Feedback, Motor Sequence Learning, and Brain Connectivity

Overview

Feedback delivered during motor practice can help promote motor skill learning, enhance confidence, and alter brain connectivity. However, the optimal way to provide feedback to promote learning, confidence and brain connectivity is unknown. This project will study how the feedback that is provided during practice of a movement skill can help people learn and build confidence and whether these correspond to changes in brain function. The investigators will measure motor skill performance, confidence, and resting state brain connectivity before and after a session of motor practice.

Full Title of Study: “Effects of Feedback on Learning of a Motor Sequence Task and Resting State Connectivity”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Basic Science
    • Masking: Single (Participant)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: March 2022

Detailed Description

Positive social comparative feedback, which indicate to the learner that they are performing above average, is one way to enhance a learner's expectancies about future performance. Expectancies include the learners' perceived competence about their ability to perform the task, expectations about task outcome (success or failure), and predictions of extrinsic reward or positive experiences related to performance. Positive feedback during motor practice enhances expectancies, which is hypothesized to be rewarding to the learner, leading to better skill performance and learning. Reward is a powerful shaper of behavior. However, while social comparative feedback supports motor skill learning, it is unclear whether positive social comparative feedback induces a response in the dopamine reward network. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine the effects of social comparative feedback during motor practice on the functional connectivity of the reward neural network. The study aims to recruit 40 participants who will be randomized into 1 of 2 feedback groups (performance feedback or performance plus positive feedback). Participants will practice a motor sequence task on a single day and then return for retention performance testing about 24 hours later. Measures of brain function and brain structure will be collected before and after practice on day 1. Changes in performance (response time to complete a sequence) and self-efficacy will be measured from baseline to 24 hours later at retention. Changes in brain functional connectivity over practice on day 1 will be assessed in the reward network and the motor network.

Interventions

  • Behavioral: Motor Sequence Task
    • Participants will be seated at a laptop with the right hand on a standard joystick. The movement of the joystick will move a cursor on the computer screen. Targets will appear on the laptop screen as a circle in one of twelve spatially distinct locations. The learner must move the joystick “cursor” to inside the target before the next target will appear.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Performance Feedback
    • Practice of a joystick based motor sequence task. Participants receive feedback on their response time to complete the trials in the practice block.
  • Experimental: Performance plus Positive Feedback
    • Practice of a joystick based motor sequence task. Participants receive feedback on their response time to complete the trials in the practice block plus positive social comparative feedback.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Response Time
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to retention at 24 hours
    • Time to complete one sequence
  • Task Confidence
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to retention at 24 hours
    • Self-reported confidence in ability to complete a sequence in a given time on a scale of 0 to 10 with a 10 equating to higher confidence
  • Brain Connectivity
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to immediately after practice
    • Resting state connectivity between pairs of brain regions

Secondary Measures

  • Peak Velocity
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to retention at 24 hours
    • Average speed to capture a target within a sequence
  • Total Path Distance
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to retention at 24 hours
    • Total distance traveled to complete one sequence
  • Time to Peak Velocity
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to retention at 24 hours
    • Mean time to peak velocity for movement to a target within a sequence
  • Perceived Competence
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to retention at 24 hours
    • Mean score on the Perceived Competence subscale of the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory where each item ranges from 0 to 7 with a higher value equating to higher competence
  • Perceived Interest/Enjoyment
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to retention at 24 hours
    • Mean score on the Interest/Enjoyment subscale of the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory where each item ranges from 0 to 7 with a higher value equating to higher enjoyment
  • Positive Affect
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to retention at 24 hours
    • Total score for general positive affect on the Positive and Negative Affect Scale with a range from 10 to 50 with higher scores equating to higher positive affect
  • Peak Velocity
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to immediately after practice
    • Average speed to capture a target within a sequence
  • Total Path Distance
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to immediately after practice
    • Total distance traveled to complete one sequence
  • Time to Peak Velocity
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to immediately after practice
    • Mean time to peak velocity for movement to a target within a sequence
  • Perceived Competence
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to immediately after practice
    • Mean score on the Perceived Competence subscale of the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory where each item ranges from 0 to 7 with a higher value equating to higher competence
  • Perceived Interest/Enjoyment
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to immediately after practice
    • Mean score on the Interest/Enjoyment subscale of the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory where each item ranges from 0 to 7 with a higher value equating to higher enjoyment
  • Positive Affect
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to immediately after practice
    • Total score for general positive affect on the Positive and Negative Affect Scale with a range from 10 to 50 with higher scores equating to higher positive affect
  • Response Time
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to immediately after practice
    • Time to complete one sequence
  • Task Confidence
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to immediately after practice
    • Self-reported confidence in ability to complete a sequence in a given time on a scale of 0 to 10 with a 10 equating to higher confidence
  • Brain Structure
    • Time Frame: Baseline assessment
    • Structural integrity of white matter pathways in the brain

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Age 18 to 40 years – Right-hand dominant Exclusion Criteria:

  • Medical diagnosis or medication that affects dopamine (e.g. dopamine reuptake inhibitors) – Musculoskeletal issues that limit upper extremity movement – Contraindications for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: 40 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University of South Carolina
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Jill Stewart, PT, PhD, Associate Professor – University of South Carolina

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