The roles of the motor cortex in the acquisition and performance of skilled finger movements have been extensively investigated over decades. Yet it is still not known whether these roles of motor cortex are expertise-dependent. The present study addresses this issue by comparing the effects of noninvasive transcranial direction current stimulation (tDCS) on the fine control of sequential finger movements in highly trained pianists and musically untrained individuals. Thirteen pianists and 13 untrained controls performed timed-sequence finger movements with each of the right and left hands before and after receiving bilateral tDCS over the primary motor cortices. The results demonstrate an improvement of fine motor control in both hands in musically untrained controls, but deterioration in pianists following anodal tDCS over the contralateral cortex and cathodal tDCS over the ipsilateral cortex compared with the sham stimulation. However, this change in motor performance was not evident after stimulating with the opposite montage. These findings support the notion that changes in dexterous finger movements induced by bihemispheric tDCS are expertise-dependent.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Improvement of performance by transcranial stimulation depends on existing degree of expertise.
Furuya et al. make the interesting observation that the fine motor hand performance of musically untrained people is improved by transcranial direction current stimulation (tDCS) over the primary motor cortices, but the performance of skilled pianists can be degraded.