention studies aiming at a modification of activity and overactive behavior will be summarized that seem to be promising candidates for alleviating hyperactivity symptoms in children, adolescents, and adults with ADHD. PMID:25506329

  8. Hyperactivity and Motoric Activity in ADHD: Characterization, Assessment, and Intervention

    PubMed Central

    Gawrilow, Caterina; Kühnhausen, Jan; Schmid, Johanna; Stadler, Gertraud

    2014-01-01

    The aim of the present literature review is threefold. (1) We will review theories, models, and studies on symptomatic hyperactivity and motoric activity in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). (2) Another focus will be on assessment methods that have been proven to be effective in the detection of hyperactivity and motoric activity in children, adolescents, and adults with and without ADHD and emerging areas of research in the field of ADHD. We will compare subjective methods (i.e., rating scales) and objective methods (i.e., accelerometers). (3) Finally, physical activity intervention studies aiming at a modification of activity and overactive behavior will be summarized that seem to be promising candidates for alleviating hyperactivity symptoms in children, adolescents, and adults with ADHD. PMID:25506329

  9. Enhancing Hebbian Learning to Control Brain Oscillatory Activity.

    PubMed

    Soekadar, Surjo R; Witkowski, Matthias; Birbaumer, Niels; Cohen, Leonardo G

    2015-09-01

    Sensorimotor rhythms (SMR, 8-15 Hz) are brain oscillations associated with successful motor performance, imagery, and imitation. Voluntary modulation of SMR can be used to control brain-machine interfaces (BMI) in the absence of any physical movements. The mechanisms underlying acquisition of such skill are unknown. Here, we provide evidence for a causal link between function of the primary motor cortex (M1), active during motor skill learning and retention, and successful acquisition of abstract skills such as control over SMR. Thirty healthy participants were trained on 5 consecutive days to control SMR oscillations. Each participant was randomly assigned to one of 3 groups that received either 20 min of anodal, cathodal, or sham transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over M1. Learning SMR control across training days was superior in the anodal tDCS group relative to the other 2. Cathodal tDCS blocked the beneficial effects of training, as evidenced with sham tDCS. One month later, the newly acquired skill remained superior in the anodal tDCS group. Thus, application of weak electric currents of opposite polarities over M1 differentially modulates learning SMR control, pointing to this primary cortical region as a common substrate for acquisition of physical motor skills and learning to control brain oscillatory activity. PMID:24626608

  10. Brief Periods of Auditory Perceptual Training Can Determine the Sensory Targets of Speech Motor Learning

    PubMed Central

    Lametti, Daniel R.; Krol, Sonia A.; Shiller, Douglas M.; Ostry, David J.

    2014-01-01

    The perception of speech is notably malleable in adults, yet alterations in perception seem to have little impact on speech production. We hypothesized that speech perceptual training might immediately influence speech motor learning. To test this, we paired a speech perceptual training task with a speech motor learning task. Subjects performed a series of perceptual tests designed to measure and then manipulate the perceptual distinction between the words “head” and “had”. Subjects then produced “head” with the sound of the vowel altered in real-time so that they heard themselves through headphones producing a word that sounded more like “had”. In support of our hypothesis, the amount of motor learning in response to the voice alterations depended on the perceptual boundary acquired through perceptual training. The studies show that plasticity in adult speech perception can have immediate consequences for speech production in the context of speech learning. PMID:24815610

  11. Brief periods of auditory perceptual training can determine the sensory targets of speech motor learning.

    PubMed

    Lametti, Daniel R; Krol, Sonia A; Shiller, Douglas M; Ostry, David J

    2014-07-01

    The perception of speech is notably malleable in adults, yet alterations in perception seem to have little impact on speech production. However, we hypothesized that speech perceptual training might immediately influence speech motor learning. To test this, we paired a speech perceptual-training task with a speech motor-learning task. Subjects performed a series of perceptual tests designed to measure and then manipulate the perceptual distinction between the words head and had. Subjects then produced head with the sound of the vowel altered in real time so that they heard themselves through headphones producing a word that sounded more like had. In support of our hypothesis, the amount of motor learning in response to the voice alterations depended on the perceptual boundary acquired through perceptual training. The studies show that plasticity in adults' speech perception can have immediate consequences for speech production in the context of speech learning. PMID:24815610

  12. Motor skill learning is associated with diffusion characteristics of white matter in individuals with chronic stroke

    PubMed Central

    Borich, Michael R.; Brown, Katlyn E.; Boyd, Lara A.

    2013-01-01

    Background and Purpose Imaging advances allow investigation of white matter following stroke; a growing body of literature has shown links between diffusion-based measures of white matter microstructure and motor function. However, the relationship between these measures and motor skill learning has not been considered in individuals with stroke. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between post-training white matter microstructural status, as indexed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) within the ipsilesional posterior limb of the internal capsule (PLIC) and learning of a novel motor task in individuals with chronic stroke. Methods Thirteen participants with chronic stroke and nine healthy controls practiced a visuomotor pursuit task across five sessions. Change in motor behavior associated with learning was indexed by comparing baseline performance with a delayed retention test. Fractional anisotropy (FA) indexed at the retention test was the primary DTI-derived outcome measure. Results In individuals with chronic stroke, we discovered an association between post-training ipsilesional PLIC FA and the magnitude of change associated with motor learning; hierarchical multiple linear regression analyses revealed that the combination of age, time post stroke and ipsilesional PLIC FA post-training was associated with motor learning related change (R2=0.649, p=0.02). Baseline motor performance was not related to post-training ipsilesional PLIC FA. Discussion and Conclusions Diffusion characteristics of post-training ipsilesional PLIC were linked to magnitude of change in skilled motor behavior. These results imply that the microstructural properties of regional white matter indexed by diffusion behavior may be an important factor to consider when determining potential response to rehabilitation in persons with stroke. Video Abstract available (See Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1.) for more insights from the authors. PMID:23934017

  13. Behavioural and neural basis of anomalous motor learning in children with autism

    PubMed Central

    Crocetti, Deana; Hulst, Thomas; Donchin, Opher; Shadmehr, Reza; Mostofsky, Stewart H.

    2015-01-01

    Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder characterized by deficits in social and communication skills and repetitive and stereotyped interests and behaviours. Although not part of the diagnostic criteria, individuals with autism experience a host of motor impairments, potentially due to abnormalities in how they learn motor control throughout development. Here, we used behavioural techniques to quantify motor learning in autism spectrum disorder, and structural brain imaging to investigate the neural basis of that learning in the cerebellum. Twenty children with autism spectrum disorder and 20 typically developing control subjects, aged 8–12, made reaching movements while holding the handle of a robotic manipulandum. In random trials the reach was perturbed, resulting in errors that were sensed through vision and proprioception. The brain learned from these errors and altered the motor commands on the subsequent reach. We measured learning from error as a function of the sensory modality of that error, and found that children with autism spectrum disorder outperformed typically developing children when learning from errors that were sensed through proprioception, but underperformed typically developing children when learning from errors that were sensed through vision. Previous work had shown that this learning depends on the integrity of a region in the anterior cerebellum. Here we found that the anterior cerebellum, extending into lobule VI, and parts of lobule VIII were smaller than normal in children with autism spectrum disorder, with a volume that was predicted by the pattern of learning from visual and proprioceptive errors. We suggest that the abnormal patterns of motor learning in children with autism spectrum disorder, showing an increased sensitivity to proprioceptive error and a decreased sensitivity to visual error, may be associated with abnormalities in the cerebellum. PMID:25609685

  14. Behavioural and neural basis of anomalous motor learning in children with autism.

    PubMed

    Marko, Mollie K; Crocetti, Deana; Hulst, Thomas; Donchin, Opher; Shadmehr, Reza; Mostofsky, Stewart H

    2015-03-01

    Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder characterized by deficits in social and communication skills and repetitive and stereotyped interests and behaviours. Although not part of the diagnostic criteria, individuals with autism experience a host of motor impairments, potentially due to abnormalities in how they learn motor control throughout development. Here, we used behavioural techniques to quantify motor learning in autism spectrum disorder, and structural brain imaging to investigate the neural basis of that learning in the cerebellum. Twenty children with autism spectrum disorder and 20 typically developing control subjects, aged 8-12, made reaching movements while holding the handle of a robotic manipulandum. In random trials the reach was perturbed, resulting in errors that were sensed through vision and proprioception. The brain learned from these errors and altered the motor commands on the subsequent reach. We measured learning from error as a function of the sensory modality of that error, and found that children with autism spectrum disorder outperformed typically developing children when learning from errors that were sensed through proprioception, but underperformed typically developing children when learning from errors that were sensed through vision. Previous work had shown that this learning depends on the integrity of a region in the anterior cerebellum. Here we found that the anterior cerebellum, extending into lobule VI, and parts of lobule VIII were smaller than normal in children with autism spectrum disorder, with a volume that was predicted by the pattern of learning from visual and proprioceptive errors. We suggest that the abnormal patterns of motor learning in children with autism spectrum disorder, showing an increased sensitivity to proprioceptive error and a decreased sensitivity to visual error, may be associated with abnormalities in the cerebellum. PMID:25609685

  15. Subcortical evoked activity and motor enhancement in Parkinson's disease

    PubMed Central

    Anzak, Anam; Tan, Huiling; Pogosyan, Alek; Khan, Sadaquate; Javed, Shazia; Gill, Steven S.; Ashkan, Keyoumars; Akram, Harith; Foltynie, Thomas; Limousin, Patricia; Zrinzo, Ludvic; Green, Alexander L.; Aziz, Tipu; Brown, Peter

    2016-01-01

    Enhancements in motor performance have been demonstrated in response to intense stimuli both in healthy subjects and in the form of ‘paradoxical kinesis’ in patients with Parkinson's disease. Here we identify a mid-latency evoked potential in local field potential recordings from the region of the subthalamic nucleus, which scales in amplitude with both the intensity of the stimulus delivered and corresponding enhancements in biomechanical measures of maximal handgrips, independent of the dopaminergic state of our subjects with Parkinson's disease. Recordings of a similar evoked potential in the related pedunculopontine nucleus – a key component of the reticular activating system – provide support for this neural signature in the subthalmic nucleus being a novel correlate of ascending arousal, propagated from the reticular activating system to exert an ‘energizing’ influence on motor circuitry. Future manipulation of this system linking arousal and motor performance may provide a novel approach for the non-dopaminergic enhancement of motor performance in patients with hypokinetic disorders such as Parkinson's disease. PMID:26687971

  16. Subcortical evoked activity and motor enhancement in Parkinson's disease.

    PubMed

    Anzak, Anam; Tan, Huiling; Pogosyan, Alek; Khan, Sadaquate; Javed, Shazia; Gill, Steven S; Ashkan, Keyoumars; Akram, Harith; Foltynie, Thomas; Limousin, Patricia; Zrinzo, Ludvic; Green, Alexander L; Aziz, Tipu; Brown, Peter

    2016-03-01

    Enhancements in motor performance have been demonstrated in response to intense stimuli both in healthy subjects and in the form of 'paradoxical kinesis' in patients with Parkinson's disease. Here we identify a mid-latency evoked potential in local field potential recordings from the region of the subthalamic nucleus, which scales in amplitude with both the intensity of the stimulus delivered and corresponding enhancements in biomechanical measures of maximal handgrips, independent of the dopaminergic state of our subjects with Parkinson's disease. Recordings of a similar evoked potential in the related pedunculopontine nucleus - a key component of the reticular activating system - provide support for this neural signature in the subthalmic nucleus being a novel correlate of ascending arousal, propagated from the reticular activating system to exert an 'energizing' influence on motor circuitry. Future manipulation of this system linking arousal and motor performance may provide a novel approach for the non-dopaminergic enhancement of motor performance in patients with hypokinetic disorders such as Parkinson's disease. PMID:26687971

  17. Complex Motor Learning in Four-Year-Olds

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Leithwood, K. A.; Fowler, W.

    1971-01-01

    The effects of 4 months of gymnostic training upon complex and simple gross motor abilities and general cognitive and psychosocial functioning in 4-year-olds were compared with the effects of music training and no treatment. (WY)

  18. The human cerebellum contributes to motor, emotional and cognitive associative learning. A review.

    PubMed

    Timmann, D; Drepper, J; Frings, M; Maschke, M; Richter, S; Gerwig, M; Kolb, F P

    2010-01-01

    In this review results of human lesion studies are compared examining associative learning in the motor, emotional and cognitive domain. Motor and emotional learning were assessed using classical eyeblink and fear conditioning. Cerebellar patients were significantly impaired in acquisition of conditioned eyeblink and fear-related autonomic and skeletal responses. An additional finding was disordered timing of conditioned eyeblink responses. Cognitive learning was examined using stimulus-stimulus-response paradigms, with an experimental set-up closely related to classical conditioning paradigms. Cerebellar patients were impaired in the association of two visual stimuli, which could not be related to motor performance deficits. Human lesion and functional brain imaging studies in healthy subjects are in accordance with a functional compartmentalization of the cerebellum for different forms of associative learning. The medial zone appears to contribute to fear conditioning and the intermediate zone to eyeblink conditioning. The posterolateral hemispheres (that is lateral cerebellum) appear to be of additional importance in fear conditioning in humans. Future studies need to examine the reasonable assumption that the posterolateral cerebellum contributes also to higher cognitive forms of associative learning. Human cerebellar lesion studies provide evidence that the cerebellum is involved in motor, emotional and cognitive associative learning. Because of its simple and homogeneous micro-circuitry a common computation may underly cerebellar involvement in these different forms of associative learning. The overall task of the cerebellum may be the ability to provide correct predictions about the relationship between sensory stimuli. PMID:19665115

  19. Suppression of voluntary motor activity revealed using transcranial magnetic stimulation of the motor cortex in man.

    PubMed Central

    Davey, N J; Romaiguère, P; Maskill, D W; Ellaway, P H

    1994-01-01

    1. Suppression of voluntary muscle activity of hand and arm muscles in response to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the motor cortex has been investigated in man. 2. Suppression could be elicited by low levels of TMS without any prior excitatory response. The latency of the suppression was 3-8 ms longer than the excitation observed at a higher stimulus intensity. The duration of the suppression ranged from 8 to 26 ms. 3. A circular stimulating coil was used to determine threshold intensity for excitation and suppression of contraction of thenar muscles in response to TMS at different locations over the motor cortex. The locations for lowest threshold excitation coincided with those for lowest threshold suppression. Suppression was elicited at a lower threshold than excitation at all locations. 4. A figure-of-eight stimulating coil was positioned over the left motor cortex at the lowest threshold point for excitation of the right thenar muscles. The orientation for the lowest threshold excitatory and inhibitory responses was the same for all subjects. That orientation induced a stimulating current travelling in an antero-medial direction. Suppression was invariably elicited at lower thresholds than excitation. 5. When antagonistic muscles (second and third dorsal interosseus) were co-contracted, TMS evoked coincident suppression of voluntary EMG in the two muscles without prior excitation of either muscle. This suggests that the suppression is not mediated via corticospinal activation of spinal interneurones. 6. Test responses to electrical stimulation of the cervical spinal cord were evoked in both relaxed and activated thenar muscles. In the relaxed muscle, prior TMS at an intensity that would suppress voluntary activity failed to influence the test responses, suggesting absence of inhibition at a spinal level. However, in the activated muscle, prior TMS could reduce the test response. This may be explained by disfacilitation of motoneurones due to

  20. Ice nucleus activity measurements of solid rocket motor exhaust particles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Keller, V. W. (Compiler)

    1986-01-01

    The ice Nucleus activity of exhaust particles generated from combustion of Space Shuttle propellant in small rocket motors has been measured. The activity at -20 C was substantially lower than that of aerosols generated by unpressurized combustion of propellant samples in previous studies. The activity decays rapidly with time and is decreased further in the presence of moist air. These tests corroborate the low effectivity ice nucleus measurement results obtained in the exhaust ground cloud of the Space Shuttle. Such low ice nucleus activity implies that Space Shuttle induced inadvertent weather modification via an ice phase process is extremely unlikely.

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  2. Speech motor learning changes the neural response to both auditory and somatosensory signals

    PubMed Central

    Ito, Takayuki; Coppola, Joshua H.; Ostry, David J.

    2016-01-01

    In the present paper, we present evidence for the idea that speech motor learning is accompanied by changes to the neural coding of both auditory and somatosensory stimuli. Participants in our experiments undergo adaptation to altered auditory feedback, an experimental model of speech motor learning which like visuo-motor adaptation in limb movement, requires that participants change their speech movements and associated somatosensory inputs to correct for systematic real-time changes to auditory feedback. We measure the sensory effects of adaptation by examining changes to auditory and somatosensory event-related responses. We find that adaptation results in progressive changes to speech acoustical outputs that serve to correct for the perturbation. We also observe changes in both auditory and somatosensory event-related responses that are correlated with the magnitude of adaptation. These results indicate that sensory change occurs in conjunction with the processes involved in speech motor adaptation. PMID:27181603

  3. Chemical and thermal modulation of molecular motor activities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hong, Weili

    Molecular motors of kinesin and dynein families are responsible for various intracellular activities, from long distance movement of organelles, vesicles, protein complexes, and mRNAs to powering mitotic processes. They can take nanometer steps using chemical energy from the hydrolysis of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), and their dysfunction is involved in many neurodegenerative diseases that require long distance transport of cargos. Here I report on the study of the properties of molecular motors at a single-molecule level using optical trappings. I first studied the inhibition properties of kinesin motors by marine natural compound adociasulfates. I showed that adociasulfates compete with microtubules for binding to kinesins and thus inhibit kinesins' activity. Although adociasulfates are a strong inhibitor for all kinesin members, they show a much higher inhibition effect for conventional kinesins than for mitotic kinesins. Thus adociasulfates can be used to specifically inhibit conventional kinesins. By comparing the inhibition of kinesins by two structurally similar adociasulfates, one can see that the negatively charged sulfate residue of adociasulfates can be replaced by other negative residues and thus make it possible for adociasulfate-derived compounds to be more cell permeable. Kinesins and dyneins move cargos towards opposite directions along a microtubule. Cargos with both kinesins and dyneins attached often move bidirectionally due to undergoing a tug-of-war between the oppositely moving kinesin and dynein motors. Here I studied the effect of temperature on microtubule-based kinesin and dynein motor transport. While kinesins' and dyneins' velocities are closely matched above 15 °C, below this temperature the dyneins' velocity decreases much faster than the kinesins'. The kinesins' and dyneins' forces do not measurably change with temperature. The results suggest that temperature has significant effects on bidirectional transport and can be used to

  4. Self-Directed Learning Readiness at General Motors Japan.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Beitler, Michael A.

    Although self-directed learning (SDL) has been promoted by businesses as being needed by managers, traditional business schools have not promoted this type of learning. In addition, some adult learners are not ready for SDL, and some subjects (such as accounting) are not suitable for SDL. The concept of self-directed learning readiness (SDLR) can…

  5. Rhythmic Cortical Neurons Increase their Oscillations and Sculpt Basal Ganglia Signaling During Motor Learning

    PubMed Central

    Day, Nancy F.; Nick, Teresa A.

    2014-01-01

    The function and modulation of neural circuits underlying motor skill may involve rhythmic oscillations (Feller, 1999; Marder and Goaillard, 2006; Churchland et al., 2012). In the proposed pattern generator for birdsong, the cortical nucleus HVC, the frequency and power of oscillatory bursting during singing increases with development (Crandall et al., 2007; Day et al., 2009). We examined the maturation of cellular activity patterns that underlie these changes. Single unit ensemble recording combined with antidromic identification (Day et al., 2011) was used to study network development in anesthetized zebra finches. Autocovariance quantified oscillations within single units. A subset of neurons oscillated in the theta/alpha/mu/beta range (8–20 Hz), with greater power in adults compared to juveniles. Across the network, the normalized oscillatory power in the 8–20 Hz range was greater in adults than juveniles. In addition, the correlated activity between rhythmic neuron pairs increased with development. We next examined the functional impact of the oscillators on the output neurons of HVC. We found that the firing of oscillatory neurons negatively correlated with the activity of cortico-basal ganglia neurons (HVCXs), which project to Area X (the song basal ganglia). If groups of oscillators work together to tonically inhibit and precisely control the spike timing of adult HVCXs with coordinated release from inhibition, then the activity of HVCXs in juveniles should be decreased relative to adults due to uncorrelated, tonic inhibition. Consistent with this hypothesis, HVCXs had lower activity in juveniles. These data reveal network changes that shape cortical-to-basal ganglia signaling during motor learning. PMID:23776169

  6. GR3027 antagonizes GABAA receptor-potentiating neurosteroids and restores spatial learning and motor coordination in rats with chronic hyperammonemia and hepatic encephalopathy.

