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Motor learning

motor learning

Motor learning is the process by which movements can be improved through practice. It is of great practical relevance in daily life for a variety of situations such as learning to drive, to play sports or music instruments. However, this process is also very important for patients who suffer from brain lesion such as a stroke and who are left with a motor impairment. In this case, it appears that the quality of their motor recovery will depend on their ability to (re-)learn motor skills with their paretic hand. Better understanding the processes underlying motor learning is therefore crucial to optimize rehabilitation strategies and improve the quality of life of these patients.

Accordingly, a great deal of research has focused on the learning signals that are involved in motor learning. These works have emphasized the role of sensory feedback (e.g., visual, somatosensory) to learn new motor skills. A predominant view is that the brain learns by computing sensory prediction errors (SPEs), corresponding to the difference between the received and expected sensory consequences of a movement. However, it has been recently shown that reward feedback can also strongly influence motor learning. Here, the brain is thought to compute reward prediction errors (RPEs) which correspond to the mismatch between the received and expected reward arising from the movement. These two type of error signals are thought to drive learning by allowing to adapt motor commands based on sensory and reward information.

This project aims at better understanding the behavioural and neural effects of reward on motor learning in healthy subjects and clinical populations. with the ultimate goal to guide future multi-approach neurorehabilitation strategies involving optimized sensory and reward feedback.

 

People involved:

Related publications:

  1. Vassiliadis P, Derosiere G, Duque J (2019). Beyond motor noise: considering other causes of impaired reinforcement learning in cerebellar patients. eNeuro 6, 1.

 

Other research topics

 

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  • Hot line: +32 2 764 54 29