Special Issue "Neurophysiological Correlates to Behavioural Performance in Motor Learning"

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425). This special issue belongs to the section "Systems Neuroscience".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Bernadette Murphy
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Health Sciences, Ontario Tech University, 2000 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, ON, L1H 7K4, Canada
Interests: sensorimotor integration; neural adaptation and learning; neurophysiology of musculoskeletal treatments; chronic pain processing; neural effects of exercise
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sensorimotor integration is the ability of the central nervous system (CNS) to integrate sensory information from different body parts and formulate appropriate motor outputs to muscles, while multisensory integration (MSI) refers to the ability of the CNS to integrate inputs from multiple sensory systems. Effective SMI and MSI are essential for learning; the acquisition and retention of new skills. Neurophysiological and neuromechanical or behavioural measures (e.g. transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electroencephalography (EEG), including somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs), electromyography (EMG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), motion capture, fast rate eye tracking, etc...) can provide insight into the manner and mechanisms by which SMI and MSI are altered. When correlated to, or combined with, performance measures, they can enhance our understanding of the ways in which altered SMI and MSI impact motor learning and retention.

Studies investigating motor and sensorimotor learning and retention in combination with neurophysiological and/or neuromechanical outcome measures are invited.  Studies involving both healthy and clinical populations are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Bernadette Murphy
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Sensorimotor integration
  • Multisensory integration
  • Human neurophysiology
  • Motor learning