    PubMed

    Johansson, Maja; Agusti, Ana; Llansola, Marta; Montoliu, Carmina; Strömberg, Jessica; Malinina, Evgenya; Ragagnin, Gianna; Doverskog, Magnus; Bäckström, Torbjörn; Felipo, Vicente

    2015-09-01

    Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is one of the primary complications of liver cirrhosis. Current treatments for HE, mainly directed to reduction of ammonia levels, are not effective enough because they cannot completely eliminate hyperammonemia and inflammation, which induce the neurological alterations. Studies in animal models show that overactivation of GABAA receptors is involved in cognitive and motor impairment in HE and that reducing this activation restores these functions. We have developed a new compound, GR3027, that selectively antagonizes the enhanced activation of GABAA receptors by neurosteroids such as allopregnanolone and 3α,21-dihydroxy-5α-pregnan-20-one (THDOC). This work aimed to assess whether GR3027 improves motor incoordination, spatial learning, and circadian rhythms of activity in rats with HE. GR3027 was administered subcutaneously to two main models of HE: rats with chronic hyperammonemia due to ammonia feeding and rats with portacaval shunts (PCS). Motor coordination was assessed in beam walking and spatial learning and memory in the Morris water maze and the radial maze. Circadian rhythms of ambulatory and vertical activity were also assessed. In both hyperammonemic and PCS rats, GR3027 restores motor coordination, spatial memory in the Morris water maze, and spatial learning in the radial maze. GR3027 also partially restores circadian rhythms of ambulatory and vertical activity in PCS rats. GR3027 is a novel approach to treatment of HE that would normalize neurological functions altered because of enhanced GABAergic tone, affording more complete normalization of cognitive and motor function than current treatments for HE. PMID:26138462

  7. GR3027 antagonizes GABAA receptor-potentiating neurosteroids and restores spatial learning and motor coordination in rats with chronic hyperammonemia and hepatic encephalopathy

    PubMed Central

    Johansson, Maja; Agusti, Ana; Llansola, Marta; Montoliu, Carmina; Strömberg, Jessica; Malinina, Evgenya; Ragagnin, Gianna; Doverskog, Magnus; Bäckström, Torbjörn

    2015-01-01

    Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is one of the primary complications of liver cirrhosis. Current treatments for HE, mainly directed to reduction of ammonia levels, are not effective enough because they cannot completely eliminate hyperammonemia and inflammation, which induce the neurological alterations. Studies in animal models show that overactivation of GABAA receptors is involved in cognitive and motor impairment in HE and that reducing this activation restores these functions. We have developed a new compound, GR3027, that selectively antagonizes the enhanced activation of GABAA receptors by neurosteroids such as allopregnanolone and 3α,21-dihydroxy-5α-pregnan-20-one (THDOC). This work aimed to assess whether GR3027 improves motor incoordination, spatial learning, and circadian rhythms of activity in rats with HE. GR3027 was administered subcutaneously to two main models of HE: rats with chronic hyperammonemia due to ammonia feeding and rats with portacaval shunts (PCS). Motor coordination was assessed in beam walking and spatial learning and memory in the Morris water maze and the radial maze. Circadian rhythms of ambulatory and vertical activity were also assessed. In both hyperammonemic and PCS rats, GR3027 restores motor coordination, spatial memory in the Morris water maze, and spatial learning in the radial maze. GR3027 also partially restores circadian rhythms of ambulatory and vertical activity in PCS rats. GR3027 is a novel approach to treatment of HE that would normalize neurological functions altered because of enhanced GABAergic tone, affording more complete normalization of cognitive and motor function than current treatments for HE. PMID:26138462

  8. The effect of local vs remote experimental pain on motor learning and sensorimotor integration using a complex typing task.

    PubMed

    Dancey, Erin; Murphy, Bernadette A; Andrew, Danielle; Yielder, Paul

    2016-08-01

    Recent work demonstrated that capsaicin-induced acute pain improved motor learning performance; however, baseline accuracy was very high, making it impossible to discern the impact of acute pain on motor learning and retention. In addition, the effects of the spatial location of capsaicin application were not explored. Two experiments were conducted to determine the interactive effects of acute pain vs control (experiment 1) and local vs remote acute pain (experiment 2) on motor learning and sensorimotor processing. For both experiments, somatosensory evoked potential (SEP) amplitudes and motor learning acquisition and retention (accuracy and response time) data were collected at baseline, after application, and after motor learning. Experiment 1: N11 (P < 0.05), N13 (P < 0.05), and N30 (P < 0.05) SEP peak amplitudes increased after motor learning in both groups, whereas the N20 SEP peak increased in the control group (P < 0.05). At baseline, the intervention group outperformed the control group in accuracy (P < 0.001). Response time improved after motor learning (P < 0.001) and at retention (P < 0.001). Experiment 2: The P25 SEP peak decreased in the local group after application of capsaicin cream (P < 0.01), whereas the N30 SEP peaks increased after motor learning in both groups (P < 0.05). Accuracy improved in the local group at retention (P < 0.005), and response time improved after motor learning (P < 0.005) and at retention (P < 0.001). This study suggests that acute pain may increase focal attention to the body part used in motor learning, contributing to our understanding of how the location of pain impacts somatosensory processing and the associated motor learning. PMID:27023419

  9. Finite Element Learning Modules as Active Learning Tools

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brown, Ashland O.; Jensen, Daniel; Rencis, Joseph; Wood, Kristin; Wood, John; White, Christina; Raaberg, Kristen Kaufman; Coffman, Josh

    2012-01-01

    The purpose of active learning is to solicit participation by students beyond the passive mode of traditional classroom lectures. Reading, writing, participating in discussions, hands-on activities, engaging in active problem solving, and collaborative learning can all be involved. The skills acquired during active learning tend to go above and…

  10. Motor activity following the silent period in human muscle

    PubMed Central

    Alston, W.; Angel, R. W.; Fink, F. S.; Hofmann, W. W.

    1967-01-01

    1. When a muscle is unloaded during voluntary contraction, there is normally a silent period in the electromyogram. The silence is terminated by a sudden return of muscle action potentials. 2. In order to investigate the mechanism of the terminal motor volley, the unloading reflex was studied in six human subjects. The independent variables were the initial muscular force, the inertia of the limb and the amount of motion permitted. The dependent variables were the size and latency of the terminal volley. 3. During isometric contraction, the amplitude of the surface-recorded muscle action potentials increased monotonically with increasing muscular tension. 4. The action potentials were significantly larger during the terminal volley than during the period before unloading. 5. When acceleration of the limb was reduced by increasing the inertia, the terminal volley was decreased in size, but the latency was not affected. 6. When movement was interrupted by a mechanical block, the latency of the terminal volley was reduced, but the size was not affected. 7. The results suggest that the terminal motor volley is not the result of a decrease in Renshaw feed-back or in autogenetic inhibition. 8. The motor volley must be regulated by proprioceptive feed-back, because it is affected by the velocity and displacement of the limb. 9. The muscle frequently responded within 20 msec after motion of the limb was blocked. Hence it appears that the mechanism involves a spinal reflex. 10. Because the motor discharge occurs while the muscle is shortening, it cannot be an ordinary stretch reflex. If the discharge is attributed to spindle afferent driving, one must assume that the gamma motor neurones are active during the silent period. 11. The authors postulate a fusimotor reflex, which is driven by afferent impulses from the moving limb and excites the alpha motoneurones by way of the `gamma loop'. PMID:6038019

  11. [Field Learning Activities].

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center, Reading, PA.

    Seventy field activities, pertinent to outdoor, environmental studies, are described in this compilation. Designed for elementary and junior high school students, the activities cover many discipline areas--science, social studies, language arts, health, history, mathematics, and art--and many are multidisciplinary in use. Topics range from soil…

  12. Attentional Focus in Motor Learning, the Feldenkrais Method, and Mindful Movement.

    PubMed

    Mattes, Josef

    2016-08-01

    The present paper discusses attentional focus in motor learning and performance from the point of view of mindful movement practices, taking as a starting point the Feldenkrais method. It is argued that earlier criticism of the Feldenkrais method (and thereby implicitly of mindful movement practices more generally) because of allegedly inappropriate attentional focus turns out to be unfounded in light of recent developments in the study of motor learning and performance. Conversely, the examples of the Feldenkrais method and Ki-Aikido are used to illustrate how both Western and Eastern (martial arts derived) mindful movement practices might benefit sports psychology. PMID:27502242

  13. Learning Motor Synergies by Persons with Down Syndrome

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Latash, M. L.

    2007-01-01

    Persons with Down syndrome are frequently described as "clumsy". The recent progress in the development of quantitative approaches to motor synergies has allowed researchers to move towards an understanding of "clumsiness" at the level of underlying control mechanisms. This progress has also offered an opportunity to quantify changes in motor…

  14. Prenatal Development of Interlimb Motor Learning in the Rat Fetus

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Robinson, Scott R.; Kleven, Gale A.; Brumley, Michele R.

    2008-01-01

    The role of sensory feedback in the early ontogeny of motor coordination remains a topic of speculation and debate. On E20 of gestation (the 20th day after conception, 2 days before birth), rat fetuses can alter interlimb coordination after a period of training with an interlimb yoke, which constrains limb movement and promotes synchronized,…

  15. Model for a flexible motor memory based on a self-active recurrent neural network.

    PubMed

    Boström, Kim Joris; Wagner, Heiko; Prieske, Markus; de Lussanet, Marc

    2013-10-01

    Using recent recurrent network architecture based on the reservoir computing approach, we propose and numerically simulate a model that is focused on the aspects of a flexible motor memory for the storage of elementary movement patterns into the synaptic weights of a neural network, so that the patterns can be retrieved at any time by simple static commands. The resulting motor memory is flexible in that it is capable to continuously modulate the stored patterns. The modulation consists in an approximately linear inter- and extrapolation, generating a large space of possible movements that have not been learned before. A recurrent network of thousand neurons is trained in a manner that corresponds to a realistic exercising scenario, with experimentally measured muscular activations and with kinetic data representing proprioceptive feedback. The network is "self-active" in that it maintains recurrent flow of activation even in the absence of input, a feature that resembles the "resting-state activity" found in the human and animal brain. The model involves the concept of "neural outsourcing" which amounts to the permanent shifting of computational load from higher to lower-level neural structures, which might help to explain why humans are able to execute learned skills in a fluent and flexible manner without the need for attention to the details of the movement. PMID:24120277

  16. A Study of the Effects of Visual Occlusion on Motor and Spatial Learning in Visually Impaired Adults.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Palmer, James L.; Elliott, Jeffrey; Kuyk, T. K.

    1998-01-01

    This study compared effects of visual occlusion on the motor and spatial learning of 28 legally blind adult males, half due to acuity loss and half due to peripheral field restriction. For both groups, occlusion appeared neither to facilitate nor impede motor learning but did significantly impair acquisition of spatial relations. Results have…

  17. Examining the Potential of Web-Based Multimedia to Support Complex Fine Motor Skill Learning: An Empirical Study

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Papastergiou, Marina; Pollatou, Elisana; Theofylaktou, Ioannis; Karadimou, Konstantina

    2014-01-01

    Research on the utilization of the Web for complex fine motor skill learning that involves whole body movements is still scarce. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of the introduction of a multimedia web-based learning environment, which was targeted at a rhythmic gymnastics routine consisting of eight fine motor skills, into an…

  18. The Effect of Self-Regulated and Experimenter-Imposed Practice Schedules on Motor Learning for Tasks of Varying Difficulty

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Keetch, Katherine M.; Lee, Timothy D.

    2007-01-01

    Research suggests that allowing individuals to control their own practice schedule has a positive effect on motor learning. In this experiment we examined the effect of task difficulty and self-regulated practice strategies on motor learning. The task was to move a mouse-operated cursor through pattern arrays that differed in two levels of…

  19. Two ways to save a newly learned motor pattern

    PubMed Central

    Bastian, Amy J.

    2015-01-01

    Savings, or faster relearning after initial learning, demonstrates humans' remarkable ability to retain learned movements amid changing environments. This is important within the context of locomotion, as the ability of the nervous system to “remember” how to walk in specific environments enables us to navigate changing terrains and progressively improve gait patterns with rehabilitation. Here, we used a split-belt treadmill to study precisely how people save newly learned walking patterns. In Experiment 1, we investigated savings by systematically varying the learning and unlearning environments. Savings was predominantly influenced by 1) previous exposure to similar abrupt changes in the environment and 2) the amount of exposure to the new environment. Relearning was fastest when these two factors coincided, and we did not observe savings after the environment was introduced gradually during initial learning. In Experiment 2, we then studied whether people store explicit information about different walking environments that mirrors savings of a new walking pattern. Like savings, we found that previous exposure to abrupt changes in the environment also drove the ability to recall a previously experienced walking environment accurately. Crucially, the information recalled was extrinsic information about the learning environment (i.e., treadmill speeds) and not intrinsic information about the walking pattern itself. We conclude that simply learning a new walking pattern is not enough for long-term savings; rather, savings of a learned walking pattern involves recall of the environment or extended training at the learned state. PMID:25855699

  20. Effects of Night Sleep on Motor Learning Using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Hae Jin; Park, Yong Won; Jeong, Dae Ho

    2012-01-01

    Objective To investigate the effects of night sleep on motor cortical excitability with TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and finger tapping performance. Method Eight volunteers were enrolled to investigate the effects of day wake or night sleep on motor learning and finger performance. Each subject underwent a finger tapping task over a 12 hour period, which was employed to evaluate the motor cortical excitability affected by motor learning. Starting at 9:00 am for the day wake cycle and restarting at 9:00 pm for the night sleep cycle. The finger tapping task was the index finger of the non-dominant hand with the Hangul word personal computer (PC) training program. The data was assessed by comparing the changes observed with the cortical excitability and finger tapping performance tests between the day wake and night sleep after equivalent amounts of training. Results The results showed that in paired-pulse techniques, there was a significant decrease of intracortical inhibition (ICI) in the morning following the night sleep cycle (p<0.05), but no significant change was seen in the ICI in the evening for the day wake cycle. In addition a significant decrease of the ICI was observed in comparison to the morning following the night sleep cycle and the evening following the day wake cycle (p<0.05). The 140% recruitment curve (RC) and accuracy of the finger tapping performance demonstrated a significant improvement for both cycles (p<0.05). Conclusion Through this study, we observed that the Hangul typing practice requires both explicit and implicit skill learning. And also the off-line learning during a night of sleep may be affected by an inhibitory neurotransmitter related synaptic plasticity and by the time dependent learning with recruitments of remote or less excitable motor neurons in the primary motor cortex. PMID:22639747

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

    PubMed

    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

  2. Primary motor cortex activity reduction under the regulation of SMA by real-time fMRI

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guo, Jia; Zhao, Xiaojie; Li, Yi; Yao, Li; Chen, Kewei

    2012-03-01

    Real-time fMRI (rtfMRI) is a new technology which allows human subjects to observe and control their own BOLD signal change from one or more localized brain regions during scanning. Current rtfMRI-neurofeedback studies mainly focused on the target region itself without considering other related regions influenced by the real-time feedback. However, there always exits important directional influence between many of cooperative regions. On the other hand, rtfMRI based on motor imagery mainly aimed at somatomotor cortex or primary motor area, whereas supplement motor area (SMA) was a relatively more integrated and pivotal region. In this study, we investigated whether the activities of SMA can be controlled utilizing different motor imagery strategies, and whether there exists any possible impact on an unregulated but related region, primary motor cortex (M1). SMA was first localized using overt finger tapping task, the activities of SMA were feedback to subjects visually on line during each of two subsequent imagery motor movement sessions. All thirteen healthy participants were found to be able to successfully control their SMA activities by self-fit imagery strategies which involved no actual motor movements. The activation of right M1 was also found to be significantly reduced in both intensity and extent with the neurofeedback process targeted at SMA, suggestive that not only the part of motor cortex activities were influenced under the regulation of a key region SMA, but also the increased difference between SMA and M1 might reflect the potential learning effect.

  3. Open Space Learning Activities

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Knapp, Clifford E.

    1976-01-01

    Describes a science activity in which students are given an opportunity to consider the values of open space. The program includes direct involvement as communicators of feelings and facts, leading students to a position of making wise decisions for land use in the future. (EB)

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26296097

  5. Endurance Exercise as an “Endogenous” Neuro-enhancement Strategy to Facilitate Motor Learning

    PubMed Central

    Taubert, Marco; Villringer, Arno; Lehmann, Nico

    2015-01-01

    Endurance exercise improves cardiovascular and musculoskeletal function and may also increase the information processing capacities of the brain. Animal and human research from the past decade demonstrated widespread exercise effects on brain structure and function at the systems-, cellular-, and molecular level of brain organization. These neurobiological mechanisms may explain the well-established positive influence of exercise on performance in various behavioral domains but also its contribution to improved skill learning and neuroplasticity. With respect to the latter, only few empirical and theoretical studies are available to date. The aim of this review is (i) to summarize the existing neurobiological and behavioral evidence arguing for endurance exercise-induced improvements in motor learning and (ii) to develop hypotheses about the mechanistic link between exercise and improved learning. We identify major knowledge gaps that need to be addressed by future research projects to advance our understanding of how exercise should be organized to optimize motor learning. PMID:26834602

  6. Chronic Assessment of Diaphragm Muscle EMG Activity across Motor Behaviors

    PubMed Central

    Mantilla, Carlos B.; Seven, Yasin B.; Hurtado-Palomino, Juan N.; Zhan, Wen-Zhi; Sieck, Gary C.

    2011-01-01

    The diaphragm muscle is main inspiratory muscle in mammals. Quantitative analyses documenting the reliability of chronic diaphragm EMG recordings are lacking. Assessment of ventilatory and non-ventilatory motor behaviors may facilitate evaluating diaphragm EMG activity over time. We hypothesized that normalization of diaphragm EMG amplitude across behaviors provides stable and reliable parameters for longitudinal assessments of diaphragm activity. We found that diaphragm EMG activity shows substantial intra-animal variability over 6 weeks, with coefficient of variation (CV) for different behaviors ~29–42%. Normalization of diaphragm EMG activity to near maximal behaviors (e.g., deep breathing) reduced intra-animal variability over time (CV ~22–29%). Plethysmographic measurements of eupneic ventilation were also stable over 6 weeks (CV ~13% for minute ventilation). Thus, stable and reliable measurements of diaphragm EMG activity can be obtained longitudinally using chronically implanted electrodes by examining multiple motor behaviors. By quantitatively determining the reliability of longitudinal diaphragm EMG analyses, we provide an important tool for evaluating the progression of diseases or injuries that impair ventilation. PMID:21414423

  7. Configural Response Learning: The Acquisition of a Nonpredictive Motor Skill

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

  8. Learning Strategies Used while Developing Motor Skill Assessment Competency

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kelly, Luke E.; Bishop, Jason

    2013-01-01

    This study investigated the effectiveness of a web-based assessment training program and whether explicitly guiding the participants toward the recommended learning sequence would improve their performance on assessing the underhand roll compared to participants that were given free choice of their learning sequence. Participants were 48 volunteer…

  9. Impact of Conscious Intent on Chunking during Motor Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Song, Sunbin; Cohen, Leonardo

    2014-01-01

    Humans and other mammals learn sequences of movements by splitting them into smaller "chunks." Such chunks are defined by the faster speed of performance of groups of movements. The purpose of this report is to determine how conscious intent to learn impacts chunking, an issue that remains unknown. Here, we studied 80 subjects who either…

  10. Interacting Adaptive Processes with Different Timescales Underlie Short-Term Motor Learning

    PubMed Central

    Ghazizadeh, Ali; Shadmehr, Reza

    2006-01-01

    Multiple processes may contribute to motor skill acquisition, but it is thought that many of these processes require sleep or the passage of long periods of time ranging from several hours to many days or weeks. Here we demonstrate that within a timescale of minutes, two distinct fast-acting processes drive motor adaptation. One process responds weakly to error but retains information well, whereas the other responds strongly but has poor retention. This two-state learning system makes the surprising prediction of spontaneous recovery (or adaptation rebound) if error feedback is clamped at zero following an adaptation-extinction training episode. We used a novel paradigm to experimentally confirm this prediction in human motor learning of reaching, and we show that the interaction between the learning processes in this simple two-state system provides a unifying explanation for several different, apparently unrelated, phenomena in motor adaptation including savings, anterograde interference, spontaneous recovery, and rapid unlearning. Our results suggest that motor adaptation depends on at least two distinct neural systems that have different sensitivity to error and retain information at different rates. PMID:16700627

  11. Reinforcement Learning of Targeted Movement in a Spiking Neuronal Model of Motor Cortex

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:23094042

  12. Inter-Individual Differences in the Initial 80 Minutes of Motor Learning of Handrim Wheelchair Propulsion

    PubMed Central

    Vegter, Riemer J. K.; Lamoth, Claudine J.; de Groot, Sonja; Veeger, Dirkjan H. E. J.; van der Woude, Lucas H. V.

    2014-01-01

    Handrim wheelchair propulsion is a cyclic skill that needs to be learned during rehabilitation. Yet it is unclear how inter-individual differences in motor learning impact wheelchair propulsion practice. Therefore we studied how early-identified motor learning styles in novice able-bodied participants impact the outcome of a low-intensity wheelchair-practice intervention. Over a 12-minute pre-test, 39 participants were split in two groups based on a relative 10% increase in mechanical efficiency. Following the pretest the participants continued one of four different low-intensity wheelchair practice interventions, yet all performed in the same trial-setup with a total 80-minute dose at 1.11 m/s at 0.20 W/kg. Instead of focusing on the effect of the different interventions, we focused on differences in motor learning between participants over the intervention. Twenty-six participants started the pretest with a lower mechanical efficiency and a less optimal propulsion technique, but showed a fast improvement during the first 12 minutes and this effect continued over the 80 minutes of practice. Eventually these initially fast improvers benefitted more from the given practice indicated by a better propulsion technique (like reduced frequency and increased stroke angle) and a higher mechanical efficiency. The initially fast improvers also had a higher intra-individual variability in the pre and posttest, which possibly relates to the increased motor learning of the initially fast improvers. Further exploration of the common characteristics of different types of learners will help to better tailor rehabilitation to the needs of wheelchair-dependent persons and improve our understanding of cyclic motor learning processes. PMID:24586992

  13. Adapting Active Learning in Ethiopia

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Casale, Carolyn Frances

    2010-01-01

    Ethiopia is a developing country that has invested extensively in expanding its educational opportunities. In this expansion, there has been a drastic restructuring of its system of preparing teachers and teacher educators. Often, improving teacher quality is dependent on professional development that diversifies pedagogy (active learning). This…

  14. Oral Hygiene. Learning Activity Package.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hime, Kirsten

    This learning activity package on oral hygiene is one of a series of 12 titles developed for use in health occupations education programs. Materials in the package include objectives, a list of materials needed, a list of definitions, information sheets, reviews (self evaluations) of portions of the content, and answers to reviews. These topics…

  15. Active Learning in Introductory Climatology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dewey, Kenneth F.; Meyer, Steven J.

    2000-01-01

    Introduces a software package available for the climatology curriculum that determines possible climatic events according to a long-term climate history. Describes the integration of the software into the curriculum and presents examples of active learning. (Contains 19 references.) (YDS)

  16. Active Fault Tolerant Control for Ultrasonic Piezoelectric Motor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boukhnifer, Moussa

    2012-07-01

    Ultrasonic piezoelectric motor technology is an important system component in integrated mechatronics devices working on extreme operating conditions. Due to these constraints, robustness and performance of the control interfaces should be taken into account in the motor design. In this paper, we apply a new architecture for a fault tolerant control using Youla parameterization for an ultrasonic piezoelectric motor. The distinguished feature of proposed controller architecture is that it shows structurally how the controller design for performance and robustness may be done separately which has the potential to overcome the conflict between performance and robustness in the traditional feedback framework. A fault tolerant control architecture includes two parts: one part for performance and the other part for robustness. The controller design works in such a way that the feedback control system will be solely controlled by the proportional plus double-integral PI2 performance controller for a nominal model without disturbances and H∞ robustification controller will only be activated in the presence of the uncertainties or an external disturbances. The simulation results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed fault tolerant control architecture.

  17. Intestinal motor activity in experimental hyperthyroidism in conscious dogs.

    PubMed

    Karaus, M; Wienbeck, M; Grussendorf, M; Erckenbrecht, J F; Strohmeyer, G

    1989-10-01

    The small intestinal motor effects of experimental hyperthyroidism were studied in 8 conscious dogs to reveal possible mechanisms of accelerated small bowel transit in hyperthyroidism. Six strain gauge transducers were implanted on the small intestine of each dog. Long-term hyperthyroidism was induced by subcutaneous administration of 100 and 200 micrograms/kg.day of thyroxin. Application of thyroxin did not interrupt the cyclic fasting motor activity. Thyroxin (100 micrograms/kg.day) caused a slight increase in the period of the migrating motor complex (p less than 0.05). The maximum contractile frequency rose dose-dependently up to 11% (p less than 0.05). During phase 2 and the digestive state the contraction frequency increased up to 29% and 27%, respectively (p less than 0.05). More contractions occurred in groups during the digestive state in hyperthyroidism. Half of the dogs showed giant migrating contractions during thyroxin administration, whereas those contractions were not observed during the control period. We conclude that fasted and postprandial intestinal motility is changed in experimental hyperthyroidism. Acceleration of small bowel transit may be caused by changes in contractile pattern of phase 2 and the digestive state or by the increased frequency of giant migrating contractions. PMID:2777044

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

  19. Search for Autonomy in Motor Task Learning in Physical Education University Students

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Moreno Murcia, Juan Antonio; Lacarcel, Jose Antonio Vera; Del Villar Alvarez, Fernando

    2010-01-01

    The study focused on discovering the influence that an autonomous motor task learning programme had on the improvement of perceived competence, intrinsic regulation, incremental belief and motivational orientations. The study was performed with two groups of participants (n = 22 and n = 20) aged between 19 and 35 years. The instruments used were…

  20. THE USES AND ABUSES OF VISUAL TRAINING FOR CHILDREN WITH PERCEPTUAL-MOTOR LEARNING PROBLEMS.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    CARLSON, PAUL V.; GREENSPOON, MORTON K.

    THE ROLE OF THE OPTOMETRIST IN DIAGNOSING AND CORRECTING PERCEPTUAL-MOTOR LEARNING PROBLEMS IS DISCUSSED. ONE GROUP OF OPTOMETRISTS ADHERES TO STANDARD TECHNIQUES, INCLUDING THE PRESCRIPTION OF CORRECTIVE LENSES AND THE USE OF ORTHOPTIC TECHNIQUES FOR THE SAKE OF CLEAR, COMFORTABLE, AND EFFECTIVE VISUAL PERFORMANCE. OTHERS EMPLOY DIVERSE…

  1. Sensori-Motor Learning with Movement Sonification: Perspectives from Recent Interdisciplinary Studies.

    PubMed

    Bevilacqua, Frédéric; Boyer, Eric O; Françoise, Jules; Houix, Olivier; Susini, Patrick; Roby-Brami, Agnès; Hanneton, Sylvain

    2016-01-01

    This article reports on an interdisciplinary research project on movement sonification for sensori-motor learning. First, we describe different research fields which have contributed to movement sonification, from music technology including gesture-controlled sound synthesis, sonic interaction design, to research on sensori-motor learning with auditory-feedback. In particular, we propose to distinguish between sound-oriented tasks and movement-oriented tasks in experiments involving interactive sound feedback. We describe several research questions and recently published results on movement control, learning and perception. In particular, we studied the effect of the auditory feedback on movements considering several cases: from experiments on pointing and visuo-motor tracking to more complex tasks where interactive sound feedback can guide movements, or cases of sensory substitution where the auditory feedback can inform on object shapes. We also developed specific methodologies and technologies for designing the sonic feedback and movement sonification. We conclude with a discussion on key future research challenges in sensori-motor learning with movement sonification. We also point out toward promising applications such as rehabilitation, sport training or product design. PMID:27610071

  2. Sensori-Motor Learning with Movement Sonification: Perspectives from Recent Interdisciplinary Studies

    PubMed Central

    Bevilacqua, Frédéric; Boyer, Eric O.; Françoise, Jules; Houix, Olivier; Susini, Patrick; Roby-Brami, Agnès; Hanneton, Sylvain

    2016-01-01

    This article reports on an interdisciplinary research project on movement sonification for sensori-motor learning. First, we describe different research fields which have contributed to movement sonification, from music technology including gesture-controlled sound synthesis, sonic interaction design, to research on sensori-motor learning with auditory-feedback. In particular, we propose to distinguish between sound-oriented tasks and movement-oriented tasks in experiments involving interactive sound feedback. We describe several research questions and recently published results on movement control, learning and perception. In particular, we studied the effect of the auditory feedback on movements considering several cases: from experiments on pointing and visuo-motor tracking to more complex tasks where interactive sound feedback can guide movements, or cases of sensory substitution where the auditory feedback can inform on object shapes. We also developed specific methodologies and technologies for designing the sonic feedback and movement sonification. We conclude with a discussion on key future research challenges in sensori-motor learning with movement sonification. We also point out toward promising applications such as rehabilitation, sport training or product design. PMID:27610071

  3. Enhancing Motor Learning through Dyad Practice: Contributions of Observation and Dialogue

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Granados, Carolina; Wulf, Gabriele

    2007-01-01

    It has been shown that practice in dyads, as compared to individual practice, can enhance motor learning and increase the efficiency of practice (as two participants can be trained at the same time; Shea, Wulf, & Whitacre, 1999). The dyad practice protocol used by Shea et al. included both observation and dialogue between partners. Thus, it was…

  4. Reversal of Motor Learning in the Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex in the Absence of Visual Input

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cohen, Marlene R.; Meissner, Geoffrey W.; Schafer, Robert J.; Raymond, Jennifer L.

    2004-01-01

    Motor learning in the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) and eyeblink conditioning use similar neural circuitry, and they may use similar cellular plasticity mechanisms. Classically conditioned eyeblink responses undergo extinction after prolonged exposure to the conditioned stimulus in the absence of the unconditioned stimulus. We investigated the…

  5. Effects of Protein Restriction on Perceptual-Motor Development, Habituation and Learning.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Elias, Marjorie F.

    Perceptual motor development, habituation, and learning in squirrel monkeys were studied under controlled rearing and diet history conditions to determine whether the animal's level of behavioral development was similar to well-nourished animals of his own age (agemates) or his own size (sizemates). From birth to 8 weeks of age, the animals were…

  6. Oculomotor learning revisited: a model of reinforcement learning in the basal ganglia incorporating an efference copy of motor actions

    PubMed Central

    Fee, Michale S.

    2012-01-01

    In its simplest formulation, reinforcement learning is based on the idea that if an action taken in a particular context is followed by a favorable outcome, then, in the same context, the tendency to produce that action should be strengthened, or reinforced. While reinforcement learning forms the basis of many current theories of basal ganglia (BG) function, these models do not incorporate distinct computational roles for signals that convey context, and those that convey what action an animal takes. Recent experiments in the songbird suggest that vocal-related BG circuitry receives two functionally distinct excitatory inputs. One input is from a cortical region that carries context information about the current “time” in the motor sequence. The other is an efference copy of motor commands from a separate cortical brain region that generates vocal variability during learning. Based on these findings, I propose here a general model of vertebrate BG function that combines context information with a distinct motor efference copy signal. The signals are integrated by a learning rule in which efference copy inputs gate the potentiation of context inputs (but not efference copy inputs) onto medium spiny neurons in response to a rewarded action. The hypothesis is described in terms of a circuit that implements the learning of visually guided saccades. The model makes testable predictions about the anatomical and functional properties of hypothesized context and efference copy inputs to the striatum from both thalamic and cortical sources. PMID:22754501

  7. Dopamine-dependent reinforcement of motor skill learning: evidence from Gilles de la Tourette syndrome.

    PubMed

    Palminteri, Stefano; Lebreton, Maël; Worbe, Yulia; Hartmann, Andreas; Lehéricy, Stéphane; Vidailhet, Marie; Grabli, David; Pessiglione, Mathias

    2011-08-01

    Reinforcement learning theory has been extensively used to understand the neural underpinnings of instrumental behaviour. A central assumption surrounds dopamine signalling reward prediction errors, so as to update action values and ensure better choices in the future. However, educators may share the intuitive idea that reinforcements not only affect choices but also motor skills such as typing. Here, we employed a novel paradigm to demonstrate that monetary rewards can improve motor skill learning in humans. Indeed, healthy participants progressively got faster in executing sequences of key presses that were repeatedly rewarded with 10 euro compared with 1 cent. Control tests revealed that the effect of reinforcement on motor skill learning was independent of subjects being aware of sequence-reward associations. To account for this implicit effect, we developed an actor-critic model, in which reward prediction errors are used by the critic to update state values and by the actor to facilitate action execution. To assess the role of dopamine in such computations, we applied the same paradigm in patients with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, who were either unmedicated or treated with neuroleptics. We also included patients with focal dystonia, as an example of hyperkinetic motor disorder unrelated to dopamine. Model fit showed the following dissociation: while motor skills were affected in all patient groups, reinforcement learning was selectively enhanced in unmedicated patients with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome and impaired by neuroleptics. These results support the hypothesis that overactive dopamine transmission leads to excessive reinforcement of motor sequences, which might explain the formation of tics in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. PMID:21727098

  8. Stimulating Deep Learning Using Active Learning Techniques

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Yew, Tee Meng; Dawood, Fauziah K. P.; a/p S. Narayansany, Kannaki; a/p Palaniappa Manickam, M. Kamala; Jen, Leong Siok; Hoay, Kuan Chin

    2016-01-01

    When students and teachers behave in ways that reinforce learning as a spectator sport, the result can often be a classroom and overall learning environment that is mostly limited to transmission of information and rote learning rather than deep approaches towards meaningful construction and application of knowledge. A group of college instructors…

  9. Time required for motor activity in lucid dreams.

    PubMed

    Erlacher, Daniel; Schredl, Michael

    2004-12-01

    The present study investigated the relationship between the time required for specific tasks (counting and performing squats) in lucid dreams and in the waking state. Five proficient lucid dreamers (26-34 yr. old, M=29.8, SD=3.0; one woman and four men) participated. Analysis showed that the time needed for counting in a lucid dream is comparable to the time needed for counting in wakefulness, but motor activities required more time in lucid dreams than in the waking state. PMID:15739850

  10. Parallel Online Temporal Difference Learning for Motor Control.

    PubMed

    Caarls, Wouter; Schuitema, Erik

    2016-07-01

    Temporal difference (TD) learning, a key concept in reinforcement learning, is a popular method for solving simulated control problems. However, in real systems, this method is often avoided in favor of policy search methods because of its long learning time. But policy search suffers from its own drawbacks, such as the necessity of informed policy parameterization and initialization. In this paper, we show that TD learning can work effectively in real robotic systems as well, using parallel model learning and planning. Using locally weighted linear regression and trajectory sampled planning with 14 concurrent threads, we can achieve a speedup of almost two orders of magnitude over regular TD control on simulated control benchmarks. For a real-world pendulum swing-up task and a two-link manipulator movement task, we report a speedup of 20× to 60× , with a real-time learning speed of less than half a minute. The results are competitive with state-of-the-art policy search. PMID:26111402

  11. Connecting Family Learning and Active Citizenship

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flanagan, Mary

    2009-01-01

    In Ireland family learning and active citizenship has not been linked together until 2006. It was while the Clare Family Learning Project was involved in a family learning EU learning network project, that a suggestion to create a new partnership project linking both areas was made and FACE IT! was born (Families and Active Citizenship…

  12. Choose to move: The motivational impact of autonomy support on motor learning.

    PubMed

    Lewthwaite, Rebecca; Chiviacowsky, Suzete; Drews, Ricardo; Wulf, Gabriele

    2015-10-01

    Numerous studies in the motor learning domain have demonstrated learning advantages of self-controlled practice relative to yoked conditions. In separate lines of evidence in the social-psychological literature, findings show that providing participants with task-relevant autonomy support or minor incidental choices can result in superior outcomes when compared with conditions that thwart autonomy or do not offer choice. We hypothesized that motor learning could be enhanced by providing learners with choices - even if those choices are unrelated to task performance. In Experiment 1, two groups of participants practiced a golf putting task. While one group (the choice group) was able to select the color of golf balls (white, yellow, or orange) to be used in each upcoming block of 10 trials, participants in the second group (the yoked group) were provided with the same colored golf balls their choice-group counterparts had chosen. The results of a 24-h delayed retention test indicated significantly greater putting accuracy for the choice compared with the yoked group. Experiment 2 went one step further by asking choice group participants for their preferences regarding two issues unrelated to the practice task (balancing on a stabilometer): (1) which of two subsequent tasks (coincident timing or hand dynamometry) they wanted to perform and (2) which of two prints of paintings by Renoir they thought the investigator should hang on the laboratory wall. Yoked group participants were simply informed about which task they would perform afterwards and of which painting the experimenter would put on the wall. Balance learning was significantly more effective in the choice group on a retention test. Thus, self-controlled practice conditions can influence motor learning without providing task-relevant information, content, or strategic learning advantages. Self-controlled effects in motor learning may be motivational in nature, attributable to satisfaction of fundamental

  13. The effects of practice and delay on motor skill learning and retention.

    PubMed

    Savion-Lemieux, Tal; Penhune, Virginia B

    2005-03-01

    The present study assessed the effects of amount of practice and length of delay on the learning and retention of a timed motor sequence task. Participants learned to reproduce ten-element visual sequences by tapping in synchrony with the stimulus. Participants were randomly assigned to a varied-practice condition or a varied-delay condition. In the varied-practice condition, participants received either one, three, or six blocks of practice followed by a fixed 4-week delayed-recall. In the varied-delay condition, participants received three blocks of practice followed by a varied delay of either 3 days, or 2, 4, or 8 weeks. Learning was assessed by changes in accuracy, response variance, and percent response asynchrony. Our results showed that amount of practice per se did not affect learning and retention of the task. Rather, distribution of practice over several days was the most important factor affecting learning and retention. We hypothesize that passage of time is essential for a maximum benefit of practice to be gained, as the time delay may allow for consolidation of learning, possibly reflecting plastic changes in motor cortical representations of the skill. With regards to delay, our findings suggest that explicit and motoric components of a motor sequence are likely to be learned and maintained in separate but interacting systems. First, only the longest delay group showed decrements in percent correct, indicating that longer lengths of delay might hinder retrieval of explicit aspects of the task. Second, all groups showed a decrement in percent response asynchrony, suggesting that synchronization may be a more difficult parameter to maintain because it relies heavily on sensorimotor integration. PMID:15551084

