A study published in the journal PLOS one has investigated the long-term effects that rehearsal has on changes in brain activity among expert dancers.
Previous research on brain activity, the nervous system, and performing motor tasks among experts and non-experts has suggested that nerve cells are less active in experts performing familiar motor tasks.
A study published in the journal PLOS one has investigated the long-term effects that rehearsal has on changes in brain activity among expert dancers. To do so, a group of Canadian researchers recorded MRI data over a period of 34 weeks. During the MRI, the dancers were instructed to visualize dance moves while listening to music.
The researchers found increased activation of the brain during the visualization task during the first week up until the seventh week. However, decreased brain activity was observed between the seventh and thirty fourth weeks. The results of the study reveals a learning pattern associated with increased brain activity for several weeks before decreasing, once the task is mastered. The researchers also point out that further research in this area might be useful in learning more about areas of the brain associated with motor learning and long-term memory.
This type of research is important in gaining understanding of how we learn, in particular, motor learning. Increasing understanding in this area can impact on how we treat patients with brain damage, or diseases of the brain.
Bar, R. J., & DeSouza, J. F. X. (2016). Tracking Plasticity: Effects of Long-Term Rehearsal in Expert Dancers Encoding Music to Movement. PLOS ONE, 11(1), e0147731. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0147731
Written by Melissa Booker