Imaging studies of visuomotor learning have reported practice-related activation in brain regions mediating sensorimotor functions. However, development and testing of functional motor learning models, based on the relationship between imaging and behavioral measures, is complicated by the multidimensional nature of motoric control. In the present study, multivariate techniques were used to analyze [15O]water PET and kinematic correlates of learning in a visuomotor tracing task. Fourteen subjects traced a geometric form over a series of eight tracing trials, preceded and followed by baseline trials in which they passively viewed the geometric form. Simultaneous evaluation of multiple behavioral measures indicated that performance improvement was most strongly associated with a global performance measure and least strongly associated with measures of fine motor control. Results of three independent analytic techniques (i.e., intertrial correlation matrices, power function modeling, iterative canonical variate analysis) indicated that imaging and behavioral measures were most closely related on early learning trials. Performance improvement was associated with covarying increases in normalized activity among superior parietal, postcentral gyrus, and premotor regions and covarying decreases in normalized activity among cerebellar, inferior parietal, pallidal, and medial occipital regions. These findings suggest that performance improvement may be associated with increased activation in neural systems previously implicated in visually guided reaching and decreased activation in neural systems previously implicated in attentive visuospatial processing. (C) 2000 Academic Press.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by NIH Grants MH57180 and NS33718. We thank Robert L. Savoy for his contribution to experimental design, Kelly Rehm for her contribution to data visualization, and Dana Daly for her assistance with data collection and analysis. We also thank anonymous reviewers, whose comments served to focus this paper.
- Canonical variates analysis
- Motor learning
- Reproducibility histograms