It is known that different parts of the brain serve different functions and purposes. A new research paper suggests that learning motor skills could be involving more than the assumed learning centers of the brain. The animal study found that such learning could employ several parts of the brain, or the entire brain as well.
The study involved mice whose brain cells were observed, via a laser-assisted imaging tool, while they were trying to learn to grab food pellets. About 20 percent increase in the AMPA-type glutamate receptors activity was found in the motor cortex region of the brain. The region is supposed to control muscle movement. However, the same level of increased activity was found in the visual cortex.
“We’ve traditionally thought that motor-based learning happens solely in the motor part of the brain, but our studies and others now show that it’s not as specific as we had thought. There is more of a brain-wide effect in learning,” says Richard Roth, Ph.D., currently a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, but who performed experiments for this study as a graduate student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The paper has been published in the journal Neuron. The observations of this study are expected to help treatments for neurocognitive and learning disorders.