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Full Access Tracking the evolution of learning a novel dance sequence in expert ballet dancers

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Tracking the evolution of learning a novel dance sequence in expert ballet dancers

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Last year we presented analysis on our project examining the neural networks involved in learning a new ballet to a novel piece of music over 8 months. We scanned dancers up to four times using fMRI along this time period. To date, we have now scanned 11 professional dancers from the National Ballet of Canada and twelve controls. All subjects visualized dancing to a one-minute piece of music during an 8 minute scan. Five epochs of one-minute of music from the ballet were alternated with 30-second fixation periods. Subjects were asked to visualize dancing their part while listening to the music. For more details of the training and performances see our IMRF abstract (DeSouza and Bar, 2012; DOI: 10.1163/187847612X646677). Results revealed a significant increase of BOLD signal, across the sessions in a network of brain regions including bilateral auditory cortex and supplementary motor cortex (SMA) over the first three imaging sessions, but a reduction in the fourth session at 34-weeks. This reduction in activity was not observed in basal ganglia (caudate nucleus). Our results suggest that as we learn a complex motor sequence in time to music, neuronal activity increases until 7 weeks and then decreases by 34-weeks, possibly a result of overlearning. Our findings may also highlight the unique role of basal ganglia regions in the learning of motor sequences. We now aim to use these functional regions of activation as seed regions to explore structural (DTI) and functional connectivity analysis.

Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Psychology, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada; 2: 2Centre for Vision Research, York University, Canada

Last year we presented analysis on our project examining the neural networks involved in learning a new ballet to a novel piece of music over 8 months. We scanned dancers up to four times using fMRI along this time period. To date, we have now scanned 11 professional dancers from the National Ballet of Canada and twelve controls. All subjects visualized dancing to a one-minute piece of music during an 8 minute scan. Five epochs of one-minute of music from the ballet were alternated with 30-second fixation periods. Subjects were asked to visualize dancing their part while listening to the music. For more details of the training and performances see our IMRF abstract (DeSouza and Bar, 2012; DOI: 10.1163/187847612X646677). Results revealed a significant increase of BOLD signal, across the sessions in a network of brain regions including bilateral auditory cortex and supplementary motor cortex (SMA) over the first three imaging sessions, but a reduction in the fourth session at 34-weeks. This reduction in activity was not observed in basal ganglia (caudate nucleus). Our results suggest that as we learn a complex motor sequence in time to music, neuronal activity increases until 7 weeks and then decreases by 34-weeks, possibly a result of overlearning. Our findings may also highlight the unique role of basal ganglia regions in the learning of motor sequences. We now aim to use these functional regions of activation as seed regions to explore structural (DTI) and functional connectivity analysis.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22134808-000s0042
2013-05-16
2016-12-05

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