Modulation of cortical activity as a result of task-specific practice

Semyon Slobounov, W. Ray, C. Cao, H. Chiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This report aims to examine the role of task-specific practice in the modification of finger force enslaving and to provide empirical evidence for specific EEG frequency bands accompanying such practice may be an end-effectors dependent phenomenon. Nine handed naïve subjects without any training in music participated in a pre- and post-practice sessions separated by 12 practice sessions. Subjects performed a series of isometric force production tasks at 10% and 50% maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) with two rates of force development separately by index and ring fingers. Task-specific practice aimed at suppressing the contribution of neighboring fingers was achieved via visual feedback of force traces. Behavioral data (accuracy of force production and amount of force enslaving) and EEG data in frequency domain obtained via Morlet Wavelet transforms were analyzed. The major behavioral finding is that task-specific practice significantly enhanced the accuracy of force production and individuated control of the "most enslaved" ring finger (P < 0.01), but not the index finger. The major novel EEG findings are: (a) modulation of EEG activity within alpha band (8-12 Hz) in the central area of the brain as a function of practice was similar for both fingers and (b) after practice, modulation of EEG activity within gamma (30-50 Hz) band was end-effectors specific. Both behavioral and EEG patterns suggest an effect of task-specific practice on the reduction of force enslaving and that modulation of practice-related plasticity in the human cortex is end-effectors dependent phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-131
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 27 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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