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Title: An investigation into the role of the motor cortex during early motor learning in adults with Developmental Coordination Disorder
Author: Brady, Daniel
ISNI:       0000 0004 6353 3533
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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Motor learning is a process that continues throughout an individual’s lifespan and has a significant impact on their general well-being. The role of the primary motor cortex in motor learning has been well established over the last few decades, with converging streams of evidence reporting electro- and neurophysiological changes during the early stages of learning. However, there is evidence that these changes are not uniform across the general population and that this variability may underlie the differences observed in motor learning ability. At the same time, the literature reports a neurodevelopmental disorder called Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) that has a significant negative impact upon motor control and learning. There is little research into the neural correlates of DCD, particularly with adults. As a result, the aim of the research reported in this thesis was to investigate whether the aforementioned variability in the changes occurring in the motor cortex during the early stages of motor learning plays a role in DCD. The experiments reported examine the neural correlates of the early stages of motor learning in adults with and without DCD. The first experiment described aimed to establish a task that produces changes in motor performance within a single session. The second experiment described was concerned with electrophysiological changes produced by the task. The final experiment examined neurophysiological changes produced by the task. While the motor task was able to successfully produce changes in motor performance; neither of the latter two experiments found motor cortical changes associated with practice of the task. However, due to methodological challenges reported in these experiments, the conclusions that can be drawn from the results are somewhat limited. The results of these experiments are evaluated and discussed within the context of the broader DCD literature and suggestions for future research directions are made.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral