Increased cortical representation of the fingers of the left hand in string players

Science. 1995 Oct 13;270(5234):305-7. doi: 10.1126/science.270.5234.305.


Magnetic source imaging revealed that the cortical representation of the digits of the left hand of string players was larger than that in controls. The effect was smallest for the left thumb, and no such differences were observed for the representations of the right hand digits. The amount of cortical reorganization in the representation of the fingering digits was correlated with the age at which the person had begun to play. These results suggest that the representation of different parts of the body in the primary somatosensory cortex of humans depends on use and changes to conform to the current needs and experiences of the individual.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afferent Pathways
  • Aging
  • Brain Mapping
  • Fingers / innervation*
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Music*
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Somatosensory Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Thumb / innervation*
  • Touch