Distinct contribution of the cortico-striatal and cortico-cerebellar systems to motor skill learning

Neuropsychologia. 2003;41(3):252-62. doi: 10.1016/s0028-3932(02)00158-6.


This review paper focuses on studies in healthy human subjects that examined the functional neuroanatomy and cerebral plasticity associated with the learning, consolidation and retention phases of motor skilled behaviors using modern brain imaging techniques. Evidence in support of a recent model proposed by Doyon and Ungerleider [Functional Anatomy of Motor Skill Learning. In: Squire LR, Schacter DL, editors. Neuropsychology of Memory. New York: Guilford Press, 2002.] is also discussed. The latter suggests that experience-dependent changes in the brain depend not only on the stage of learning, but also on whether subjects are required to learn a new sequence of movements (motor sequence learning) or learn to adapt to environmental perturbations (motor adaptation). This model proposes that the cortico-striatal and cortico-cerebellar systems contribute differentially to motor sequence learning and motor adaptation, respectively, and that this is most apparent during the slow learning phase (i.e. automatization) when subjects achieve asymptotic performance, as well as during reactivation of the new skilled behavior in the retention phase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebellum / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebellum / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Corpus Striatum / anatomy & histology
  • Corpus Striatum / diagnostic imaging
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Motor Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Motor Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed