Brain Activity Reveals Multiple Motor-Learning Mechanisms in a Real-World Task

Shlomi Haar, A. Aldo Faisal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Many recent studies found signatures of motor learning in neural beta oscillations (13–30 Hz), and specifically in the post-movement beta rebound (PMBR). All these studies were in controlled laboratory-tasks in which the task designed to induce the studied learning mechanism. Interestingly, these studies reported opposing dynamics of the PMBR magnitude over learning for the error-based and reward-based tasks (increase vs. decrease, respectively). Here, we explored the PMBR dynamics during real-world motor-skill-learning in a billiards task using mobile-brain-imaging. Our EEG recordings highlight the opposing dynamics of PMBR magnitudes (increase vs. decrease) between different subjects performing the same task. The groups of subjects, defined by their neural dynamics, also showed behavioral differences expected for different learning mechanisms. Our results suggest that when faced with the complexity of the real-world different subjects might use different learning mechanisms for the same complex task. We speculate that all subjects combine multi-modal mechanisms of learning, but different subjects have different predominant learning mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number354
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - 2 Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • EEG
  • motor learning
  • motor neuroscience
  • post-movement beta rebound
  • real-world
  • skill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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