In this paper, we describe the neural changes observed in the primary motor cortex of two monkeys while they learned a new motor skill. The monkeys had to adapt their reaching movements to external forces that interfered with the execution of their arm movements. We found a sizable population of cells that changed their tuning properties during exposure to the force field. These cells took on the properties of neurons that are involved in the control of movement. Furthermore, the cells maintained the acquired activity as the monkey readapted to the no-force condition. Recent imaging studies in humans have reported the effects of motor learning in the primary motor cortex. Our results are consistent with the findings of these studies and provide evidence for single-cell plasticity in the primary motor cortex of primates.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - Feb 29 2000