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Lungu O.,Unite de Neuroimagerie Fonctionelle UNF | Lungu O.,University of Montréal | Lungu O.,Center for Research in Aging | Monchi O.,Unite de Neuroimagerie Fonctionelle UNF | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Motor sequences can be learned using an incremental approach by starting with a few elements and then adding more as training evolves (e.g., learning a piano piece); conversely, one can use a global approach and practice the whole sequence in every training session (e.g., shifting gears in an automobile). Yet, the neural correlates associated with such learning strategies in motor sequence learning remain largely unexplored to date. Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure the cerebral activity of individuals executing the same 8-element sequence after they completed a 4-days training regimen (2 sessions each day) following either a global or incremental strategy. A network comprised of striatal and fronto-parietal regions was engaged significantly regardless of the learning strategy, whereas the global training regimen led to additional cerebellar and temporal lobe recruitment. Analysis of chunking/grouping of sequence elements revealed a common prefrontal network in both conditions during the chunk initiation phase, whereas execution of chunk cores led to higher mediotemporal activity (involving the hippocampus) after global than incremental training. The novelty of our results relate to the recruitment of mediotemporal regions conditional of the learning strategy. Thus, the present findings may have clinical implications suggesting that the ability of patients with lesions to the medial temporal lobe to learn and consolidate new motor sequences may benefit from using an incremental strategy. © 2014 Lungu et al.

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