Brain activation patterns of motor imagery reflect plastic changes associated with intensive shooting training

Jong-Su BaeckYang-Tae KimJee-Hye SeoHun-Kyu RyeomJongmin LeeSung-Mook ChoiMinjung WooWoojong KimJin Gu KimYongmin Chang
Dept. of Psychiatry (정신건강의학)
Issue Date
Behavioural Brain Research, Vol.234(1) : 26-32, 2012
Evidence from previous studies has suggested that motor imagery and motor action engage overlapping brain systems. As a result of this observation that motor imagery can activate brain regions associated with actual motor movement, motor imagery is expected to enhance motor skill performance and become an underlying principle for physical training in sports and physical rehabilitation. However, few studies have examined the effects of physical training on motor imagery in beginners. Also, differences in neural networks related to motor imagery before and after training have seldom been studied. In the current study, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we investigated the question of whether motor imagery can reflect plastic changes of neural correlates associated with intensive training. In fact, motor imagery was used in this study as a tool to assess the brain areas involved in shooting and involved in learning of shooting. We discovered that use of motor imagery resulted in recruitment of widely distributed common cortical areas, which were suggested to play a role in generation and maintenance of mental images before and after 90 h of shooting training. In addition to these common areas, brain activation before and after 90 h of shooting practice showed regionally distinct patterns of activity change in subcortical motor areas. That is, basal ganglia showed increased activity after 90 h of shooting practice, suggesting the occurrence of plastic change in association with gains in performance and reinforcement learning. Therefore, our results suggest that, in order to reach a level of expertise, the brain would change through initial reinforcement of preexistent connections during the training period and then use more focused neural correlates through formation of new connections. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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1. Journal Papers (연구논문) > 1. School of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Psychiatry (정신건강의학)
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