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Effects of short-term bimanual coordination training on modulation of sensorimotor cortical activity and motor performance Cheung, Katharine Leigh


Chronic upper extremity hemiparesis is common after stroke (Jørgensen et al., 1995). This chronic impairment has a direct impact on functional independence and the ability to perform daily activities (Lloyd-Jones et al., 2010). Given the high levels of functional losses after stroke, investigation into treatments for chronic impairments should be considered. The purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of short-term bimanual coordination training on the modulation of sensorimotor cortical activity and motor performance. Thirty healthy participants were randomized to one of three training groups: 1) physical practice, 2) observational practice, and 3) no practice (control condition). Movement-related potentials (MRPs) and somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) were collected before and after training to examine the effects of training on cortical activity. Motor performance on the bimanual coordination task was also compared between groups. The results showed that: (1) there was no significant difference in MRP or SEP measures between groups, (2) the physical practice group performed significantly better (as indexed by greater accuracy following practice) than the control group on the bimanual coordination task, (3) although the observational practice group did not perform as well as the physical practice group, there was a trend for greater accuracy following observation as compared to the control group. These results suggest that both short-term physical and observational practice of a bimanual coordination task can result in improved motor performance and provide support for the use of observational practice in motor learning.

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