tDCS effects on pointing task learning in young and old adults.

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TDCS effects on pointing task learning in young and old adults.

Skill increase in motor performance can be defined as explicitly measuring task success but also via more implicit measures of movement kinematics. Even though these measures are often related, there is evidence that they represent distinct concepts of learning. In the present study, the effect of multiple tDCS sessions on both explicit and implicit measures of learning are investigated in a pointing task in 30 young adults (YA) between 27.07 ± 3.8 years and 30 old adults (OA) between 67.97 years ± 5.3 years. We hypothesized, that OA would show slower explicit skill learning indicated by higher movement times/lower accuracy and slower implicit learning indicated by higher spatial variability but profit more from anodal tDCS compared with YA. We found age-related differences in movement time but not in accuracy or spatial variability. TDCS did not skill learning facilitate learning neither in explicit nor implicit parameters. However, contrary to our hypotheses, we found tDCS-associated higher accuracy only in YA but not in spatial variability. Taken together, our data shows limited overlapping of tDCS effects in explicit and implicit skill parameters. Furthermore, it supports the assumption that tDCS is capable of producing a performance-enhancing brain state at least for explicit skill acquisition.

PMID: 33564052 [PubMed – in process]

Sci Rep. 2021 Feb 09;11(1):3421

Authors: Kaminski E, Engelhardt M, Hoff M, Steele C, A Villringer, Ragert P