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26123921

  15. Decreased Activation of Subcortical Brain Areas in the Motor Fatigue State: An fMRI Study.

    PubMed

    Hou, Li J; Song, Zheng; Pan, Zhu J; Cheng, Jia L; Yu, Yong; Wang, Jun

    2016-01-01

    One aspect of motor fatigue is the exercise-induced reduction of neural activity to voluntarily drive the muscle or muscle group. Functional magnetic resonance imaging provides access to investigate the neural activation on the whole brain level and studies observed changes of activation intensity after exercise-induced motor fatigue in the sensorimotor cortex. However, in human, little evidence exists to demonstrate the role of subcortical brain regions in motor fatigue, which is contradict to abundant researches in rodent indicating that during simple movement, the activity of the basal ganglia is modulated by the state of motor fatigue. Thus, in present study, we explored the effect of motor fatigue on subcortical areas in human. A series of fMRI data were collected from 11 healthy subjects while they were executing simple motor tasks in two conditions: before and under the motor fatigue state. The results showed that in both conditions, movements evoked activation volumes in the sensorimotor areas, SMA, cerebellum, thalamus, and basal ganglia. Of primary importance are the results that the intensity and size of activation volumes in the subcortical areas (i.e., thalamus and basal ganglia areas) are significantly decreased during the motor fatigue state, implying that motor fatigue disturbs the motor control processing in a way that both sensorimotor areas and subcortical brain areas are less active. Further study is needed to clarify how subcortical areas contribute to the overall decreased activity of CNS during motor fatigue state. PMID:27536264

  16. Decreased Activation of Subcortical Brain Areas in the Motor Fatigue State: An fMRI Study

    PubMed Central

    Hou, Li J.; Song, Zheng; Pan, Zhu J.; Cheng, Jia L.; Yu, Yong; Wang, Jun

    2016-01-01

    One aspect of motor fatigue is the exercise-induced reduction of neural activity to voluntarily drive the muscle or muscle group. Functional magnetic resonance imaging provides access to investigate the neural activation on the whole brain level and studies observed changes of activation intensity after exercise-induced motor fatigue in the sensorimotor cortex. However, in human, little evidence exists to demonstrate the role of subcortical brain regions in motor fatigue, which is contradict to abundant researches in rodent indicating that during simple movement, the activity of the basal ganglia is modulated by the state of motor fatigue. Thus, in present study, we explored the effect of motor fatigue on subcortical areas in human. A series of fMRI data were collected from 11 healthy subjects while they were executing simple motor tasks in two conditions: before and under the motor fatigue state. The results showed that in both conditions, movements evoked activation volumes in the sensorimotor areas, SMA, cerebellum, thalamus, and basal ganglia. Of primary importance are the results that the intensity and size of activation volumes in the subcortical areas (i.e., thalamus and basal ganglia areas) are significantly decreased during the motor fatigue state, implying that motor fatigue disturbs the motor control processing in a way that both sensorimotor areas and subcortical brain areas are less active. Further study is needed to clarify how subcortical areas contribute to the overall decreased activity of CNS during motor fatigue state. PMID:27536264

  17. Transcranial direct current stimulation facilitates motor learning post-stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Kang, Nyeonju; Summers, Jeffery J; Cauraugh, James H

    2016-04-01

    Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is an attractive protocol for stroke motor recovery. The current systematic review and meta-analysis investigated the effects of tDCS on motor learning post-stroke. Specifically, we determined long-term learning effects by examining motor improvements from baseline to at least 5 days after tDCS intervention and motor practise. 17 studies reported long-term retention testing (mean retention interval=43.8 days; SD=56.6 days) and qualified for inclusion in our meta-analysis. Assessing primary outcome measures for groups that received tDCS and motor practise versus sham control groups created 21 valid comparisons: (1) 16 clinical assessments and (2) 5 motor skill acquisition tests. A random effects model meta-analysis showed a significant overall effect size=0.59 (p<0.0001; low heterogeneity, T(2)=0.04; I(2)=22.75%; and high classic fail-safe N=240). 4 moderator variable analyses revealed beneficial effects of tDCS on long-term motor learning: (1) stimulation protocols: anodal on the ipsilesional hemisphere, cathodal on the contralesional hemisphere, or bilateral; (2) recovery stage: subacute or chronic stroke; (3) stimulation timing: tDCS before or during motor practise; and (4) task-specific training or conventional rehabilitation protocols. This robust meta-analysis identified novel long-term motor learning effects with tDCS and motor practise post-stroke. PMID:26319437

  18. Active Learning with Irrelevant Examples

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wagstaff, Kiri; Mazzoni, Dominic

    2009-01-01

    An improved active learning method has been devised for training data classifiers. One example of a data classifier is the algorithm used by the United States Postal Service since the 1960s to recognize scans of handwritten digits for processing zip codes. Active learning algorithms enable rapid training with minimal investment of time on the part of human experts to provide training examples consisting of correctly classified (labeled) input data. They function by identifying which examples would be most profitable for a human expert to label. The goal is to maximize classifier accuracy while minimizing the number of examples the expert must label. Although there are several well-established methods for active learning, they may not operate well when irrelevant examples are present in the data set. That is, they may select an item for labeling that the expert simply cannot assign to any of the valid classes. In the context of classifying handwritten digits, the irrelevant items may include stray marks, smudges, and mis-scans. Querying the expert about these items results in wasted time or erroneous labels, if the expert is forced to assign the item to one of the valid classes. In contrast, the new algorithm provides a specific mechanism for avoiding querying the irrelevant items. This algorithm has two components: an active learner (which could be a conventional active learning algorithm) and a relevance classifier. The combination of these components yields a method, denoted Relevance Bias, that enables the active learner to avoid querying irrelevant data so as to increase its learning rate and efficiency when irrelevant items are present. The algorithm collects irrelevant data in a set of rejected examples, then trains the relevance classifier to distinguish between labeled (relevant) training examples and the rejected ones. The active learner combines its ranking of the items with the probability that they are relevant to yield a final decision about which item

  19. The role of working memory in motor learning and performance.

    PubMed

    Maxwell, J P; Masters, R S W; Eves, F F

    2003-09-01

    Three experiments explore the role of working memory in motor skill acquisition and performance. Traditional theories postulate that skill acquisition proceeds through stages of knowing, which are initially declarative but later procedural. The reported experiments challenge that view and support an independent, parallel processing model, which predicts that procedural and declarative knowledge can be acquired separately and that the former does not depend on the availability of working memory, whereas, the latter does. The behaviour of these two processes was manipulated by providing or withholding visual (and auditory) appraisal of outcome feedback. Withholding feedback was predicted to inhibit the use of working memory to appraise success and, thus, prevent the formation of declarative knowledge without affecting the accumulation of procedural knowledge. While the first experiment failed to support these predictions, the second and third experiments demonstrated that procedural and declarative knowledge can be acquired independently. It is suggested that the availability of working memory is crucial to motor performance only when the learner has come to rely on its use. PMID:12941284

  20. Motor-related signals in the auditory system for listening and learning.

    PubMed

    Schneider, David M; Mooney, Richard

    2015-08-01

    In the auditory system, corollary discharge signals are theorized to facilitate normal hearing and the learning of acoustic behaviors, including speech and music. Despite clear evidence of corollary discharge signals in the auditory cortex and their presumed importance for hearing and auditory-guided motor learning, the circuitry and function of corollary discharge signals in the auditory cortex are not well described. In this review, we focus on recent developments in the mouse and songbird that provide insights into the circuitry that transmits corollary discharge signals to the auditory system and the function of these signals in the context of hearing and vocal learning. PMID:25827273

  1. Age effects shrink when motor learning is predominantly supported by nondeclarative, automatic memory processes: evidence from golf putting.

    PubMed

    Chauvel, Guillaume; Maquestiaux, François; Hartley, Alan A; Joubert, Sven; Didierjean, André; Masters, Rich S W

    2012-01-01

    Can motor learning be equivalent in younger and older adults? To address this question, 48 younger (M = 23.5 years) and 48 older (M = 65.0 years) participants learned to perform a golf-putting task in two different motor learning situations: one that resulted in infrequent errors or one that resulted in frequent errors. The results demonstrated that infrequent-error learning predominantly relied on nondeclarative, automatic memory processes whereas frequent-error learning predominantly relied on declarative, effortful memory processes: After learning, infrequent-error learners verbalized fewer strategies than frequent-error learners; at transfer, a concurrent, attention-demanding secondary task (tone counting) left motor performance of infrequent-error learners unaffected but impaired that of frequent-error learners. The results showed age-equivalent motor performance in infrequent-error learning but age deficits in frequent-error learning. Motor performance of frequent-error learners required more attention with age, as evidenced by an age deficit on the attention-demanding secondary task. The disappearance of age effects when nondeclarative, automatic memory processes predominated suggests that these processes are preserved with age and are available even early in motor learning. PMID:21736434

  2. History and Evolution of Active Learning Spaces

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Beichner, Robert J.

    2014-01-01

    This chapter examines active learning spaces as they have developed over the years. Consistently well-designed classrooms can facilitate active learning even though the details of implementing pedagogies may differ.

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

    PubMed

    Panouillères, Muriel T N; Tofaris, George K; Brown, Peter; Jenkinson, Ned

    2016-01-01

    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 that underpin the

  4. Physical activity, motor function, and white matter hyperintensity burden in healthy older adults

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Jingyun; Arfanakis, Konstantinos; Arvanitakis, Zoe; Leurgans, Sue E.; Turner, Arlener D.; Barnes, Lisa L.; Bennett, David A.; Buchman, Aron S.

    2015-01-01

    Objective: To test the hypothesis that physical activity modifies the association between white matter hyperintensity (WMH) burden and motor function in healthy older persons without dementia. Methods: Total daily activity (exercise and nonexercise physical activity) was measured for up to 11 days with actigraphy (Actical; Philips Respironics, Bend, OR) in 167 older adults without dementia participating in the Rush Memory and Aging Project. Eleven motor performances were summarized into a previously described global motor score. WMH volume was expressed as percent of intracranial volume. Linear regression models, adjusted for age, education, and sex, were performed with total WMH volume as the predictor and global motor score as the outcome. Terms for total daily physical activity and its interaction with WMH volume were then added to the model. Results: Higher WMH burden was associated with lower motor function (p = 0.006), and total daily activity was positively associated with motor function (p = 0.002). Total daily activity modified the association between WMH and motor function (p = 0.007). WMH burden was not associated with motor function in persons with high activity (90th percentile). By contrast, higher WMH burden remained associated with lower motor function in persons with average (50th percentile; estimate = −0.304, slope = −0.133) and low (10th percentile; estimate = −1.793, slope = −0.241) activity. Conclusions: Higher levels of physical activity may reduce the effect of WMH burden on motor function in healthy older adults. PMID:25762710

  5. Motor learning and cross-limb transfer rely upon distinct neural adaptation processes.

    PubMed

    Stöckel, Tino; Carroll, Timothy J; Summers, Jeffery J; Hinder, Mark R

    2016-08-01

    Performance benefits conferred in the untrained limb after unilateral motor practice are termed cross-limb transfer. Although the effect is robust, the neural mechanisms remain incompletely understood. In this study we used noninvasive brain stimulation to reveal that the neural adaptations that mediate motor learning in the trained limb are distinct from those that underlie cross-limb transfer to the opposite limb. Thirty-six participants practiced a ballistic motor task with their right index finger (150 trials), followed by intermittent theta-burst stimulation (iTBS) applied to the trained (contralateral) primary motor cortex (cM1 group), the untrained (ipsilateral) M1 (iM1 group), or the vertex (sham group). After stimulation, another 150 training trials were undertaken. Motor performance and corticospinal excitability were assessed before motor training, pre- and post-iTBS, and after the second training bout. For all groups, training significantly increased performance and excitability of the trained hand, and performance, but not excitability, of the untrained hand, indicating transfer at the level of task performance. The typical facilitatory effect of iTBS on MEPs was reversed for cM1, suggesting homeostatic metaplasticity, and prior performance gains in the trained hand were degraded, suggesting that iTBS interfered with learning. In stark contrast, iM1 iTBS facilitated both performance and excitability for the untrained hand. Importantly, the effects of cM1 and iM1 iTBS on behavior were exclusive to the hand contralateral to stimulation, suggesting that adaptations within the untrained M1 contribute to cross-limb transfer. However, the neural processes that mediate learning in the trained hemisphere vs. transfer in the untrained hemisphere appear distinct. PMID:27169508

  6. New Angles on Motor and Sensory Coordination in Learning Disabilities.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Goldey, Ellen S.

    1998-01-01

    Provides an overview of presentations that were included in the Medical Symposium at the 1998 Learning Disabilities Association conference. The symposium addressed vestibular control and eye movement, postural sway and balance, cerebellar dysfunction, the role of the frontal lobe, developmental coordination disorder, and sensory integration…

  7. Intact Procedural Motor Sequence Learning in Developmental Coordination Disorder

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lejeune, Caroline; Catale, Corinne; Willems, Sylvie; Meulemans, Thierry

    2013-01-01

    The purpose of the present study was to explore the possibility of a procedural learning deficit among children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). We tested 34 children aged 6-12 years with and without DCD using the serial reaction time task, in which the standard keyboard was replaced by a touch screen in order to minimize the impact…

  8. Perceptual Learning Immediately Yields New Stable Motor Coordination

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wilson, Andrew D.; Snapp-Childs, Winona; Bingham, Geoffrey P.

    2010-01-01

    Coordinated rhythmic movement is specifically structured in humans. Movement at 0[degrees] mean relative phase is maximally stable, 180[degrees] is less stable, and other coordinations can, but must, be learned. Variations in perceptual ability play a key role in determining the observed stabilities so we investigated whether stable movements can…

  9. Synergistic effects of noradrenergic modulation with atomoxetine and 10 Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation on motor learning in healthy humans

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is able to induce changes in neuronal activity that outlast stimulation. The underlying mechanisms are not completely understood. They might be analogous to long-term potentiation or depression, as the duration of the effects seems to implicate changes in synaptic plasticity. Norepinephrine (NE) has been shown to play a crucial role in neuronal plasticity in the healthy and injured human brain. Atomoxetine (ATX) and other NE reuptake inhibitors have been shown to increase excitability in different systems and to influence learning processes. Thus, the combination of two facilitative interventions may lead to further increase in excitability and motor learning. But in some cases homeostatic metaplasticity might protect the brain from harmful hyperexcitability. In this study, the combination of 60 mg ATX and 10 Hz rTMS over the primary motor cortex was used to examine changes in cortical excitability and motor learning and to investigate their influence on synaptic plasticity mechanisms. Results The results of this double-blind placebo-controlled study showed that ATX facilitated corticospinal and intracortical excitability in motor cortex. 10 Hertz rTMS applied during a motor task was able to further increase intracortical excitability only in combination with ATX. In addition, only the combination of 10 Hz rTMS and ATX was capable of enhancing the total number of correct responses and reaction time significantly, indicating an interaction effect between rTMS and ATX without signs of homeostatic metaplasticity. Conclusion These results suggest that pharmacologically enhanced NE transmission and 10 Hz rTMS exert a synergistic effect on motor cortex excitability and motor learning in healthy humans. PMID:24690416

  10. Active Learning: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Page, Marilyn

    The purposes of the first two parts of this literature review are to clarify the concept of active learning and discuss the use and value of active learning models. In Part I, the perspectives of five historical proponents of active learning, Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Dewey, Kilpatrick, and Piaget, are discussed. The views of four contemporary…

  11. Student Active Learning Methods in Physical Chemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hinde, Robert J.; Kovac, Jeffrey

    2001-01-01

    We describe two strategies for implementing active learning in physical chemistry. One involves supplementing a traditional lecture course with heavily computer-based active-learning exercises carried out by cooperative groups in a department computer lab. The other uses cooperative learning almost exclusively, supplemented by occasional mini-lectures. Both approaches seemed to result in better student learning and a more positive attitude toward the subject. On the basis of our respective experiences using active learning techniques, we discuss some of the strengths of these techniques and some of the challenges we encountered using the active-learning approach in teaching physical chemistry.

  12. The Effect of an Acute Bout of Moderate-Intensity Aerobic Exercise on Motor Learning of a Continuous Tracking Task

    PubMed Central

    Snow, Nicholas J.; Mang, Cameron S.; Roig, Marc; Boyd, Lara A.

    2016-01-01

    Introduction There is evidence for beneficial effects of acute and long-term exercise interventions on several forms of memory, including procedural motor learning. In the present study we examined how performing a single bout of continuous moderate intensity aerobic exercise would impact motor skill acquisition and retention in young healthy adults, compared to a period of rest. We hypothesized that exercise would improve motor skill acquisition and retention, compared to motor practice alone. Materials and Methods Sixteen healthy adults completed sessions of aerobic exercise or seated rest that were immediately followed by practice of a novel motor task (practice). Exercise consisted of 30 minutes of continuous cycling at 60% peak O2 uptake. Twenty-four hours after practice, we assessed motor learning with a no-exercise retention test (retention). We also quantified changes in offline motor memory consolidation, which occurred between practice and retention (offline). Tracking error was separated into indices of temporal precision and spatial accuracy. Results There were no differences between conditions in the timing of movements during practice (p = 0.066), at retention (p = 0.761), or offline (p = 0.966). However, the exercise condition enabled participants to maintain spatial accuracy during practice (p = 0.477); whereas, following rest performance diminished (p = 0.050). There were no significant differences between conditions at retention (p = 0.532) or offline (p = 0.246). Discussion An acute bout of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise facilitated the maintenance of motor performance during skill acquisition, but did not influence motor learning. Given past work showing that pairing high intensity exercise with skilled motor practice benefits learning, it seems plausible that intensity is a key modulator of the effects of acute aerobic exercise on changes in complex motor behavior. Further work is necessary to establish a dose-response relationship between

  13. Active Learning through Service-Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Goldberg, Lynette R.; Richburg, Cynthia McCormick; Wood, Lisa A.

    2006-01-01

    Service-learning (SL) is a relatively new pedagogical approach to facilitate student learning at the university level. In SL, students enrolled in an academic course provide a needed service to a community partner. Through guided reflection, students link classroom-based, theoretical knowledge with clinical applications. Students' active…

  14. The influence of motor expertise on the brain activity of motor task performance: A meta-analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging studies.

    PubMed

    Yang, Jie

    2015-06-01

    Previous research has investigated the influence of long-term motor training on the brain activity of motor processes, but the findings are inconsistent. To clarify how acquiring motor expertise induces cortical reorganization during motor task performance, the current study conducted a quantitative meta-analysis on 26 functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies that investigate motor task performance in people with long-term motor training experience (e.g., athletes, musicians, and dancers) and control participants. Meta-analysis of the brain activation in motor experts and novices showed similar effects in the bilateral frontal and parietal regions. The meta-analysis on the contrast between motor experts and novices indicated that experts showed stronger effects in the left inferior parietal lobule (BA 40) than did novices in motor execution and prediction tasks. In motor observation tasks, experts showed stronger effects in the left inferior frontal gyrus (BA 9) and left precentral gyrus (BA 6) than novices. On the contrary, novices had stronger effects in the right motor areas and basal ganglia as compared with motor experts. These results indicate that motor experts have effect increases in brain areas involved in action planning and action comprehension, and suggest that intensive motor training might elaborate the motor representation related to the task performance. PMID:25450866

  15. Robot-assisted motor activation monitored by time-domain optical brain imaging

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steinkellner, O.; Wabnitz, H.; Schmid, S.; Steingräber, R.; Schmidt, H.; Krüger, J.; Macdonald, R.

    2011-07-01

    Robot-assisted motor rehabilitation proved to be an effective supplement to conventional hand-to-hand therapy in stroke patients. In order to analyze and understand motor learning and performance during rehabilitation it is desirable to develop a monitor to provide objective measures of the corresponding brain activity at the rehabilitation progress. We used a portable time-domain near-infrared reflectometer to monitor the hemodynamic brain response to distal upper extremity activities. Four healthy volunteers performed two different robot-assisted wrist/forearm movements, flexion-extension and pronation-supination in comparison with an unassisted squeeze ball exercise. A special headgear with four optical measurement positions to include parts of the pre- and postcentral gyrus provided a good overlap with the expected activation areas. Data analysis based on variance of time-of-flight distributions of photons through tissue was chosen to provide a suitable representation of intracerebral signals. In all subjects several of the four detection channels showed a response. In some cases indications were found of differences in localization of the activated areas for the various tasks.

  16. Cerebellar motor learning: are environment dynamics more important than error size?

    PubMed Central

    Gibo, Tricia L.; Criscimagna-Hemminger, Sarah E.; Okamura, Allison M.

