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J Neurosci. 2014 Oct 8;34(41):13834-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1170-14.2014.

Ceiling effects prevent further improvement of transcranial stimulation in skilled musicians.

Author information

1
Institute for Music Physiology and Musicians' Medicine, Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, Hanover 30175, Germany, and auditory.motor@gmail.com.
2
Institute for Music Physiology and Musicians' Medicine, Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, Hanover 30175, Germany, and.
3
Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Georg-August-University, Göttingen 37075, Germany.

Abstract

The roles of the motor cortex in the acquisition and performance of skilled finger movements have been extensively investigated over decades. Yet it is still not known whether these roles of motor cortex are expertise-dependent. The present study addresses this issue by comparing the effects of noninvasive transcranial direction current stimulation (tDCS) on the fine control of sequential finger movements in highly trained pianists and musically untrained individuals. Thirteen pianists and 13 untrained controls performed timed-sequence finger movements with each of the right and left hands before and after receiving bilateral tDCS over the primary motor cortices. The results demonstrate an improvement of fine motor control in both hands in musically untrained controls, but deterioration in pianists following anodal tDCS over the contralateral cortex and cathodal tDCS over the ipsilateral cortex compared with the sham stimulation. However, this change in motor performance was not evident after stimulating with the opposite montage. These findings support the notion that changes in dexterous finger movements induced by bihemispheric tDCS are expertise-dependent.

KEYWORDS:

dexterity; expertise; motor cortex; motor skill acquisition; tDCS

PMID:
25297109
DOI:
10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1170-14.2014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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