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Target Size Manipulations Affect Error-Processing Duration and Success Perceptions but not Behavioural Indices of Learning
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(5), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9050119 - 23 May 2019
Abstract
We evaluated if and how success perceptions, through target size manipulations, impact processes related to motor learning. This work was based on recent literature suggesting that expectations and self-efficacy exert a direct impact on learning. We measured arousal, kinematics, learner expectancies, motivation, and [...] Read more.
We evaluated if and how success perceptions, through target size manipulations, impact processes related to motor learning. This work was based on recent literature suggesting that expectations and self-efficacy exert a direct impact on learning. We measured arousal, kinematics, learner expectancies, motivation, and outcomes in a dart-throwing task. Novices (n = 29) were assigned to either a “Large-target” (horizontal target, 10-cm high) or “Small-target” (2-cm high) group for practice (t = 90), and both groups completed 24-h retention tests. The Small-target group took longer to plan and process feedback in the pre-throw and post-throw periods, respectively, and showed larger joint amplitudes early in practice compared to the Large-target group. As predicted, the Large-target group made more hits and had heightened outcome expectancies compared to the Small-target group. Surprisingly, only the Large-target group performed better than they expected. Despite the Large-target group having more target hits, enhanced expectancies, and more unexpected success, this group did not outperform the Small-target group on behavioural indices of performance and learning. This research questions assumptions and results related to success-related manipulations for task performance and mechanisms related to target size manipulations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Interactive Effect of Tonic Pain and Motor Learning on Corticospinal Excitability
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(3), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9030063 - 16 Mar 2019
Abstract
Prior work showed differential alterations in early somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) and improved motor learning while in acute tonic pain. The aim of the current study was to determine the interactive effect of acute tonic pain and early motor learning on corticospinal excitability [...] Read more.
Prior work showed differential alterations in early somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) and improved motor learning while in acute tonic pain. The aim of the current study was to determine the interactive effect of acute tonic pain and early motor learning on corticospinal excitability as measured by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Two groups of twelve participants (n = 24) were randomly assigned to a control (inert lotion) or capsaicin (capsaicin cream) group. TMS input–output (IO) curves were performed at baseline, post-application, and following motor learning acquisition. Following the application of the creams, participants in both groups completed a motor tracing task (pre-test and an acquisition test) followed by a retention test (completed without capsaicin) within 24–48 h. Following an acquisition phase, there was a significant increase in the slope of the TMS IO curves for the control group (p < 0.05), and no significant change for the capsaicin group (p = 0.57). Both groups improved in accuracy following an acquisition phase (p < 0.001). The capsaicin group outperformed the control group at pre-test (p < 0.005), following an acquisition phase (p < 0.005), and following a retention test (p < 0.005). When data was normalized to the pre-test values, the learning effects were similar for both groups post-acquisition and at retention (p < 0.005), with no interactive effect of group. The acute tonic pain in this study was shown to negate the increase in IO slope observed for the control group despite the fact that motor performance improved similarly to the control group following acquisition and retention. This study highlights the need to better understand the implications of neural changes accompanying early motor learning, particularly while in pain. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Corticospinal Excitability to the Biceps Brachii is Not Different When Arm Cycling at a Self-Selected or Fixed Cadence
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9020041 - 14 Feb 2019
Abstract
Background: The present study compared corticospinal excitability to the biceps brachii muscle during arm cycling at a self-selected and a fixed cadence (SSC and FC, respectively). We hypothesized that corticospinal excitability would not be different between the two conditions. Methods: The SSC was [...] Read more.
Background: The present study compared corticospinal excitability to the biceps brachii muscle during arm cycling at a self-selected and a fixed cadence (SSC and FC, respectively). We hypothesized that corticospinal excitability would not be different between the two conditions. Methods: The SSC was initially performed and the cycling cadence was recorded every 5 s for one minute. The average cadence of the SSC cycling trial was then used as a target for the FC of cycling that the participants were instructed to maintain. The motor evoked potentials (MEPs) elicited via transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the motor cortex were recorded from the biceps brachii during each trial of SSC and FC arm cycling. Results: Corticospinal excitability, as assessed via normalized MEP amplitudes (MEPs were made relative to a maximal compound muscle action potential), was not different between groups. Conclusions: Focusing on maintaining a fixed cadence during arm cycling does not influence corticospinal excitability, as assessed via TMS-evoked MEPs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Does Location of Tonic Pain Differentially Impact Motor Learning and Sensorimotor Integration?
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(10), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8100179 - 24 Sep 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Recent work found that experimental pain appeared to negate alterations in cortical somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) that occurred in response to motor learning acquisition of a novel tracing task. The goal of this experiment was to further investigate the interactive effects of pain [...] Read more.
Recent work found that experimental pain appeared to negate alterations in cortical somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) that occurred in response to motor learning acquisition of a novel tracing task. The goal of this experiment was to further investigate the interactive effects of pain stimulus location on motor learning acquisition, retention, and sensorimotor processing. Three groups of twelve participants (n = 36) were randomly assigned to either a local capsaicin group, remote capsaicin group or contralateral capsaicin group. SEPs were collected at baseline, post-application of capsaicin cream, and following a motor learning task. Participants performed a motor tracing acquisition task followed by a pain-free retention task 24–48 h later while accuracy data was recorded. The P25 (p < 0.001) SEP peak significantly decreased following capsaicin application for all groups. Following motor learning acquisition, the N18 SEP peak decreased for the remote capsaicin group (p = 0.02) while the N30 (p = 0.002) SEP peaks increased significantly following motor learning acquisition for all groups. The local, remote and contralateral capsaicin groups improved in accuracy following motor learning (p < 0.001) with no significant differences between the groups. Early SEP alterations are markers of the neuroplasticity that accompanies acute pain and motor learning acquisition. Improved motor learning while in acute pain may be due to an increase in arousal, as opposed to increased attention to the limb performing the task. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Chiropractic Manipulation Increases Maximal Bite Force in Healthy Individuals
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(5), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8050076 - 27 Apr 2018
Abstract
Recent research has shown that chiropractic spinal manipulation can alter central sensorimotor integration and motor cortical drive to human voluntary muscles of the upper and lower limb. The aim of this paper was to explore whether spinal manipulation could also influence maximal bite [...] Read more.
Recent research has shown that chiropractic spinal manipulation can alter central sensorimotor integration and motor cortical drive to human voluntary muscles of the upper and lower limb. The aim of this paper was to explore whether spinal manipulation could also influence maximal bite force. Twenty-eight people were divided into two groups of 14, one that received chiropractic care and one that received sham chiropractic care. All subjects were naive to chiropractic. Maximum bite force was assessed pre- and post-intervention and at 1-week follow up. Bite force in the chiropractic group increased compared to the control group (p = 0.02) post-intervention and this between-group difference was also present at the 1-week follow-up (p < 0.01). Bite force in the chiropractic group increased significantly by 11.0% (±18.6%) post-intervention (p = 0.04) and remained increased by 13.0% (±12.9%, p = 0.04) at the 1 week follow up. Bite force did not change significantly in the control group immediately after the intervention (−2.3 ± 9.0%, p = 0.20), and decreased by 6.3% (±3.4%, p = 0.01) at the 1-week follow-up. These results indicate that chiropractic spinal manipulation can increase maximal bite force. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring Behavioral Correlates of Afferent Inhibition
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(4), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8040064 - 11 Apr 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
(1) Background: Afferent inhibition is the attenuation of the muscle response evoked from transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) by a prior conditioning electrical stimulus to a peripheral nerve. It is unclear whether the magnitude of afferent inhibition relates to sensation and movement; (2) Methods: [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Afferent inhibition is the attenuation of the muscle response evoked from transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) by a prior conditioning electrical stimulus to a peripheral nerve. It is unclear whether the magnitude of afferent inhibition relates to sensation and movement; (2) Methods: 24 healthy, young adults were tested. Short-latency afferent inhibition (SAI) and long-latency afferent inhibition (LAI) were obtained following median and digital nerve stimulation. Temporal tactile acuity was assessed with a temporal order judgement (TOJ) task, spatial tactile acuity was assessed using a grating orientation task (GOT), and fine manual dexterity was assessed with the Pegboard task; (3) Results: Correlation analyses revealed no association between the magnitude of SAI or LAI with performance on the TOJ, GOT, or Pegboard tasks; (4) Conclusion: The magnitude of SAI and LAI does not relate to performance on the sensory and motor tasks tested. Future studies are needed to better understand whether the afferent inhibition phenomenon relates to human behavior. Full article
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