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Baltimore Highlands, MD, United States

Anderson C.,Swallowing Neurophysiology Laboratory | Macrae P.,Swallowing Neurophysiology Laboratory | Taylor-Kamara I.,Swallowing Neurophysiology Laboratory | Serel S.,Swallowing Neurophysiology Laboratory | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Applied Physiology | Year: 2015

Traditional motor learning studies focus on highly goal-oriented, volitional tasks that often do not readily generalize to real-world movements. The goal of this study was to investigate how different perturbation paradigms alter error-based learning outcomes in a highly automated task. Swallowing was perturbed with neck surface electrical stimulation that opposes hyo-laryngeal elevation in 25 healthy adults (30 swallows: 10 preperturbation, 10 perturbation, and 10 postperturbation). The four study conditions were gradual-masked, gradual-unmasked, abrupt-masked, and abrupt-unmasked. Gradual perturbations increasingly intensified overtime, while abrupt perturbations were sustained at the same high intensity. The masked conditions reduced cues about the presence/absence of the perturbation (pre- and postperturbation periods had low stimulation), but unmasked conditions did not (preand postperturbation periods had no stimulation). Only hyo-laryngeal range of motion measures had significant outcomes; no timing measure demonstrated learning. Systematic-error reduction occurred only during the abrupt-masked and abrupt-unmasked perturbations. Only the abrupt-masked perturbation caused aftereffects. In this highly automated task, gradual perturbations did not induce learning similarly to findings of some volitional, goal-oriented adaptation task studies. Furthermore, our subtle and brief adjustment of the stimulation paradigm (masked vs. unmasked) determined whether aftereffects were present. This suggests that, in the unmasked group, sensory predictions of a motor plan were quickly and efficiently modified to disengage error-based learning behaviors. Copyright © 2015 the American Physiological Society. Source

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