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Publication Detail
Combining reward and M1 transcranial direct current stimulation enhances the retention of newly learnt sensorimotor mappings.
BACKGROUND: Reward-based feedback given during motor learning has been shown to improve the retention of the behaviour being acquired. Interestingly, applying transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) during learning over the primary motor cortex (M1), an area associated with motor retention, also results in enhanced retention of the newly formed motor memories. However, it remains unknown whether combining these distinct interventions result in an additive benefit of motor retention. METHODS: We investigated whether combining both interventions while participants learned to account for a visuomotor transformation results in enhanced motor retention (total n = 56; each group n = 14). To determine whether these interventions share common physiological mechanisms underpinning learning, we assessed motor cortical excitability and inhibition (i.e. SICI) on a hand muscle before and after all participants learned the visuomotor rotation using their entire arm and hand. RESULTS: We found that both the Reward-Stim (i.e. reward + tDCS) and Reward-Sham (i.e. reward-only) groups had increased retention at the beginning of the retention phase, indicating an immediate effect of reward on behaviour. However, each intervention on their own did not enhance retention when compared to sham, but rather, only the combination of both reward and tDCS demonstrated prolonged retention. We also found that only the Reward-Stim group had a significant reduction in SICI after exposure to the perturbation. CONCLUSIONS: We show that combining both interventions are additive in providing stronger retention of motor adaptation. These results indicate that the reliability and validity of using tDCS within a clinical context may depend on the type of feedback individuals receive when learning a new motor pattern.
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Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
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