    2013-01-01

    Cerebellar damage impairs the control of complex dynamics during reaching movements. It also impairs learning of predictable dynamic perturbations through an error-based process. Prior work suggests that there are distinct neural mechanisms involved in error-based learning that depend on the size of error experienced. This is based, in part, on the observation that people with cerebellar degeneration may have an intact ability to learn from small errors. Here we studied the relative effect of specific dynamic perturbations and error size on motor learning of a reaching movement in patients with cerebellar damage. We also studied generalization of learning within different coordinate systems (hand vs. joint space). Contrary to our expectation, we found that error size did not alter cerebellar patients' ability to learn the force field. Instead, the direction of the force field affected patients' ability to learn, regardless of whether the force perturbations were introduced gradually (small error) or abruptly (large error). Patients performed best in fields that helped them compensate for movement dynamics associated with reaching. However, they showed much more limited generalization patterns than control subjects, indicating that patients rely on a different learning mechanism. We suggest that patients typically use a compensatory strategy to counteract movement dynamics. They may learn to relax this compensatory strategy when the external perturbation is favorable to counteracting their movement dynamics, and improve reaching performance. Altogether, these findings show that dynamics affect learning in cerebellar patients more than error size. PMID:23596337

  17. Neurotoxicity induced by alkyl nitrites: Impairment in learning/memory and motor coordination.

    PubMed

    Cha, Hye Jin; Kim, Yun Ji; Jeon, Seo Young; Kim, Young-Hoon; Shin, Jisoon; Yun, Jaesuk; Han, Kyoungmoon; Park, Hye-Kyung; Kim, Hyung Soo

    2016-04-21

    Although alkyl nitrites are used as recreational drugs, there is only little research data regarding their effects on the central nervous system including their neurotoxicity. This study investigated the neurotoxicity of three representative alkyl nitrites (isobutyl nitrite, isoamyl nitrite, and butyl nitrite), and whether it affected learning/memory function and motor coordination in rodents. Morris water maze test was performed in mice after administrating the mice with varying doses of the substances in two different injection schedules of memory acquisition and memory retention. A rota-rod test was then performed in rats. All tested alkyl nitrites lowered the rodents' capacity for learning and memory, as assessed by both the acquisition and retention tests. The results of the rota-rod test showed that isobutyl nitrite in particular impaired motor coordination in chronically treated rats. The mice chronically injected with isoamyl nitrite also showed impaired function, while butyl nitrite had no significant effect. The results of the water maze test suggest that alkyl nitrites may impair learning and memory. Additionally, isoamyl nitrite affected the rodents' motor coordination ability. Collectively, our findings suggest that alkyl nitrites may induce neurotoxicity, especially on the aspect of learning and memory function. PMID:26971703

  18. A neural network-based exploratory learning and motor planning system for co-robots.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26257640

  19. A neural network-based exploratory learning and motor planning system for co-robots

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:26257640

  20. Auditory-induced neural dynamics in sensory-motor circuitry predict learned temporal and sequential statistics of birdsong

    PubMed Central

    Bouchard, Kristofer E.; Brainard, Michael S.

    2016-01-01

    Predicting future events is a critical computation for both perception and behavior. Despite the essential nature of this computation, there are few studies demonstrating neural activity that predicts specific events in learned, probabilistic sequences. Here, we test the hypotheses that the dynamics of internally generated neural activity are predictive of future events and are structured by the learned temporal–sequential statistics of those events. We recorded neural activity in Bengalese finch sensory-motor area HVC in response to playback of sequences from individuals’ songs, and examined the neural activity that continued after stimulus offset. We found that the strength of response to a syllable in the sequence depended on the delay at which that syllable was played, with a maximal response when the delay matched the intersyllable gap normally present for that specific syllable during song production. Furthermore, poststimulus neural activity induced by sequence playback resembled the neural response to the next syllable in the sequence when that syllable was predictable, but not when the next syllable was uncertain. Our results demonstrate that the dynamics of internally generated HVC neural activity are predictive of the learned temporal–sequential structure of produced song and that the strength of this prediction is modulated by uncertainty. PMID:27506786

  1. Changes in functional connectivity and GABA levels with long-term motor learning

    PubMed Central

    Sampaio-Baptista, Cassandra; Filippini, Nicola; Stagg, Charlotte J.; Near, Jamie; Scholz, Jan; Johansen-Berg, Heidi

    2015-01-01

    Learning novel motor skills alters local inhibitory circuits within primary motor cortex (M1) (Floyer-Lea et al., 2006) and changes long-range functional connectivity (Albert et al., 2009). Whether such effects occur with long-term training is less well established. In addition, the relationship between learning-related changes in functional connectivity and local inhibition, and their modulation by practice, has not previously been tested. Here, we used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) to assess functional connectivity and MR spectroscopy to quantify GABA in primary motor cortex (M1) before and after a 6 week regime of juggling practice. Participants practiced for either 30 min (high intensity group) or 15 min (low intensity group) per day. We hypothesized that different training regimes would be reflected in distinct changes in brain connectivity and local inhibition, and that correlations would be found between learning-induced changes in GABA and functional connectivity. Performance improved significantly with practice in both groups and we found no evidence for differences in performance outcomes between the low intensity and high intensity groups. Despite the absence of behavioral differences, we found distinct patterns of brain change in the two groups: the low intensity group showed increases in functional connectivity in the motor network and decreases in GABA, whereas the high intensity group showed decreases in functional connectivity and no significant change in GABA. Changes in functional connectivity correlated with performance outcome. Learning-related changes in functional connectivity correlated with changes in GABA. The results suggest that different training regimes are associated with distinct patterns of brain change, even when performance outcomes are comparable between practice schedules. Our results further indicate that learning-related changes in resting-state network strength in part reflect GABAergic

  2. Changes in functional connectivity and GABA levels with long-term motor learning.

    PubMed

    Sampaio-Baptista, Cassandra; Filippini, Nicola; Stagg, Charlotte J; Near, Jamie; Scholz, Jan; Johansen-Berg, Heidi

    2015-02-01

    Learning novel motor skills alters local inhibitory circuits within primary motor cortex (M1) (Floyer-Lea et al., 2006) and changes long-range functional connectivity (Albert et al., 2009). Whether such effects occur with long-term training is less well established. In addition, the relationship between learning-related changes in functional connectivity and local inhibition, and their modulation by practice, has not previously been tested. Here, we used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) to assess functional connectivity and MR spectroscopy to quantify GABA in primary motor cortex (M1) before and after a 6 week regime of juggling practice. Participants practiced for either 30 min (high intensity group) or 15 min (low intensity group) per day. We hypothesized that different training regimes would be reflected in distinct changes in brain connectivity and local inhibition, and that correlations would be found between learning-induced changes in GABA and functional connectivity. Performance improved significantly with practice in both groups and we found no evidence for differences in performance outcomes between the low intensity and high intensity groups. Despite the absence of behavioral differences, we found distinct patterns of brain change in the two groups: the low intensity group showed increases in functional connectivity in the motor network and decreases in GABA, whereas the high intensity group showed decreases in functional connectivity and no significant change in GABA. Changes in functional connectivity correlated with performance outcome. Learning-related changes in functional connectivity correlated with changes in GABA. The results suggest that different training regimes are associated with distinct patterns of brain change, even when performance outcomes are comparable between practice schedules. Our results further indicate that learning-related changes in resting-state network strength in part reflect GABAergic plastic

  3. The Sensorimotor System Can Sculpt Behaviorally Relevant Representations for Motor Learning.

    PubMed

    Franklin, David W; Batchelor, Alexandra V; Wolpert, Daniel M

    2016-01-01

    The coordinate system in which humans learn novel motor skills is controversial. The representation of sensorimotor skills has been extensively studied by examining generalization after learning perturbations specifically designed to be ambiguous as to their coordinate system. Recent studies have found that learning is not represented in any simple coordinate system and can potentially be accounted for by a mixed representation. Here, instead of probing generalization, which has led to conflicting results, we examine whether novel dynamics can be learned when explicitly and unambiguously presented in particular coordinate systems. Subjects performed center-out reaches to targets in the presence of a force field, while varying the orientation of their hand (i.e., the wrist angle) across trials. Different groups of subjects experienced force fields that were explicitly presented either in Cartesian coordinates (field independent of hand orientation), in object coordinates (field rotated with hand orientation), or in anti-object coordinates (field rotated counter to hand orientation). Subjects learned to represent the dynamics when presented in either Cartesian or object coordinates, learning these as well as an ambiguous force field. However, learning was slower for the object-based dynamics and substantially impaired for the anti-object presentation. Our results show that the motor system is able to tune its representation to at least two natural coordinate systems but is impaired when the representation of the task does not correspond to a behaviorally relevant coordinate system. Our results show that the motor system can sculpt its representation through experience to match those of natural tasks. PMID:27588304

  4. The Sensorimotor System Can Sculpt Behaviorally Relevant Representations for Motor Learning

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Abstract The coordinate system in which humans learn novel motor skills is controversial. The representation of sensorimotor skills has been extensively studied by examining generalization after learning perturbations specifically designed to be ambiguous as to their coordinate system. Recent studies have found that learning is not represented in any simple coordinate system and can potentially be accounted for by a mixed representation. Here, instead of probing generalization, which has led to conflicting results, we examine whether novel dynamics can be learned when explicitly and unambiguously presented in particular coordinate systems. Subjects performed center–out reaches to targets in the presence of a force field, while varying the orientation of their hand (i.e., the wrist angle) across trials. Different groups of subjects experienced force fields that were explicitly presented either in Cartesian coordinates (field independent of hand orientation), in object coordinates (field rotated with hand orientation), or in anti-object coordinates (field rotated counter to hand orientation). Subjects learned to represent the dynamics when presented in either Cartesian or object coordinates, learning these as well as an ambiguous force field. However, learning was slower for the object-based dynamics and substantially impaired for the anti-object presentation. Our results show that the motor system is able to tune its representation to at least two natural coordinate systems but is impaired when the representation of the task does not correspond to a behaviorally relevant coordinate system. Our results show that the motor system can sculpt its representation through experience to match those of natural tasks. PMID:27588304

  5. Developing Metacognition: A Basis for Active Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Vos, Henk; de Graaff, E.

    2004-01-01

    The reasons to introduce formats of active learning in engineering (ALE) such as project work, problem-based learning, use of cases, etc. are mostly based on practical experience, and sometimes from applied research on teaching and learning. Such research shows that students learn more and different abilities than in traditional formats of…

  6. Procedural memory in Parkinson's disease: impaired motor but not visuoperceptual learning.

    PubMed

    Harrington, D L; Haaland, K Y; Yeo, R A; Marder, E

    1990-03-01

    A current model proposes that memory consists of two functionally separate systems that have different neurological substrates. Declarative memory appears to be dependent on the diencephalic medial temporal lobe system whereas some speculate that the basal ganglia may be a neurological substrate for procedural memory. This study tested the role of the basal ganglia in regulating different types of procedural skills by comparing performance on a motor and a visuoperceptual skill learning task. Twenty Parkinson's (PD) patients and 20 normal control subjects performed two procedural learning tasks (rotary pursuit and mirror reading) and one declarative learning task (paired associates) over 3 days. The results showed that PD patients were not impaired on mirror reading or paired associate learning. On rotary pursuit, performance levels on day 1 were similar between groups, but the PD group showed less improvement across days than controls. However, only patients with more advanced symptoms of PD showed impaired rotary pursuit learning, and this could not be attributed directly to deficits in primary motor or general cognitive function. These findings suggest that the underlying processes/procedures for procedural learning are specific to the task, and are supported by different neuroanatomical systems. PMID:2341560

  7. Activity of motor cortex neurons during backward locomotion

    PubMed Central

    Deliagina, T. G.; Orlovsky, G. N.; Karayannidou, A.; Stout, E. E.; Sirota, M. G.; Beloozerova, I. N.

    2011-01-01

    Forward walking (FW) and backward walking (BW) are two important forms of locomotion in quadrupeds. Participation of the motor cortex in the control of FW has been intensively studied, whereas cortical activity during BW has never been investigated. The aim of this study was to analyze locomotion-related activity of the motor cortex during BW and compare it with that during FW. For this purpose, we recorded activity of individual neurons in the cat during BW and FW. We found that the discharge frequency in almost all neurons was modulated in the rhythm of stepping during both FW and BW. However, the modulation patterns during BW and FW were different in 80% of neurons. To determine the source of modulating influences (forelimb controllers vs. hindlimb controllers), the neurons were recorded not only during quadrupedal locomotion but also during bipedal locomotion (with either forelimbs or hindlimbs walking), and their modulation patterns were compared. We found that during BW (like during FW), modulation in some neurons was determined by inputs from limb controllers of only one girdle, whereas the other neurons received inputs from both girdles. The combinations of inputs could depend on the direction of locomotion. Most often (in 51% of forelimb-related neurons and in 34% of the hindlimb-related neurons), the neurons received inputs only from their own girdle when this girdle was leading and from both girdles when this girdle was trailing. This reconfiguration of inputs suggests flexibility of the functional roles of individual cortical neurons during different forms of locomotion. PMID:21430283

  8. Pregnenolone sulfate restores the glutamate-nitric-oxide-cGMP pathway and extracellular GABA in cerebellum and learning and motor coordination in hyperammonemic rats.

    PubMed

    Gonzalez-Usano, Alba; Cauli, Omar; Agusti, Ana; Felipo, Vicente

    2014-02-19

    Around 40% of cirrhotic patients show minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE), with mild cognitive impairment which reduces their quality of life and life span. Treatment of MHE is unsatisfactory, and there are no specific treatments for the neurological alterations in MHE. Hyperammonemia is the main contributor to neurological alterations in MHE. New agents acting on molecular targets involved in brain mechanisms leading to neurological alterations are needed to treat MHE. Chronic hyperammonemia impairs learning of a Y-maze task by impairing the glutamate-nitric-oxide (NO)-cGMP pathway in cerebellum, in part by enhancing GABA(A) receptor activation, which also induces motor in-coordination. Acute pregnenolone sulfate (PregS) restores the glutamate-NO-cGMP pathway in hyperammonemic rats. This work aimed to assess whether chronic treatment of hyperammonemic rats with PregS restores (1) motor coordination; (2) extracellular GABA in cerebellum; (3) learning of the Y-maze task; (4) the glutamate-NO-cGMP pathway in cerebellum. Chronic intracerebral administration of PregS normalizes motor coordination likely due to extracellular GABA reduction. PregS restores learning ability by restoring the glutamate-NO-cGMP pathway, likely due to both enhanced NMDA receptor activation and reduced GABA(A) receptor activation. Similar treatments would improve cognitive and motor alterations in patients with MHE. PMID:24256194

  9. Pregnenolone Sulfate Restores the Glutamate-Nitric-Oxide-cGMP Pathway and Extracellular GABA in Cerebellum and Learning and Motor Coordination in Hyperammonemic Rats

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Around 40% of cirrhotic patients show minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE), with mild cognitive impairment which reduces their quality of life and life span. Treatment of MHE is unsatisfactory, and there are no specific treatments for the neurological alterations in MHE. Hyperammonemia is the main contributor to neurological alterations in MHE. New agents acting on molecular targets involved in brain mechanisms leading to neurological alterations are needed to treat MHE. Chronic hyperammonemia impairs learning of a Y-maze task by impairing the glutamate-nitric-oxide (NO)-cGMP pathway in cerebellum, in part by enhancing GABAA receptor activation, which also induces motor in-coordination. Acute pregnenolone sulfate (PregS) restores the glutamate-NO-cGMP pathway in hyperammonemic rats. This work aimed to assess whether chronic treatment of hyperammonemic rats with PregS restores (1) motor coordination; (2) extracellular GABA in cerebellum; (3) learning of the Y-maze task; (4) the glutamate-NO-cGMP pathway in cerebellum. Chronic intracerebral administration of PregS normalizes motor coordination likely due to extracellular GABA reduction. PregS restores learning ability by restoring the glutamate-NO-cGMP pathway, likely due to both enhanced NMDA receptor activation and reduced GABAA receptor activation. Similar treatments would improve cognitive and motor alterations in patients with MHE. PMID:24256194

  10. Learning activism, acting with phronesis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Yew-Jin

    2015-12-01

    The article "Socio-political development of private school children mobilising for disadvantaged others" by Darren Hoeg, Natalie Lemelin, and Lawrence Bencze described a language-learning curriculum that drew on elements of Socioscientific issues and Science, Technology, Society and Environment. Results showed that with a number of enabling factors acting in concert, learning about and engagement in practical action for social justice and equity are possible. An alternative but highly compatible framework is now introduced—phronetic social research—as an action-oriented, wisdom-seeking research stance for the social sciences. By so doing, it is hoped that forms of phronetic social research can gain wider currency among those that promote activism as one of many valued outcomes of an education in science.

  11. Motor imagery-based brain activity parallels that of motor execution: evidence from magnetic source imaging of cortical oscillations.

    PubMed

    Kraeutner, Sarah; Gionfriddo, Alicia; Bardouille, Timothy; Boe, Shaun

    2014-11-01

    Motor imagery (MI) is a form of practice in which an individual mentally performs a motor task. Previous research suggests that skill acquisition via MI is facilitated by repetitive activation of brain regions in the sensorimotor network similar to that of motor execution, however this evidence is conflicting. Further, many studies do not control for overt muscle activity and thus the activation patterns reported for MI may be driven in part by actual movement. The purpose of the current research is to further establish MI as a secondary modality of skill acquisition by providing electrophysiological evidence of an overlap between brain areas recruited for motor execution and imagery. Non-disabled participants (N=18; 24.7±3.8 years) performed both execution and imagery of a unilateral sequence button-press task. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) was utilized to capture neural activity, while electromyography used to rigorously monitor muscle activity. Event-related synchronization/desynchronization (ERS/ERD) analysis was conducted in the beta frequency band (15-30 Hz). Whole head dual-state beamformer analysis was applied to MEG data and 3D t-tests were conducted after Talairach normalization. Source-level analysis showed that MI has similar patterns of spatial activity as ME, including activation of contralateral primary motor and somatosensory cortices. However, this activation is significantly less intense during MI (p<0.05). As well, activation during ME was more lateralized (i.e., within the contralateral hemisphere). These results confirm that ME and MI have similar spatial activation patterns. Thus, the current research provides direct electrophysiological evidence to further establish MI as a secondary form of skill acquisition. PMID:25251592

  12. Linking Mission to Learning Activities for Assurance of Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Yeung, Shirley Mo-ching

    2011-01-01

    Can accreditation-related requirements and mission statements measure learning outcomes? This study focuses on triangulating accreditation-related requirements with mission statements and learning activities to learning outcomes. This topic has not been comprehensively explored in the past. After looking into the requirements of AACSB, ISO, and…

  13. Effects of Visual Feedback-Induced Variability on Motor Learning of Handrim Wheelchair Propulsion

    PubMed Central

    Leving, Marika T.; Vegter, Riemer J. K.; Hartog, Johanneke; Lamoth, Claudine J. C.; de Groot, Sonja; van der Woude, Lucas H. V.

