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Neuroimage. 2004 Dec;23(4):1414-21.

Practice-induced changes of brain function during visual attention: a parametric fMRI study at 4 Tesla.

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Medical Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973, USA.


A parametric functional MRI (fMRI) study with three levels of task difficulty was performed to determine the effect of practice and attentional load on brain activation during visual attention tasks. Brief practice during repeat fMRI scanning (20 min) did not change performance accuracy or reaction times (RT), but decreased activation bilaterally in the inferior, middle, and superior frontal gyri, superior temporal gyrus, thalamus, and cerebellum. Increased attentional load decreased performance accuracy but not RT, and increased activation bilaterally in the inferior, posterior, and superior parietal cortices, thalamus, cerebellum, and frontal gyri. These changes suggest that practice decreases dependency on thalamus, cerebellum, and the frontal cortices for controlled task processing possibly due to increased efficiency of the attentional network. Since short-term practice-effects in the prefrontal cortex may be similar to attentional load-effects, studies of attentional load need to take practice effects into account.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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