[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Motor sequence learning is known to rely on more than a single process. As the skill develops with practice, two different representations of the sequence are formed: a goal representation built under spatial allocentric coordinates and a movement representation mediated through egocentric motor coordinates. This study aimed to explore the influence of daytime sleep (nap) on consolidation of these two representations. Through the manipulation of an explicit finger sequence learning task and a transfer protocol, we show that both allocentric (spatial) and egocentric (motor) representations of the sequence can be isolated after initial training. Our results also demonstrate that nap favors the emergence of offline gains in performance for the allocentric, but not the egocentric representation, even after accounting for fatigue effects. Furthermore, sleep-dependent gains in performance observed for the allocentric representation are correlated with spindle density during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep of the post-training nap. In contrast, performance on the egocentric representation is only maintained, but not improved, regardless of the sleep/wake condition. These results suggest that motor sequence memory acquisition and consolidation involve distinct mechanisms that rely on sleep (and specifically, spindle) or simple passage of time, depending respectively on whether the sequence is performed under allocentric or egocentric coordinates.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although there is ample evidence that motor imagery activates similar cerebral regions to those solicited during actual movements, it is still unknown whether visual (VI) and kinesthetic imagery (KI) recruit comparable or distinct neural networks. The present study was thus designed to identify, through functional magnetic resonance imaging at 3.0 Tesla in 13 skilled imagers, the cerebral structures implicated in VI and KI. Participants were scanned in a perceptual control condition and while physically executing or focusing during motor imagery on either the visual or kinesthetic components of an explicitly known sequence of finger movements. Subjects' imagery abilities were assessed using well-established psychological, chronometric, and new physiological measures from the autonomic nervous system. Compared with the perceptual condition, physical executing, VI, and KI resulted in overlapping (albeit non-identical) brain activations, including motor-related regions and the inferior and superior parietal lobules. By contrast, a divergent pattern of increased activity was observed when VI and KI were compared directly: VI activated predominantly the occipital regions and the superior parietal lobules, whereas KI yielded more activity in motor-associated structures and the inferior parietal lobule. These results suggest that VI and KI are mediated through separate neural systems, which contribute differently during processes of motor learning and neurological rehabilitation.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2009 · Human Brain Mapping
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although numerous behavioural studies provide evidence that there exist wide differences within individual motor imagery (MI) abilities, little is known with regards to the functional neuroanatomical networks that dissociate someone with good versus poor MI capacities. For the first time, we thus compared, through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the pattern of cerebral activations in 13 skilled and 15 unskilled imagers during both physical execution and MI of a sequence of finger movements. Differences in MI abilities were assessed using well-established questionnaire and chronometric measures, as well as a new index based upon the subject's peripheral responses from the autonomic nervous system. As expected, both good and poor imagers activated the inferior and superior parietal lobules, as well as motor-related regions including the lateral and medial premotor cortex, the cerebellum and putamen. Inter-group comparisons revealed that good imagers activated more the parietal and ventrolateral premotor regions, which are known to play a critical role in the generation of mental images. By contrast, poor imagers recruited the cerebellum, orbito-frontal and posterior cingulate cortices. Consistent with findings from the motor sequence learning literature and Doyon and Ungerleider's model of motor learning [Doyon, J., Ungerleider, L.G., 2002. Functional anatomy of motor skill learning. In: Squire, L.R., Schacter, D.L. (Eds.), Neuropsychology of memory, Guilford Press, pp. 225-238], our results demonstrate that compared to skilled imagers, poor imagers not only need to recruit the cortico-striatal system, but to compensate with the cortico-cerebellar system during MI of sequential movements.