    2015-01-01

    Background It has been suggested that a higher intra-individual variability benefits the motor learning of wheelchair propulsion. The present study evaluated whether feedback-induced variability on wheelchair propulsion technique variables would also enhance the motor learning process. Learning was operationalized as an improvement in mechanical efficiency and propulsion technique, which are thought to be closely related during the learning process. Methods 17 Participants received visual feedback-based practice (feedback group) and 15 participants received regular practice (natural learning group). Both groups received equal practice dose of 80 min, over 3 weeks, at 0.24 W/kg at a treadmill speed of 1.11 m/s. To compare both groups the pre- and post-test were performed without feedback. The feedback group received real-time visual feedback on seven propulsion variables with instruction to manipulate the presented variable to achieve the highest possible variability (1st 4-min block) and optimize it in the prescribed direction (2nd 4-min block). To increase motor exploration the participants were unaware of the exact variable they received feedback on. Energy consumption and the propulsion technique variables with their respective coefficient of variation were calculated to evaluate the amount of intra-individual variability. Results The feedback group, which practiced with higher intra-individual variability, improved the propulsion technique between pre- and post-test to the same extent as the natural learning group. Mechanical efficiency improved between pre- and post-test in the natural learning group but remained unchanged in the feedback group. Conclusion These results suggest that feedback-induced variability inhibited the improvement in mechanical efficiency. Moreover, since both groups improved propulsion technique but only the natural learning group improved mechanical efficiency, it can be concluded that the improvement in mechanical efficiency and

  14. The Importance of Visual Feedback Design in BCIs; from Embodiment to Motor Imagery Learning.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:27598310

  15. Inter-individual differences in audio-motor learning of piano melodies and white matter fiber tract architecture.

    PubMed

    Engel, Annerose; Hijmans, Brenda S; Cerliani, Leonardo; Bangert, Marc; Nanetti, Luca; Keller, Peter E; Keysers, Christian

    2014-05-01

    Humans vary substantially in their ability to learn new motor skills. Here, we examined inter-individual differences in learning to play the piano, with the goal of identifying relations to structural properties of white matter fiber tracts relevant to audio-motor learning. Non-musicians (n = 18) learned to perform three short melodies on a piano keyboard in a pure audio-motor training condition (vision of their own fingers was occluded). Initial learning times ranged from 17 to 120 min (mean ± SD: 62 ± 29 min). Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging was used to derive the fractional anisotropy (FA), an index of white matter microstructural arrangement. A correlation analysis revealed that higher FA values were associated with faster learning of piano melodies. These effects were observed in the bilateral corticospinal tracts, bundles of axons relevant for the execution of voluntary movements, and the right superior longitudinal fasciculus, a tract important for audio-motor transformations. These results suggest that the speed with which novel complex audio-motor skills can be acquired may be determined by variability in structural properties of white matter fiber tracts connecting brain areas functionally relevant for audio-motor learning. PMID:23904213

  16. Sport stacking activities in school children's motor skill development.

    PubMed

    Li, Yuhua; Coleman, Diane; Ransdell, Mary; Coleman, Lyndsie; Irwin, Carol

    2011-10-01

    This study examined the impact of a 12-wk. sport stacking intervention on reaction time (RT), manual dexterity, and hand-eye coordination in elementary school-aged children. 80 Grade 2 students participated in a 15-min. sport stacking practice session every school day for 12 wk., and were tested on psychomotor performance improvement. Tests for choice RT, manual dexterity, and photoelectric rotary pursuit tracking were conducted pre- and post-intervention for both experimental group (n = 36) and the controls (n = 44) who did no sport stacking. Students who had the intervention showed a greater improvement in two-choice RT. No other group difference was found. Such sport stacking activities may facilitate children's central processing and perceptual-motor integration. PMID:22185058

  17. Reinforcement learning of self-regulated sensorimotor β-oscillations improves motor performance.

    PubMed

    Naros, G; Naros, I; Grimm, F; Ziemann, U; Gharabaghi, A

    2016-07-01

    Self-regulation of sensorimotor oscillations is currently researched in neurorehabilitation, e.g. for priming subsequent physiotherapy in stroke patients, and may be modulated by neurofeedback or transcranial brain stimulation. It has still to be demonstrated, however, whether and under which training conditions such brain self-regulation could also result in motor gains. Thirty-two right-handed, healthy subjects participated in a three-day intervention during which they performed 462 trials of kinesthetic motor-imagery while a brain-robot interface (BRI) turned event-related β-band desynchronization of the left sensorimotor cortex into the opening of the right hand by a robotic orthosis. Different training conditions were compared in a parallel-group design: (i) adaptive classifier thresholding and contingent feedback, (ii) adaptive classifier thresholding and non-contingent feedback, (iii) non-adaptive classifier thresholding and contingent feedback, and (iv) non-adaptive classifier thresholding and non-contingent feedback. We studied the task-related cortical physiology with electroencephalography and the behavioral performance in a subsequent isometric motor task. Contingent neurofeedback and adaptive classifier thresholding were critical for learning brain self-regulation which, in turn, led to behavioral gains after the intervention. The acquired skill for sustained sensorimotor β-desynchronization correlated significantly with subsequent motor improvement. Operant learning of brain self-regulation with a BRI may offer a therapeutic perspective for severely affected stroke patients lacking residual hand function. PMID:27046109

  18. Acquisition and improvement of human motor skills: Learning through observation and practice

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Iba, Wayne

    1991-01-01

    Skilled movement is an integral part of the human existence. A better understanding of motor skills and their development is a prerequisite to the construction of truly flexible intelligent agents. We present MAEANDER, a computational model of human motor behavior, that uniformly addresses both the acquisition of skills through observation and the improvement of skills through practice. MAEANDER consists of a sensory-effector interface, a memory of movements, and a set of performance and learning mechanisms that let it recognize and generate motor skills. The system initially acquires such skills by observing movements performed by another agent and constructing a concept hierarchy. Given a stored motor skill in memory, MAEANDER will cause an effector to behave appropriately. All learning involves changing the hierarchical memory of skill concepts to more closely correspond to either observed experience or to desired behaviors. We evaluated MAEANDER empirically with respect to how well it acquires and improves both artificial movement types and handwritten script letters from the alphabet. We also evaluate MAEANDER as a psychological model by comparing its behavior to robust phenomena in humans and by considering the richness of the predictions it makes.

  19. Caspr3-Deficient Mice Exhibit Low Motor Learning during the Early Phase of the Accelerated Rotarod Task

    PubMed Central

    Hirata, Haruna; Takahashi, Aki; Shimoda, Yasushi; Koide, Tsuyoshi

    2016-01-01

    Caspr3 (Contactin-associated protein-like 3, Cntnap3) is a neural cell adhesion molecule belonging to the Caspr family. We have recently shown that Caspr3 is expressed abundantly between the first and second postnatal weeks in the mouse basal ganglia, including the striatum, external segment of the globus pallidus, subthalamic nucleus, and substantia nigra. However, its physiological role remains largely unknown. In this study, we conducted a series of behavioral analyses on Capsr3-knockout (KO) mice and equivalent wild-type (WT) mice to investigate the role of Caspr3 in brain function. No significant differences were observed in most behavioral traits between Caspr3-KO and WT mice, but we found that Caspr3-KO mice performed poorly during the early phase of the accelerated rotarod task in which latency to falling off a rod rotating with increasing velocity was examined. In the late phase, the performance of the Caspr3-KO mice caught up to the level of WT mice, suggesting that the deletion of Caspr3 caused a delay in motor learning. We then examined changes in neural activity after training on the accelerated rotarod by conducting immunohistochemistry using antibody to c-Fos, an indirect marker for neuronal activity. Experience of the accelerated rotarod task caused increases in the number of c-Fos-positive cells in the dorsal striatum, cerebellum, and motor cortex in both Caspr3-KO and WT mice, but the number of c-Fos-positive cells was significantly lower in the dorsal striatum of Caspr3-KO mice than in that of WT mice. The expression of c-Fos in the ventral striatum of Caspr3-KO and WT mice was not altered by the training. Our findings suggest that reduced activation of neural cells in the dorsal striatum in Caspr3-KO mice leads to a decline in motor learning in the accelerated rotarod task. PMID:26807827

  20. Caspr3-Deficient Mice Exhibit Low Motor Learning during the Early Phase of the Accelerated Rotarod Task.

    PubMed

    Hirata, Haruna; Takahashi, Aki; Shimoda, Yasushi; Koide, Tsuyoshi

    2016-01-01

    Caspr3 (Contactin-associated protein-like 3, Cntnap3) is a neural cell adhesion molecule belonging to the Caspr family. We have recently shown that Caspr3 is expressed abundantly between the first and second postnatal weeks in the mouse basal ganglia, including the striatum, external segment of the globus pallidus, subthalamic nucleus, and substantia nigra. However, its physiological role remains largely unknown. In this study, we conducted a series of behavioral analyses on Capsr3-knockout (KO) mice and equivalent wild-type (WT) mice to investigate the role of Caspr3 in brain function. No significant differences were observed in most behavioral traits between Caspr3-KO and WT mice, but we found that Caspr3-KO mice performed poorly during the early phase of the accelerated rotarod task in which latency to falling off a rod rotating with increasing velocity was examined. In the late phase, the performance of the Caspr3-KO mice caught up to the level of WT mice, suggesting that the deletion of Caspr3 caused a delay in motor learning. We then examined changes in neural activity after training on the accelerated rotarod by conducting immunohistochemistry using antibody to c-Fos, an indirect marker for neuronal activity. Experience of the accelerated rotarod task caused increases in the number of c-Fos-positive cells in the dorsal striatum, cerebellum, and motor cortex in both Caspr3-KO and WT mice, but the number of c-Fos-positive cells was significantly lower in the dorsal striatum of Caspr3-KO mice than in that of WT mice. The expression of c-Fos in the ventral striatum of Caspr3-KO and WT mice was not altered by the training. Our findings suggest that reduced activation of neural cells in the dorsal striatum in Caspr3-KO mice leads to a decline in motor learning in the accelerated rotarod task. PMID:26807827

  1. Motor unit regulation of mammalian pharyngeal dilator muscle activity.

    PubMed Central

    van Lunteren, E; Dick, T E

    1989-01-01

    The present study examined the cellular regulation of one of the pharyngeal dilator muscles, the geniohyoid, by assessing its motor unit (MU) behavior in anesthetized cats. During spontaneous breathing, MU that (a) were active during inspiration only (I-MU) and (b) were active during both inspiration and expiration (I/E-MU) were identified. I-MU had a later inspiratory onset time and a shorter duration of inspiratory firing than did I/E-MU (P less than 0.002 and P less than 0.0001, respectively). I-MU were usually quiescent whereas I/E-MU were usually active during the last 20% of inspiration. I/E-MU fired more rapidly (P less than 0.00001) and for relatively longer periods of time (P less than 0.00001) during inspiration than during expiration. End-expiratory airway occlusion (preventing lung expansion during inspiration) augmented the inspiratory activity of both I-MU and I/E-MU. Conversely, end-expiratory airway occlusion reduced the absolute and relative firing durations (P less than 0.002 and P less than 0.00002, respectively) and the firing frequency (P less than 0.001) of I/E-MU activity during expiration. These results indicate that (a) the complex pattern of pharyngeal dilator muscle activity is due to the integrated activity of a heterogeneous group of MU, (b) changes in the degree to which pharyngeal dilator muscles are active result from combinations of MU recruitment/decruitment and modulations of the frequency and duration of MU firing, and (c) gating of lung-volume afferent information occurs during the respiratory cycle. PMID:2760202

  2. Active Learning in the Middle Grades

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Edwards, Susan

    2015-01-01

    What is active learning and what does it look like in the classroom? If students are participating in active learning, they are playing a more engaged role in the learning process and are not overly reliant on the teacher (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2003; Petress, 2008). The purpose of this article is to propose a framework to describe and…

  3. Research on Mobile Learning Activities Applying Tablets

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kurilovas, Eugenijus; Juskeviciene, Anita; Bireniene, Virginija

    2015-01-01

    The paper aims to present current research on mobile learning activities in Lithuania while implementing flagship EU-funded CCL project on application of tablet computers in education. In the paper, the quality of modern mobile learning activities based on learning personalisation, problem solving, collaboration, and flipped class methods is…

  4. Active Learning: The Way Children Construct Knowledge.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hohmann, Mary; Weikart, David P.

    2002-01-01

    The High/Scope approach to early childhood education promotes the belief that active learning is fundamental to the development of human potential and occurs most effectively in settings that provide developmentally appropriate learning opportunities. Describes five ingredients of active learning (materials, manipulation, choice, language from…

  5. When Money Is Not Enough: Awareness, Success, and Variability in Motor Learning

    PubMed Central

    Manley, Harry; Dayan, Peter; Diedrichsen, Jörn

    2014-01-01

    When performing a skill such as throwing a dart, many different combinations of joint motions suffice to hit the target. The motor system adapts rapidly to reduce bias in the desired outcome (i.e., the first-order moment of the error); however, the essence of skill is to produce movements with less variability (i.e., to reduce the second-order moment). It is easy to see how feedback about success or failure could sculpt performance to achieve this aim. However, it is unclear whether the dimensions responsible for success or failure need to be known explicitly by the subjects, or whether learning can proceed without explicit awareness of the movement parameters that need to change. Here, we designed a redundant, two-dimensional reaching task in which we could selectively manipulate task success and the variability of action outcomes, whilst also manipulating awareness of the dimension along which performance could be improved. Variability was manipulated either by amplifying natural errors, leaving the correlation between the executed movement and the visual feedback intact, or by adding extrinsic noise, decorrelating movement and feedback. We found that explicit, binary, feedback about success or failure was only sufficient for learning when participants were aware of the dimension along which motor behavior had to change. Without such awareness, learning was only present when extrinsic noise was added to the feedback, but not when task success or variability was manipulated in isolation; learning was also much slower. Our results highlight the importance of conscious awareness of the relevant dimension during motor learning, and suggest that higher-order moments of outcome signals are likely to play a significant role in skill learning in complex tasks. PMID:24489746

  6. When money is not enough: awareness, success, and variability in motor learning.

    PubMed

    Manley, Harry; Dayan, Peter; Diedrichsen, Jörn

    2014-01-01

    When performing a skill such as throwing a dart, many different combinations of joint motions suffice to hit the target. The motor system adapts rapidly to reduce bias in the desired outcome (i.e., the first-order moment of the error); however, the essence of skill is to produce movements with less variability (i.e., to reduce the second-order moment). It is easy to see how feedback about success or failure could sculpt performance to achieve this aim. However, it is unclear whether the dimensions responsible for success or failure need to be known explicitly by the subjects, or whether learning can proceed without explicit awareness of the movement parameters that need to change. Here, we designed a redundant, two-dimensional reaching task in which we could selectively manipulate task success and the variability of action outcomes, whilst also manipulating awareness of the dimension along which performance could be improved. Variability was manipulated either by amplifying natural errors, leaving the correlation between the executed movement and the visual feedback intact, or by adding extrinsic noise, decorrelating movement and feedback. We found that explicit, binary, feedback about success or failure was only sufficient for learning when participants were aware of the dimension along which motor behavior had to change. Without such awareness, learning was only present when extrinsic noise was added to the feedback, but not when task success or variability was manipulated in isolation; learning was also much slower. Our results highlight the importance of conscious awareness of the relevant dimension during motor learning, and suggest that higher-order moments of outcome signals are likely to play a significant role in skill learning in complex tasks. PMID:24489746

  7. Intervention for Lateral /s/ Using Electropalatography (EPG) Biofeedback and an Intensive Motor Learning Approach: A Case Report

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    McAuliffe, Megan J.; Cornwell, Petrea L.

    2008-01-01

    Background: Visual biofeedback using electropalatography (EPG) has been beneficial in the treatment of some cases of lateral /s/ misarticulation. While EPG intervention is motorically based, studies have not commonly employed a motor learning approach to treatment. Furthermore, treatment success is measured primarily by change to EPG tongue-palate…

  8. Myosin II Motor Activity in the Lateral Amygdala Is Required for Fear Memory Consolidation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gavin, Cristin F.; Rubio, Maria D.; Young, Erica; Miller, Courtney; Rumbaugh, Gavin

    2012-01-01

    Learning induces dynamic changes to the actin cytoskeleton that are required to support memory formation. However, the molecular mechanisms that mediate filamentous actin (F-actin) dynamics during learning and memory are poorly understood. Myosin II motors are highly expressed in actin-rich growth structures including dendritic spines, and we have…

  9. Motor Neuron Activation in Peripheral Nerves Using Infrared Neural Stimulation

    PubMed Central

    Peterson, EJ; Tyler, DJ

    2014-01-01

    Objective Localized activation of peripheral axons may improve selectivity of peripheral nerve interfaces. Infrared neural stimulation (INS) employs localized delivery to activate neural tissue. This study investigated INS to determine whether localized delivery limited functionality in larger mammalian nerves. Approach The rabbit sciatic nerve was stimulated extraneurally with 1875 nm-wavelength infrared light, electrical stimulation, or a combination of both. Infrared-sensitive regions (ISR) of the nerve surface and electromyogram (EMG) recruitment of the Medial Gastrocnemius, Lateral Gastrocnemius, Soleus, and Tibialis Anterior were the primary output measures. Stimulation applied included infrared-only, electrical-only, and combined infrared and electrical. Main results 81% of nerves tested were sensitive to INS, with 1.7± 0.5 ISR detected per nerve. INS was selective to a single muscle within 81% of identified ISR. Activation energy threshold did not change significantly with stimulus power, but motor activation decreased significantly when radiant power was decreased. Maximum INS levels typically recruited up to 2–9% of any muscle. Combined infrared and electrical stimulation differed significantly from electrical recruitment in 7% of cases. Significance The observed selectivity of INS indicates it may be useful in augmenting rehabilitation, but significant challenges remain in increasing sensitivity and response magnitude to improve the functionality of INS. PMID:24310923

  10. Motor neuron activation in peripheral nerves using infrared neural stimulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peterson, E. J.; Tyler, D. J.

    2014-02-01

    Objective. Localized activation of peripheral axons may improve selectivity of peripheral nerve interfaces. Infrared neural stimulation (INS) employs localized delivery to activate neural tissue. This study investigated INS to determine whether localized delivery limited functionality in larger mammalian nerves. Approach. The rabbit sciatic nerve was stimulated extraneurally with 1875 nm wavelength infrared light, electrical stimulation, or a combination of both. Infrared-sensitive regions (ISR) of the nerve surface and electromyogram (EMG) recruitment of the Medial Gastrocnemius, Lateral Gastrocnemius, Soleus, and Tibialis Anterior were the primary output measures. Stimulation applied included infrared-only, electrical-only, and combined infrared and electrical. Main results. 81% of nerves tested were sensitive to INS, with 1.7 ± 0.5 ISR detected per nerve. INS was selective to a single muscle within 81% of identified ISR. Activation energy threshold did not change significantly with stimulus power, but motor activation decreased significantly when radiant power was decreased. Maximum INS levels typically recruited up to 2-9% of any muscle. Combined infrared and electrical stimulation differed significantly from electrical recruitment in 7% of cases. Significance. The observed selectivity of INS indicates that it may be useful in augmenting rehabilitation, but significant challenges remain in increasing sensitivity and response magnitude to improve the functionality of INS.

  11. Catch trials in force field learning influence adaptation and consolidation of human motor memory

    PubMed Central

    Stockinger, Christian; Focke, Anne; Stein, Thorsten

    2014-01-01

    Force field studies are a common tool to investigate motor adaptation and consolidation. Thereby, subjects usually adapt their reaching movements to force field perturbations induced by a robotic device. In this context, so-called catch trials, in which the disturbing forces are randomly turned off, are commonly used to detect after-effects of motor adaptation. However, catch trials also produce sudden large motor errors that might influence the motor adaptation and the consolidation process. Yet, the detailed influence of catch trials is far from clear. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the influence of catch trials on motor adaptation and consolidation in force field experiments. Therefore, 105 subjects adapted their reaching movements to robot-generated force fields. The test groups adapted their reaching movements to a force field A followed by learning a second interfering force field B before retest of A (ABA). The control groups were not exposed to force field B (AA). To examine the influence of diverse catch trial ratios, subjects received catch trials during force field adaptation with a probability of either 0, 10, 20, 30, or 40%, depending on the group. First, the results on motor adaptation revealed significant differences between the diverse catch trial ratio groups. With increasing amount of catch trials, the subjects' motor performance decreased and subjects' ability to accurately predict the force field—and therefore internal model formation—was impaired. Second, our results revealed that adapting with catch trials can influence the following consolidation process as indicated by a partial reduction to interference. Here, the optimal catch trial ratio was 30%. However, detection of consolidation seems to be biased by the applied measure of performance. PMID:24795598

  12. Reinforcement learning or active inference?

    PubMed

    Friston, Karl J; Daunizeau, Jean; Kiebel, Stefan J

    2009-01-01

    This paper questions the need for reinforcement learning or control theory when optimising behaviour. We show that it is fairly simple to teach an agent complicated and adaptive behaviours using a free-energy formulation of perception. In this formulation, agents adjust their internal states and sampling of the environment to minimize their free-energy. Such agents learn causal structure in the environment and sample it in an adaptive and self-supervised fashion. This results in behavioural policies that reproduce those optimised by reinforcement learning and dynamic programming. Critically, we do not need to invoke the notion of reward, value or utility. We illustrate these points by solving a benchmark problem in dynamic programming; namely the mountain-car problem, using active perception or inference under the free-energy principle. The ensuing proof-of-concept may be important because the free-energy formulation furnishes a unified account of both action and perception and may speak to a reappraisal of the role of dopamine in the brain. PMID:19641614

  13. Reinforcement Learning or Active Inference?

    PubMed Central

    Friston, Karl J.; Daunizeau, Jean; Kiebel, Stefan J.

    2009-01-01

    This paper questions the need for reinforcement learning or control theory when optimising behaviour. We show that it is fairly simple to teach an agent complicated and adaptive behaviours using a free-energy formulation of perception. In this formulation, agents adjust their internal states and sampling of the environment to minimize their free-energy. Such agents learn causal structure in the environment and sample it in an adaptive and self-supervised fashion. This results in behavioural policies that reproduce those optimised by reinforcement learning and dynamic programming. Critically, we do not need to invoke the notion of reward, value or utility. We illustrate these points by solving a benchmark problem in dynamic programming; namely the mountain-car problem, using active perception or inference under the free-energy principle. The ensuing proof-of-concept may be important because the free-energy formulation furnishes a unified account of both action and perception and may speak to a reappraisal of the role of dopamine in the brain. PMID:19641614

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

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:26159158

  15. Additive benefits of external focus and enhanced performance expectancy for motor learning.

    PubMed

    Pascua, Luigi A M; Wulf, Gabriele; Lewthwaite, Rebecca

    2015-01-01

    The authors examined the individual and combined influences of 2 factors that have been shown to benefit motor learning: an external focus of attention and enhanced performance expectancies. Another purpose of this study was to gain further insight into the mechanisms underlying these variables. In a factorial design, participants learning a novel motor skill (i.e., throwing with the non-dominant arm) were or were not given external focus instructions, and were or were not provided bogus positive social-comparative feedback to enhance their expectancies. This resulted in 4 groups: external focus, enhanced expectancy, external focus/enhanced expectancy and control. External focus instructions and enhanced expectancies had additive benefits for learning: the external focus/enhanced expectancy group demonstrated the greatest throwing accuracy on both retention and transfer tests, while the accuracy scores of the external focus and enhanced expectancy groups were lower, but higher than those of the control group. Furthermore, self-efficacy was increased by both external focus and enhanced expectancy, and predicted retention and transfer performance. Positive affect was heightened in the enhanced expectancy and external focus/enhanced expectancy groups after practice and predicted transfer performance. The findings suggest that the learning benefits of an external focus and enhanced expectancies mediate learning through partially different mechanisms. PMID:24875153

  16. Recontextualizing Dance Skills: Overcoming Impediments to Motor Learning and Expressivity in Ballet Dancers

    PubMed Central

    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

  17. Recontextualizing Dance Skills: Overcoming Impediments to Motor Learning and Expressivity in Ballet Dancers.

    PubMed

    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. Robot-assisted motor training: assistance decreases exploration during reinforcement learning.

    PubMed

    Sans-Muntadas, Albert; Duarte, Jaime E; Reinkensmeyer, David J

    2014-01-01

    Reinforcement learning (RL) is a form of motor learning that robotic therapy devices could potentially manipulate to promote neurorehabilitation. We developed a system that requires trainees to use RL to learn a predefined target movement. The system provides higher rewards for movements that are more similar to the target movement. We also developed a novel algorithm that rewards trainees of different abilities with comparable reward sizes. This algorithm measures a trainee's performance relative to their best performance, rather than relative to an absolute target performance, to determine reward. We hypothesized this algorithm would permit subjects who cannot normally achieve high reward levels to do so while still learning. In an experiment with 21 unimpaired human subjects, we found that all subjects quickly learned to make a first target movement with and without the reward equalization. However, artificially increasing reward decreased the subjects' tendency to engage in exploration and therefore slowed learning, particularly when we changed the target movement. An anti-slacking watchdog algorithm further slowed learning. These results suggest that robotic algorithms that assist trainees in achieving rewards or in preventing slacking might, over time, discourage the exploration needed for reinforcement learning. PMID:25570749

  19. Cerebellar encoding of multiple candidate error cues in the service of motor learning.

    PubMed

    Guo, Christine C; Ke, Michael C; Raymond, Jennifer L

    2014-07-23

    For learning to occur through trial and error, the nervous system must effectively detect and encode performance errors. To examine this process, we designed a set of oculomotor learning tasks with more than one visual object providing potential error cues, as would occur in a natural visual scene. A task-relevant visual target and a task-irrelevant visual background both influenced vestibulo-ocular reflex learning in rhesus monkeys. Thus, motor learning does not identify a single error cue based on behavioral relevance, but can be simultaneously influenced by more than one cue. Moreover, the relative weighting of the different cues could vary. If the speed of the visual target's motion on the retina was low (≪1°/s), background motion dominated learning, but if target speed was high, the effects of the background were suppressed. The target and background motion had similar, nonlinear effects on the putative neural instructive signals carried by cerebellar climbing fibers, but with a stronger influence of the background on the climbing fibers than on learning. In contrast, putative neural instructive signals carried by the simple spikes of Purkinje cells were influenced solely by the motion of the visual target. Because they are influenced by different cues during training, joint control of learning by the climbing fibers and Purkinje cells may expand the learning capacity of the cerebellar circuit. PMID:25057191

  20. Leisure Activities during School Break among Children with Learning Disabilities: Preference vs. Performance

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Yalon-Chamovitz, Shira; Mano, Tali; Jarus, Tal; Weinblatt, Nurit

    2006-01-01

    Participation in leisure activities may contribute to the development of social, motor, and language skills, and is therefore especially important for children with learning disabilities. Leisure activities of students in educational settings are performed mostly during breaks. While there have been some studies of the effect of breaks on…

  1. From Cerebellar Activation and Connectivity to Cognition: A Review of the Quadrato Motor Training

    PubMed Central

    Ben-Soussan, Tal Dotan; Glicksohn, Joseph; Berkovich-Ohana, Aviva

    2015-01-01

    The importance of the cerebellum is increasingly recognized, not only in motor control but also in cognitive learning and function. Nevertheless, the relationship between training-induced cerebellar activation and electrophysiological and structural changes in humans has yet to be established. In the current paper, we suggest a general model tying cerebellar function to cognitive improvement, via neuronal synchronization, as well as biochemical and anatomical changes. We then suggest that sensorimotor training provides an optimal paradigm to test the proposed model and review supporting evidence of Quadrato Motor Training (QMT), a sensorimotor training aimed at increasing attention and coordination. Subsequently, we discuss the possible mechanisms through which QMT may exert its beneficial effects on cognition (e.g., increased creativity, reflectivity, and reading), focusing on cerebellar alpha activity as a possible mediating mechanism allowing cognitive improvement, molecular and anatomical changes. Using the example of QMT research, this paper emphasizes the importance of investigating whole-body sensorimotor training paradigms utilizing a multidisciplinary approach and its implications to healthy brain development. PMID:26539545

  2. From Cerebellar Activation and Connectivity to Cognition: A Review of the Quadrato Motor Training.

    PubMed

    Ben-Soussan, Tal Dotan; Glicksohn, Joseph; Berkovich-Ohana, Aviva

    2015-01-01

    The importance of the cerebellum is increasingly recognized, not only in motor control but also in cognitive learning and function. Nevertheless, the relationship between training-induced cerebellar activation and electrophysiological and structural changes in humans has yet to be established. In the current paper, we suggest a general model tying cerebellar function to cognitive improvement, via neuronal synchronization, as well as biochemical and anatomical changes. We then suggest that sensorimotor training provides an optimal paradigm to test the proposed model and review supporting evidence of Quadrato Motor Training (QMT), a sensorimotor training aimed at increasing attention and coordination. Subsequently, we discuss the possible mechanisms through which QMT may exert its beneficial effects on cognition (e.g., increased creativity, reflectivity, and reading), focusing on cerebellar alpha activity as a possible mediating mechanism allowing cognitive improvement, molecular and anatomical changes. Using the example of QMT research, this paper emphasizes the importance of investigating whole-body sensorimotor training paradigms utilizing a multidisciplinary approach and its implications to healthy brain development. PMID:26539545

  3. Specific Inhibition of Cyclin-dependent Kinase 5 Activity Induces Motor Neuron Development in vivo

    PubMed Central

    Kanungo, Jyotshnabala; Zheng, Ya-Li; Amin, Niranjana D.; Kaur, Sukhbir; Ramchandran, Ramani; Pant, Harish C.

    2009-01-01

    Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (cdk5) is a ubiquitous protein activated by specific activators, p35 and p39. Cdk5 regulates neuronal migration, differentiation, axonogenesis, synaptic transmission and apoptosis. However, its role in motor neuron development remains unexplored. Here, using gain and loss-of-function analyses in developing zebrafish embryos, we report that cdk5 plays a critical role in spinal and cranial motor neuron development. Cdk5 knockdown results in supernumerary spinal and cranial motor neurons. While a dominant negative, kinase-dead cdk5 promotes the generation of supernumerary motor neurons; over-expression of cdk5 suppresses motor neuron development. Thus, modulating cdk5 activity seems promising in inducing motor neuron development in vivo. PMID:19523926

  4. Motor Learning Versus StandardWalking Exercise in Older Adults with Subclinical Gait Dysfunction: A Randomized Clinical Trial

    PubMed Central

    Brach, Jennifer S.; Van Swearingen, Jessie M.; Perera, Subashan; Wert, David M.; Studenski, Stephanie

    2013-01-01

    Background Current exercise recommendationsfocus on endurance and strength, but rarely incorporate principles of motor learning. Motor learning exerciseis designed to address neurological aspects of movement. Motor learning exercise has not been evaluated in older adults with subclinical gait dysfunction. Objectives Tocompare motor learning versus standard exercise on measures of mobility and perceived function and disability. Design Single-blind randomized trial. Setting University research center. Participants Olderadults (n=40), mean age 77.1±6.0 years), who had normal walking speed (≥1.0 m/s) and impaired motor skill (Figure of 8 walk time > 8 s). Interventions The motor learning program (ML) incorporated goal-oriented stepping and walking to promote timing and coordination within the phases of the gait cycle. The standard program (S) employed endurance training by treadmill walking.Both included strength training and were offered twice weekly for one hour for 12 weeks. Measurements Primary outcomes included mobility performance (gait efficiency, motor skill in walking, gait speed, and walking endurance)and secondary outcomes included perceived function and disability (Late Life Function and Disability Instrument). Results 38 of 40 participants completed the trial (ML, n=18; S, n=20). ML improved more than Sin gait speed (0.13 vs. 0.05 m/s, p=0.008) and motor skill (−2.2 vs. −0.89 s, p<0.0001). Both groups improved in walking endurance (28.3 and 22.9m, but did not differ significantly p=0.14). Changes in gait efficiency and perceived function and disability were not different between the groups (p>0.10). Conclusion In older adults with subclinical gait dysfunction, motor learning exercise improved some parameters of mobility performance more than standard exercise. PMID:24219189

  5. Impairment of Procedural Learning and Motor Intracortical Inhibition in Neurofibromatosis Type 1 Patients

    PubMed Central

    Zimerman, Máximo; Wessel, Maximilian J.; Timmermann, Jan E.; Granström, Sofia; Gerloff, Christian; Mautner, Victor F.; Hummel, Friedhelm C.

    2015-01-01

    Background Cognitive difficulties are the most common neurological complications in neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) patients. Recent animal models proposed increased GABA-mediated inhibition as one underlying mechanism directly affecting the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) and learning. In most adult NF1 patients, apparent cognitive and attentional deficits, tumors affecting the nervous system and other confounding factors for neuroscientific studies are difficult to control for. Here we used a highly specific group of adult NF1 patients without cognitive or nervous system impairments. Such selected NF1 patients allowed us to address the following open questions: Is the learning process of acquiring a challenging motor skill impaired in NF1 patients? And is such an impairment in relation to differences in intracortical inhibition? Methods We used an established non-invasive, double-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (dp-TMS) paradigm to assess practice-related modulation of intracortical inhibition, possibly mediated by gamma-minobutyric acid (GABA)ergic-neurotransmission. This was done during an extended learning paradigm in a group of NF1 patients without any neuropsychological deficits, functioning normally in daily life and compared them to healthy age-matched controls. Findings NF1 patients experienced substantial decline in motor skill acquisition (F = 9.2, p = 0.008) over five-consecutives training days mediated through a selective reduction in the early acquisition (online) and the consolidation (offline) phase. Furthermore, there was a consistent decrease in task-related intracortical inhibition as a function of the magnitude of learning (T = 2.8, p = 0.014), especially evident after the early acquisition phase. Interpretations Collectively, the present results provide evidence that learning of a motor skill is impaired even in clinically intact NF1 patients based, at least partially, on a GABAergic-cortical dysfunctioning as

  6. Performance of a motor task learned on levodopa deteriorates when subsequently practiced off.

    PubMed

    Anderson, Elise D; Horak, Fay B; Lasarev, Michael R; Nutt, John G

    2014-01-01

    Studies in animals and in people with Parkinson's disease (PD) demonstrate complex effects of dopamine on learning motor tasks; its effect on retention of motor learning has received little attention. Recent animal studies demonstrate that practicing a task in the off state, when initially learned in the on state, leads to progressive deterioration in performance. We measured the acquisition and retention of 3 different motor tasks in the presence and absence of levodopa. Twenty individuals with Hoehn and Yahr Stage 1.5 to 3 PD practiced the tasks daily for two 4-day weeks, one half practicing on L-dopa the first week and off the second week. The other half practiced off l-dopa both weeks. The tasks were (1) alternate tapping of 2 keys, (2) moving the body toward 2 targets on a posturography device, and (3) mirror drawing of a star. For the tapping and body movement tests, those who practiced on the first week had a progressive decline in performance with practice during week 2, while subjects off during week 1 maintained or improved. In contrast, for the mirror task, subjects on L-dopa initially had much more difficulty completing the task compared to subjects who practiced off. Both groups improved with practice the first week and had flat performance the second week. These data suggest that performance of speed-accuracy tasks learned in the on state may progressively worsen if subsequently practiced in the off state. In addition, performance, but not learning, of some tasks may be impeded by L-dopa. PMID:24132873

  7. Quantitative Evaluation of Human Cerebellum-Dependent Motor Learning through Prism Adaptation of Hand-Reaching Movement

    PubMed Central

    Hashimoto, Yuji; Honda, Takeru; Matsumura, Ken; Nakao, Makoto; Soga, Kazumasa; Katano, Kazuhiko; Yokota, Takanori; Mizusawa, Hidehiro; Nagao, Soichi; Ishikawa, Kinya

    2015-01-01

    The cerebellum plays important roles in motor coordination and learning. However, motor learning has not been quantitatively evaluated clinically. It thus remains unclear how motor learning is influenced by cerebellar diseases or aging, and is related with incoordination. Here, we present a new application for testing human cerebellum-dependent motor learning using prism adaptation. In our paradigm, the participant wearing prism-equipped goggles touches their index finger to the target presented on a touchscreen in every trial. The whole test consisted of three consecutive sessions: (1) 50 trials with normal vision (BASELINE), (2) 100 trials wearing the prism that shifts the visual field 25° rightward (PRISM), and (3) 50 trials without the prism (REMOVAL). In healthy subjects, the prism-induced finger-touch error, i.e., the distance between touch and target positions, was decreased gradually by motor learning through repetition of trials. We found that such motor learning could be quantified using the “adaptability index (AI)”, which was calculated by multiplying each probability of [acquisition in the last 10 trials of PRISM], [retention in the initial five trials of REMOVAL], and [extinction in the last 10 trials of REMOVAL]. The AI of cerebellar patients less than 70 years old (mean, 0.227; n = 62) was lower than that of age-matched healthy subjects (0.867, n = 21; p < 0.0001). While AI did not correlate with the magnitude of dysmetria in ataxic patients, it declined in parallel with disease progression, suggesting a close correlation between the impaired cerebellar motor leaning and the dysmetria. Furthermore, AI decreased with aging in the healthy subjects over 70 years old compared with that in the healthy subjects less than 70 years old. We suggest that our paradigm of prism adaptation may allow us to quantitatively assess cerebellar motor learning in both normal and diseased conditions. PMID:25785588

  8. History of Illicit Stimulant Use Is Not Associated with Long-Lasting Changes in Learning of Fine Motor Skills in Humans.

    PubMed

    Todd, Gabrielle; Pearson-Dennett, Verity; Flavel, Stanley C; Haberfield, Miranda; Edwards, Hannah; White, Jason M

    2016-01-01

    Little is known about the long-lasting effect of use of illicit stimulant drugs on learning of new motor skills. We hypothesised that abstinent individuals with a history of primarily methamphetamine and ecstasy use would exhibit normal learning of a visuomotor tracking task compared to controls. The study involved three groups: abstinent stimulant users (n = 21; 27 ± 6 yrs) and two gender-matched control groups comprising nondrug users (n = 16; 22 ± 4 yrs) and cannabis users (n = 16; 23 ± 5 yrs). Motor learning was assessed with a three-minute visuomotor tracking task. Subjects were instructed to follow a moving target on a computer screen with movement of the index finger. Metacarpophalangeal joint angle and first dorsal interosseous electromyographic activity were recorded. Pattern matching was assessed by cross-correlation of the joint angle and target traces. Distance from the target (tracking error) was also calculated. Motor learning was evident in the visuomotor task. Pattern matching improved over time (cross-correlation coefficient) and tracking error decreased. However, task performance did not differ between the groups. The results suggest that learning of a new fine visuomotor skill is unchanged in individuals with a history of illicit stimulant use. PMID:26819778

  9. High-Density Electromyography and Motor Skill Learning for Robust Long-Term Control of a 7-DoF Robot Arm.

    PubMed

    Ison, Mark; Vujaklija, Ivan; Whitsell, Bryan; Farina, Dario; Artemiadis, Panagiotis

    2016-04-01

    Myoelectric control offers a direct interface between human intent and various robotic applications through recorded muscle activity. Traditional control schemes realize this interface through direct mapping or pattern recognition techniques. The former approach provides reliable control at the expense of functionality, while the latter increases functionality at the expense of long-term reliability. An alternative approach, using concepts of motor learning, provides session-independent simultaneous control, but previously relied on consistent electrode placement over biomechanically independent muscles. This paper extends the functionality and practicality of the motor learning-based approach, using high-density electrode grids and muscle synergy-inspired decomposition to generate control inputs with reduced constraints on electrode placement. The method is demonstrated via real-time simultaneous and proportional control of a 4-DoF myoelectric interface over multiple days. Subjects showed learning trends consistent with typical motor skill learning without requiring any retraining or recalibration between sessions. Moreover, they adjusted to physical constraints of a robot arm after learning the control in a constraint-free virtual interface, demonstrating robust control as they performed precision tasks. The results demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed man-machine interface as a viable alternative to conventional control schemes for myoelectric interfaces designed for long-term use. PMID:25838524

  10. History of Illicit Stimulant Use Is Not Associated with Long-Lasting Changes in Learning of Fine Motor Skills in Humans

    PubMed Central

    Todd, Gabrielle; Pearson-Dennett, Verity; Flavel, Stanley C.; Haberfield, Miranda; Edwards, Hannah; White, Jason M.

