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

Wright, David J. and Holmes, Paul and Di Russo, Francesco and Loporto, Michela and Smith, Dave and Wenderoth, Nicole (2012) Reduced motor cortex activity during movement preparation following a period of motor skill practice. PLos One, 7 (12).

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Official URL: http://goo.gl/uS2Oaa

Abstract

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.

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