Facilitation of Implicit Motor Learning by Weak Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation of the Primary Motor Cortex in the Human

J Cogn Neurosci. 2003 May 15;15(4):619-26. doi: 10.1162/089892903321662994.

Abstract

Transcranially applied weak direct currents are capable of modulating motor cortical excitability in the human. Anodal stimulation enhances excitability, cathodal stimulation diminishes it. Cortical excitability changes accompany motor learning. Here we show that weak direct currents are capable of improving implicit motor learning in the human. During performance of a serial reaction time task, the primary motor cortex, premotor, or prefrontal cortices were stimulated contralaterally to the performing hand. Anodal stimulation of the primary motor cortex resulted in increased performance, whereas stimulation of the remaining cortices had no effect. We conclude that the primary motor cortex is involved in the acquisition and early consolidation phase of implicit motor learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology*