“Cortical Contributions to Motor Sequence Learning”
The long-term objective initiated with this study is to determine which brain areas functionally contribute to learning a motor skill. The primary hypothesis of this trial is that premotor cortex (PMC) is necessary to learn a new motor skill. Participants may undergo a MRI scan to acquire a structural image of their brain to target noninvasive stimulation, using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to one of two brain areas: PMC or primary motor cortex (M1). A third group of individuals will undergo a placebo stimulation protocol. For all three groups, stimulation will be used to create a transient 'virtual lesion' during motor skill training. Temporarily disrupting the normal activity of these brain regions during training will allow us to determine which regions are causally involved in learning a new motor skill. The primary outcome measure will be the change in skill after training in each group.
Device - Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
Transcranial magnetic stimulation, also known as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, is a noninvasive form of brain stimulation in which a changing magnetic field is used to cause electric current at a specific area of the brain through electromagnetic induction. It will be used to create a 'virtual lesion,' disrupting neural activity in a specific brain region to identify whether it is causally involved in a specific behavioral process.
Sham Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) over premotor cortex
Characterizing Cortical Contributions to Motor Sequence Learning