Research Topic

Neurophysiological Signatures of Motor Learning during Wake and Sleep

About this Research Topic

In the last two decades, the neuroscience of motor control has gained considerable attention. The advent of MRI and non-invasive brain stimulation has allowed the identification of the motor regions involved in the acquisition and consolidation of motor memories. These tools have also contributed to ...

In the last two decades, the neuroscience of motor control has gained considerable attention. The advent of MRI and non-invasive brain stimulation has allowed the identification of the motor regions involved in the acquisition and consolidation of motor memories. These tools have also contributed to distinguishing between the networks recruited by different motor tasks. However, given their low temporal resolution, they have provided limited insight into the temporal dynamics of neural changes that take place across learning, such as the processing of errors, reward, or motor planning.

Thanks to analyses focusing on rhythmic brain activity, recent work has highlighted the contribution of neural oscillations to motor learning and plasticity. For instance, it has been shown that pre and post-movement beta activity contains relevant information regarding different aspects of motor control. Notably, during sensorimotor adaptation, error-related modulation of the beta-rebound appears to reflect the processing of salience, whereas the foreperiod beta-power might reveal the updating of motor commands throughout learning. More recently, it has been shown that sensory prediction errors, which drive sensorimotor adaptation, modulate both visually-evoked potentials and low beta oscillations over the parietal cortex, suggesting that this region may be key in contrasting expected and actual sensory information. Understanding the physiological processes subserving motor learning is key to implement customized schedules that may improve current training approaches both for healthy individuals and patients populations.

Much less is known regarding the neurophysiological signatures of motor memory consolidation. There is now compelling evidence from human and non-human studies highlighting the relevance of NREM sleep on both memory stabilization (prevention from forgetting) and enhancement (offline gains) of declarative and motor tasks. A causal relationship on the coupling between slow oscillations (SO, ~1 Hz), sleep spindles (~10-16 Hz) and memory consolidation has been established, which appears to be key for the reactivation of declarative memories. Yet, there is currently no empirical evidence suggesting that the SO/spindle coupling is implied in the consolidation of motor memories. Unveiling the mechanisms at the basis of sleep consolidation may help optimizing current rehabilitation therapies by minimizing the duration of training protocols through targeted interventions.

This Research Topic aims at discussing recent evidence from labs actively involved in the field, on the neural signatures of motor learning during wake and sleep. Specialists are welcome to submit original work on this topic to be considered for publication in this collection of articles.

The scope of this Research Topic encompasses, but is not limited to, EEG/MEG/LFP articles on:

1) Electrophysiological markers of learning
2) Error processing during motor learning/motor control
3) Role of reward in motor learning and consolidation
4) Neurophysiological signatures of sleep predicting memory consolidation
5) Non-invasive interventions aimed at enhancing motor memory retention and persistence


Keywords: motor learning, error processing, plasticity, sleep


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Submission Deadlines

31 August 2020 Manuscript

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Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 August 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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