Dissociating the roles of the cerebellum and motor cortex during adaptive learning: The motor cortex retains what the cerebellum learns

Joseph M. Galea, Alejandro Vazquez, Neel Pasricha, Jean Jacques Orban De Xivry, Pablo A Celnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Adaptation to a novel visuomotor transformation has revealed important principles regarding learning and memory. Computational and behavioral studies have suggested that acquisition and retention of a new visuomotor transformation are distinct processes. However, this dissociation has never been clearly shown. Here, participants made fast reaching movements while unexpectedly a 30-degree visuomotor transformation was introduced. During visuomotor adaptation, subjects received cerebellar, primary motor cortex (M1) or sham anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a noninvasive form of brain stimulation known to increase excitability. We found that cerebellar tDCS caused faster adaptation to the visuomotor transformation, as shown by a rapid reduction of movement errors. These findings were not present with similar modulation of visual cortex excitability. In contrast, tDCS over M1 did not affect adaptation, but resulted in a marked increase in retention of the newly learnt visuomotor transformation. These results show a clear dissociation in the processes of acquisition and retention during adaptive motor learning and demonstrate that the cerebellum and primary motor cortex have distinct functional roles. Furthermore, they show that is possible to enhance cerebellar function using tDCS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1761-1770
Number of pages10
JournalCerebral Cortex
Volume21
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2011

Fingerprint

Motor Cortex
Cerebellum
Learning
Visual Cortex
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
Brain
Retention (Psychology)

Keywords

  • adaptation
  • cerebellum
  • direct current stimulation
  • learning
  • motor cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Cite this

Dissociating the roles of the cerebellum and motor cortex during adaptive learning : The motor cortex retains what the cerebellum learns. / Galea, Joseph M.; Vazquez, Alejandro; Pasricha, Neel; Orban De Xivry, Jean Jacques; Celnik, Pablo A.

In: Cerebral Cortex, Vol. 21, No. 8, 08.2011, p. 1761-1770.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Galea, Joseph M. ; Vazquez, Alejandro ; Pasricha, Neel ; Orban De Xivry, Jean Jacques ; Celnik, Pablo A. / Dissociating the roles of the cerebellum and motor cortex during adaptive learning : The motor cortex retains what the cerebellum learns. In: Cerebral Cortex. 2011 ; Vol. 21, No. 8. pp. 1761-1770.
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