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Greater intermanual transfer in the elderly suggests age-related bilateral motor cortex activation is compensatory

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sara Graziadio, Professor Kianoush Nazarpour, Sabine Gretenkord, Professor Andrew Jackson, Professor Janet Eyre



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Hemispheric lateralization of movement control diminishes with age; whether this is compensatory or maladaptive is debated. The authors hypothesized that if compensatory, bilateral activation would lead to greater intermanual transfer in older subjects learning tasks that activate the cortex unilaterally in young adults. They studied 10 young and 14 older subjects, learning a unimanual visuomotor task comprising a feedforward phase, where there is unilateral cortical activation in young adults, and a feedback phase, which activates the cortex bilaterally in both age groups. Increased intermanual transfer was demonstrated in older subjects during feedforward learning, with no difference between groups during feedback learning. This finding is consistent with bilateral cortical activation being compensatory to maintain performance despite declining computational efficiency in neural networks.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Graziadio S, Nazarpour K, Gretenkord S, Jackson A, Eyre J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Motor Behavior

Year: 2015

Volume: 47

Issue: 1

Pages: 47-55

Online publication date: 09/01/2015

Acceptance date: 23/10/2014

Date deposited: 12/01/2015

ISSN (print): 0022-2895

ISSN (electronic): 1940-1027

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/00222895.2014.981501


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Funder referenceFunder name
Medical Research Council
Wellcome Trust