Functional changes in brain activity during acquisition and practice of movement sequences

H.I. van Mier*, J.S. Perlmutter, S.E. Petersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In the present study, brain activations were measured using positron emission tomography (PET) over the course of practice. Fourteen right-handed participants were scanned during six 1-min periods of practice tracing a cutout maze design with their eyes closed. Practice-related decreases were found in the right premotor and posterior parietal cortex and left cerebellum, increases in the supplementary motor area (SMA) and primary motor cortex. The decrease in right premotor activity and the increase in SMA was significantly correlated with a decrease in the number of stops, implying involvement in learning and storing the movement sequence. The significant correlation between decreases in errors and left cerebellar and right posterior parietal activity suggests a role in accuracy. Involvement of the primary motor cortex in motor execution is indicated by the correlation of increased activation and movement speed. These results suggest that different neural structures (involving a premotor-parietalcerebellar circuit) play a role in a sequential maze learning task.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-520
JournalMotor Control
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004

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