Learning transfer and neuronal plasticity in humans trained in tactile discrimination

Friederike Spengler, Timothy P.L. Roberts, David Poeppel, Nancy Byl, Xiaoqin Wang, Howard A. Rowley, Mike M. Merzenich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adult humans were unilaterally trained in a tactile discrimination task of sequentially applied multi-finger stimuli. Magnetic source imaging (MSI) was performed before and after the training to evaluate use-dependent neuronal plasticity. All subjects showed fast improvements in performance and complete transfer of the learned task. MSI recordings revealed an unilateral decrease in current dipole strength in the somatosensory system contralateral to the trained hand. Attenuation of sensory evoked fields and a complete learning transfer indicate learning in associative and secondary cortices rather than perceptual plasticity operating on neuronal populations involved in early sensory processing. This findings are discussed with respect to an equivalent animal model and to learning specificity and generalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-154
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 5 1997


  • Afferent
  • Attention
  • Discrimination
  • Evoked fields
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Psychophysics
  • Reorganization
  • Somatosensory cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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