    2016-01-01

    Little is known about the long-lasting effect of use of illicit stimulant drugs on learning of new motor skills. We hypothesised that abstinent individuals with a history of primarily methamphetamine and ecstasy use would exhibit normal learning of a visuomotor tracking task compared to controls. The study involved three groups: abstinent stimulant users (n = 21; 27 ± 6 yrs) and two gender-matched control groups comprising nondrug users (n = 16; 22 ± 4 yrs) and cannabis users (n = 16; 23 ± 5 yrs). Motor learning was assessed with a three-minute visuomotor tracking task. Subjects were instructed to follow a moving target on a computer screen with movement of the index finger. Metacarpophalangeal joint angle and first dorsal interosseous electromyographic activity were recorded. Pattern matching was assessed by cross-correlation of the joint angle and target traces. Distance from the target (tracking error) was also calculated. Motor learning was evident in the visuomotor task. Pattern matching improved over time (cross-correlation coefficient) and tracking error decreased. However, task performance did not differ between the groups. The results suggest that learning of a new fine visuomotor skill is unchanged in individuals with a history of illicit stimulant use. PMID:26819778

  11. Phasic motor activity reduction occurring with horizontal rapid eye movements during active sleep in human.

    PubMed

    Kohyama, J; Shimohira, M; Hasegawa, T; Kouji, T; Iwakawa, Y

    1995-01-01

    We describe the phasic reduction of motor activity occurring with horizontal rapid eye movements (REMs) during active sleep in 15 children (12 healthy children and 3 patients with severe brain damage). A REM-related decrease in intercostal muscle activity was demonstrated by averaging integrated surface electromyograms. In the healthy subjects, this reduction had a mean latency from the REM onset of 37.1 ms and a duration of 225.9 ms. This phenomenon was also observed in the 3 patients who had lost cerebral function. We hypothesized a brainstem origin for the effect. A REM-related mentalis muscle activity loss, detected by averaging mentalis muscle twitches, was observed in 10 healthy children among the subjects. This loss began at 59.1 ms before the onset of REMs and lasted for 230.2 ms on average. In addition, a transient decrease in integrated REM activity surrounding mentalis muscle twitches (a twitch-related reduction of REMs) was observed. We discuss the similarity between REM-related phasic reduction of muscle activity obtained for intercostal and mentalis muscles and pontogeniculo-occipital (PGO) wave-related inhibitory postsynaptic potentials reported for feline lumbar and trigeminal motoneurons, respectively. We then assume the presence of a phasic event generator, functioning during active sleep in healthy humans, which triggers at least three generators; that is, the generator of PGO waves (or REMs), motor inhibition, and of motor excitation including muscle twitches. PMID:8751071

  12. Brain activation patterns resulting from learning letter forms through active self-production and passive observation in young children

    PubMed Central

    Kersey, Alyssa J.; James, Karin H.

    2013-01-01

    Although previous literature suggests that writing practice facilitates neural specialization for letters, it is unclear if this facilitation is driven by the perceptual feedback from the act of writing or the actual execution of the motor act. The present study addresses this issue by measuring the change in BOLD signal in response to hand-printed letters, unlearned cursive letters, and cursive letters that 7-year-old children learned actively, by writing, and passively, by observing an experimenter write. Brain activation was assessed using fMRI while perceiving letters—in both cursive and manuscript forms. Results showed that active training led to increased recruitment of the sensori-motor network associated with letter perception as well as the insula and claustrum, but passive observation did not. This suggests that perceptual networks for newly learned cursive letters are driven by motor execution rather than by perceptual feedback. PMID:24069007

  13. To transfer or not to transfer? Kinematics and laterality quotient predict interlimb transfer of motor learning.

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26334018

  14. Enhanced spontaneous oscillations in the supplementary motor area are associated with sleep-dependent offline learning of finger-tapping motor-sequence task.

    PubMed

    Tamaki, Masako; Huang, Tsung-Ren; Yotsumoto, Yuko; Hämäläinen, Matti; Lin, Fa-Hsuan; Náñez, José E; Watanabe, Takeo; Sasaki, Yuka

    2013-08-21

    Sleep is beneficial for various types of learning and memory, including a finger-tapping motor-sequence task. However, methodological issues hinder clarification of the crucial cortical regions for sleep-dependent consolidation in motor-sequence learning. Here, to investigate the core cortical region for sleep-dependent consolidation of finger-tapping motor-sequence learning, while human subjects were asleep, we measured spontaneous cortical oscillations by magnetoencephalography together with polysomnography, and source-localized the origins of oscillations using individual anatomical brain information from MRI. First, we confirmed that performance of the task at a retest session after sleep significantly increased compared with performance at the training session before sleep. Second, spontaneous δ and fast-σ oscillations significantly increased in the supplementary motor area (SMA) during post-training compared with pretraining sleep, showing significant and high correlation with the performance increase. Third, the increased spontaneous oscillations in the SMA correlated with performance improvement were specific to slow-wave sleep. We also found that correlations of δ oscillation between the SMA and the prefrontal and between the SMA and the parietal regions tended to decrease after training. These results suggest that a core brain region for sleep-dependent consolidation of the finger-tapping motor-sequence learning resides in the SMA contralateral to the trained hand and is mediated by spontaneous δ and fast-σ oscillations, especially during slow-wave sleep. The consolidation may arise along with possible reorganization of a larger-scale cortical network that involves the SMA and cortical regions outside the motor regions, including prefrontal and parietal regions. PMID:23966709

  15. Pollen foraging: learning a complex motor skill by bumblebees (Bombus terrestris)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raine, Nigel E.; Chittka, Lars

    2007-06-01

    To investigate how bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) learn the complex motor skills involved in pollen foraging, we observed naïve workers foraging on arrays of nectarless poppy flowers (Papaver rhoeas) in a greenhouse. Foraging skills were quantified by measuring the pollen load collected during each foraging bout and relating this to the number of flowers visited and bout duration on two consecutive days. The pollen standing crop (PSC) in each flower decreased drastically from 0530 to 0900 hours. Therefore, we related foraging performance to the changing levels of pollen available (per flower) and found that collection rate increased over the course of four consecutive foraging bouts (comprising between 277 and 354 individual flower visits), suggesting that learning to forage for pollen represents a substantial time investment for individual foragers. The pollen collection rate and size of pollen loads collected at the start of day 2 were markedly lower than at the end of day 1, suggesting that components of pollen foraging behaviour could be subject to imperfect overnight retention. Our results suggest that learning the necessary motor skills to collect pollen effectively from morphologically simple flowers takes three times as many visits as learning how to handle the most morphologically complex flowers to extract nectar, potentially explaining why bees are more specialised in their choice of pollen flowers.

  16. An investigation of motor learning during side-step cutting, design of a randomised controlled trial

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Of all athletic knee injuries an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture results in the longest time loss from sport. Regardless of the therapy chosen, conservative or reconstructive, athletes are often forced to reduce their level of physical activity and their involvement in sport. Moreover, a recent review reported prevalences of osteoarthritis ranging from 0% to 13% for patients with isolated ACL-deficient (ACL-D) knees and respectively 21% to 48% in patients with combined injuries. The need for ACL injury prevention is clear. The identification of risk factors and the development of prevention strategies may therefore have widespread health and economic implications. The focus of this investigation is to assess the role of implicit and explicit motor learning in optimising the performance of a side-step-cutting task. Methods/design A randomized controlled laboratory study will be conducted. Healthy basketball players, females and males, 18 years and older, with no previous lower extremity injuries, playing at the highest recreational level will be included. Subjects will receive a dynamic feedback intervention. Kinematic and kinetic data of the hip, knee and ankle and EMG activity of the quadriceps, hamstrings and gastrocnemius will be recorded. Discussion Female athletes have a significantly higher risk of sustaining an ACL injury than male athletes. Poor biomechanical and neuromuscular control of the lower limb is suggested to be a primary risk factor of an ACL injury mechanism in females. This randomized controlled trial has been designed to investigate whether individual feedback on task performance appears to be an effective intervention method. Results and principles found in this study will be applied to future ACL injury prevention programs, which should maybe more focus on individual injury predisposition. Trial registration Trial registration number NTR2250. PMID:20942920

  17. Monitoring tectal neuronal activities and motor behavior in zebrafish larvae.

    PubMed

    Sumbre, Germán; Poo, Mu-Ming

    2013-09-01

    To understand how visuomotor behaviors are controlled by the nervous system, it is necessary to monitor the activity of large populations of neurons with single-cell resolution over a large area of the brain in a relatively simple, behaving organism. The zebrafish larva, a small lower vertebrate with transparent skin, serves as an excellent model for this purpose. Immediately after the larva hatches, it needs to catch prey and avoid predators. This strong evolutionary pressure leads to the rapid development of functional sensory systems, particularly vision. By 5 d postfertilization (dpf), tectal cells show distinct visually evoked patterns of activation, and the larvae are able to perform a variety of visuomotor behaviors. During the early larval stage, zebrafish breathe mainly through the skin and can be restrained under the microscope using a drop of low-melting-point agarose, without the use of anesthetics. Moreover, the transparency of the skin, the small diameter of the neurons (4-5 µm), and the high-neuronal density enable the use of in vivo noninvasive imaging techniques to monitor neuronal activities of up to ∼500 cells within the central nervous system, still with single-cell resolution. This article describes a method for simultaneously monitoring spontaneous and visually evoked activities of large populations of neurons in the optic tectum of the zebrafish larva, using a synthetic calcium dye (Oregon Green BAPTA-1 AM) and a conventional confocal or two-photon scanning fluorescence microscope, together with a method for measuring the tail motor behavior of the head-immobilized zebrafish larva. PMID:24003199

  18. Modelling Typical Online Language Learning Activity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Montoro, Carlos; Hampel, Regine; Stickler, Ursula

    2014-01-01

    This article presents the methods and results of a four-year-long research project focusing on the language learning activity of individual learners using online tasks conducted at the University of Guanajuato (Mexico) in 2009-2013. An activity-theoretical model (Blin, 2010; Engeström, 1987) of the typical language learning activity was used to…

  19. Activities for Science: Cooperative Learning Lessons (Challenging).

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jasmine, Grace; Jasmine, Julia

    This book is designed to help advanced elementary students learn science skills while actively engaged in cooperative activities based on the earth sciences and natural disasters. The first section explains how to make cooperative learning a part of the curriculum and includes an overview, instructions and activities to bring cooperative learning…

  20. Motor-skill learning-associated gene regulation in the striatum: effects of cocaine.

    PubMed

    Willuhn, Ingo; Steiner, Heinz

    2006-12-01

    Psychostimulant-induced molecular changes in cortico-basal ganglia-cortical circuits play a critical role in addiction and dependence. These changes include alterations in gene regulation particularly in projection neurons of the sensorimotor striatum. We previously showed that cocaine-induced gene regulation in such neurons is dependent on the behavior performed during drug action. Rats trained on a running wheel under the influence of cocaine for 4 days subsequently displayed greater c-fos induction by cocaine than untrained controls. This effect was selective for the sensorimotor striatum, which is known to mediate forms of motor learning. In the present study, we investigated whether this enhanced cellular responsiveness was associated with learning of wheel running or with prolonged running (exercising), by assessing c-fos inducibility after 1, 2, or 8 days of training. Wheel training was performed after injection of cocaine (25 mg/kg) or vehicle, and c-fos induction by a cocaine challenge was measured 24 h later. Rats that trained under cocaine (but not vehicle) showed a greater c-fos response in the striatum compared to locked-wheel controls. This effect was present after the 1-day training, peaked after 2 days, and dissipated by 8 days of training. Similar effects were found for substance P, but not enkephalin, expression. These changes in striatal gene regulation paralleled improvement in wheel running, which was facilitated by cocaine. Thus, these training-induced molecular changes do not appear to represent exercising effects, but may reflect motor learning-associated neuronal changes altered by cocaine. Such cocaine effects may contribute to aberrant motor learning implicated in psychostimulant addiction. PMID:16395306

  1. Learning-dependent potentiation in the vibrissal motor cortex is closely related to the acquisition of conditioned whisker responses in behaving mice

    PubMed Central

    Troncoso, Julieta; Múnera, Alejandro; Delgado-García, José María

    2007-01-01

    The role of the primary motor cortex in the acquisition of new motor skills was evaluated during classical conditioning of vibrissal protraction responses in behaving mice, using a trace paradigm. Conditioned stimulus (CS) presentation elicited a characteristic field potential in the vibrissal motor cortex, which was dependent on the synchronized firing of layer V pyramidal cells. CS-evoked and other event-related potentials were particular cases of a motor cortex oscillatory state related to the increased firing of pyramidal neurons and to vibrissal activities. Along conditioning sessions, but not during pseudoconditioning, CS-evoked field potentials and unitary pyramidal cell responses grew with a time-course similar to the percentage of vibrissal conditioned responses (CRs), and correlated significantly with CR parameters. High-frequency stimulation of barrel cortex afferents to the vibrissal motor cortex mimicked CS-related potentials growth, suggesting that the latter process was due to a learning-dependent potentiation of cortico-cortical synaptic inputs. This potentiation seemed to enhance the efficiency of cortical commands to whisker-pad intrinsic muscles, enabling the generation of acquired motor responses. PMID:17272653

  2. Age-Related Wayfinding Differences in Real Large-Scale Environments: Detrimental Motor Control Effects during Spatial Learning Are Mediated by Executive Decline?

    PubMed Central

    Taillade, Mathieu; Sauzéon, Hélène; Arvind Pala, Prashant; Déjos, Marie; Larrue, Florian; Gross, Christian; N’Kaoua, Bernard

    2013-01-01

    The aim of this study was to evaluate motor control activity (active vs. passive condition) with regards to wayfinding and spatial learning difficulties in large-scale spaces for older adults. We compared virtual reality (VR)-based wayfinding and spatial memory (survey and route knowledge) performances between 30 younger and 30 older adults. A significant effect of age was obtained on the wayfinding performances but not on the spatial memory performances. Specifically, the active condition deteriorated the survey measure in all of the participants and increased the age-related differences in the wayfinding performances. Importantly, the age-related differences in the wayfinding performances, after an active condition, were further mediated by the executive measures. All of the results relative to a detrimental effect of motor activity are discussed in terms of a dual task effect as well as executive decline associated with aging. PMID:23843992

  3. Fish in the matrix: motor learning in a virtual world

    PubMed Central

    Engert, Florian

    2013-01-01

    One of the large remaining challenges in the field of zebrafish neuroscience is the establishment of techniques and preparations that permit the recording and perturbation of neural activity in animals that can interact meaningfully with the environment. Since it is very difficult to do this in freely behaving zebrafish, I describe here two alternative approaches that meet this goal via tethered preparations. The first uses head-fixation in agarose in combination with online imaging and analysis of tail motion. In the second method, paralyzed fish are suspended with suction pipettes in mid-water and nerve root recordings serve as indicators for intended locomotion. In both cases, fish can be immersed into a virtual environment and allowed to interact with this virtual world via real or fictive tail motions. The specific examples given in this review focus primarily on the role of visual feedback~– but the general principles certainly extend to other modalities, including proprioception, hearing, balance, and somatosensation. PMID:23355810

  4. Stem cell cytoskeleton is slaved to active motors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rehfeldt, Florian; Brown, Andre; Engler, Adam; Discher, Dennis

    2007-03-01

    Cells feel their physical microenvironment through their adhesion and respond to it in various ways. Indeed, matrix elasticity can even guide the differentiation of human adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) [Engler et al. Cell 2006]. Sparse cultures of MSCs on elastic collagen--coated substrates that are respectively soft, stiff, or extremely stiff were shown to induce neurogenesis, myogenesis, and osteogenesis. Lineage commitment was evaluated by morphological analysis, protein expression profiles, and transcription microarrays. Differentiation could be completely blocked with a specific non-muscle myosin II (NMM II) inhibitor, suggesting that contractile motor activity is essential for the cells to sense matrix elasticity. Current studies by AFM and near-field fluorescence imaging show that NMM II inhibition in stem cells on rigid glass surfaces promotes actin-rich dendritic outgrowth resembling neurite extension. Dynamic cell studies have been conducted to elucidate the complex molecular interplay of the contractile apparatus in response to selected physical and biochemical stimuli. Additional insight is being gained by using AFM to investigate the local elasticity of the cell's cytoskeletal force sensing machinery.

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  6. The involvement of the left motor cortex in learning of a novel action word lexicon.

    PubMed

    Liuzzi, Gianpiero; Freundlieb, Nils; Ridder, Volker; Hoppe, Julia; Heise, Kirstin; Zimerman, Maximo; Dobel, Christian; Enriquez-Geppert, Stefanie; Gerloff, Christian; Zwitserlood, Pienie; Hummel, Friedhelm C

    2010-10-12

    Current theoretical positions assume that action-related word meanings are established by functional connections between perisylvian language areas and the motor cortex (MC) according to Hebb's associative learning principle. To test this assumption, we probed the functional relevance of the left MC for learning of a novel action word vocabulary by disturbing neural plasticity in the MC with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). In combination with tDCS, subjects learned a novel vocabulary of 76 concrete, body-related actions by means of an associative learning paradigm. Compared with a control condition with "sham" stimulation, cathodal tDCS reduced success rates in vocabulary acquisition, as shown by tests of novel action word translation into the native language. The analysis of learning behavior revealed a specific effect of cathodal tDCS on the ability to associatively couple actions with novel words. In contrast, we did not find these effects in control experiments, when tDCS was applied to the prefrontal cortex or when subjects learned object-related words. The present study lends direct evidence to the proposition that the left MC is causally involved in the acquisition of novel action-related words. PMID:20888226

  7. Kinaesthetic Learning Activities and Learning about Solar Cells

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Richards, A. J.; Etkina, Eugenia

    2013-01-01

    Kinaesthetic learning activities (KLAs) can be a valuable pedagogical tool for physics instructors. They have been shown to increase engagement, encourage participation and improve learning outcomes. This paper details several KLAs developed at Rutgers University for inclusion in an instructional unit about semiconductors, p-n junctions and solar…

  8. Adult Learning Principles in Designing Learning Activities for Teacher Development

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gravani, Maria N.

    2012-01-01

    The research reported in this paper is an investigation of the application of adult learning principles in designing learning activities for teachers' life-long development. The exploration is illustrated by qualitative data from a case study of adult educators' and adult learners' insights and experiences of a teacher development course organised…

  9. Student Activity and Learning Outcomes in a Virtual Learning Environment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Romanov, Kalle; Nevgi, Anne

    2008-01-01

    The aim of the study was to explore the relationship between degree of participation and learning outcomes in an e-learning course on medical informatics. Overall activity in using course materials and degree of participation in the discussion forums of an online course were studied among 39 medical students. Students were able to utilise the…

  10. Effect of biased feedback on motor imagery learning in BCI-teleoperation system

    PubMed Central

    Alimardani, Maryam; Nishio, Shuichi; Ishiguro, Hiroshi

    2014-01-01

    Feedback design is an important issue in motor imagery BCI systems. Regardless, to date it has not been reported how feedback presentation can optimize co-adaptation between a human brain and such systems. This paper assesses the effect of realistic visual feedback on users' BCI performance and motor imagery skills. We previously developed a tele-operation system for a pair of humanlike robotic hands and showed that BCI control of such hands along with first-person perspective visual feedback of movements can arouse a sense of embodiment in the operators. In the first stage of this study, we found that the intensity of this ownership illusion was associated with feedback presentation and subjects' performance during BCI motion control. In the second stage, we probed the effect of positive and negative feedback bias on subjects' BCI performance and motor imagery skills. Although the subject specific classifier, which was set up at the beginning of experiment, detected no significant change in the subjects' online performance, evaluation of brain activity patterns revealed that subjects' self-regulation of motor imagery features improved due to a positive bias of feedback and a possible occurrence of ownership illusion. Our findings suggest that in general training protocols for BCIs, manipulation of feedback can play an important role in the optimization of subjects' motor imagery skills. PMID:24782721

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26253223

  12. Modelling the learning of biomechanics and visual planning for decision-making of motor actions.

    PubMed

    Cos, Ignasi; Khamassi, Mehdi; Girard, Benoît

    2013-11-01

    Recent experiments showed that the bio-mechanical ease and end-point stability associated to reaching movements are predicted prior to movement onset, and that these factors exert a significant influence on the choice of movement. As an extension of these results, here we investigate whether the knowledge about biomechanical costs and their influence on decision-making are the result of an adaptation process taking place during each exp