Cortical correlates of learning in monkeys adapting to a new dynamical environment

F. Gandolfo, C. S.R. Li, B. J. Benda, C. Padoa Schioppa, E. Bizzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2259-2263
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 29 2000


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