Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Hum. Neurosci., 26 February 2013 | doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00049

Tool-use practice induces changes in intrinsic functional connectivity of parietal areas

Kwangsun Yoo, William S. Sohn and Yong Jeong*
  • Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience and NeuroImaging, Department of Bio and Brain Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon, South Korea

Intrinsic functional connectivity from resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) has increasingly received attention as a possible predictor of cognitive function and performance. In this study, we investigated the influence of practicing skillful tool manipulation on intrinsic functional connectivity in the resting brain. Acquisition of tool-use skill has two aspects such as formation of motor representation for skillful manipulation and acquisition of the tool concept. To dissociate these two processes, we chose chopsticks-handling with the non-dominant hand. Because participants were already adept at chopsticks-handling with their dominant hand, practice with the non-dominant hand involved only acquiring the skill for tool manipulation with existing knowledge. Eight young participants practiced chopsticks-handling with their non-dominant hand for 8 weeks. They underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) sessions before and after the practice. As a result, functional connectivity among tool-use-related regions of the brain decreased after practice. We found decreased functional connectivity centered on parietal areas, mainly the supramarginal gyrus (SMG) and superior parietal lobule (SPL) and additionally between the primary sensorimotor area and cerebellum. These results suggest that the parietal lobe and cerebellum purely mediate motor learning for skillful tool-use. This decreased functional connectivity may represent increased efficiency of functional network.

Keywords: tool-use, practice, functional connectivity, resting state, parietal areas, plasticity

Citation: Yoo K, Sohn WS and Jeong Y (2013) Tool-use practice induces changes in intrinsic functional connectivity of parietal areas. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 7:49. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00049

Received: 11 December 2012; Accepted: 05 February 2013;
Published online: 26 February 2013.

Edited by:

Srikantan S. Nagarajan, University of California, San Francisco, USA

Reviewed by:

Lutz Jäncke, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Shanqing Cai, Boston University, USA

Copyright © 2013 Yoo, Sohn and Jeong. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Yong Jeong, Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience and NeuroImaging, Department of Bio and Brain Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, 291 Daehak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-701, South Korea. e-mail: yong@kaist.ac.kr

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