Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Science (BS)
Jennifer A. Stevens
John D. Griffin
Randolph A. Coleman
The benefits of motor and mental practice on physical performance have been identified for decades. Here, we used event-related potentials to examine the precise effect of motor practice on the cortical signal during physical performance. Participants were scanned before and after learning, having practiced a particular script in between these two sessions. All participants learned a particular hand sequence on their first scanning session and were later scanned again when performing a second hand sequence. The difference between the participant-groups was the hand sequence practiced in between the two scanning sessions. The N500 was examined for both pre and post scans for all participants across the frontal (F3, Fz, F4), frontal-central (FC3, FCz, FC4) and the central (C3, C4, C5) electrodes. Our hypothesis was that there would be no significant difference across the various electrode sites during the N500 between the pre and post-practice sessions for those who were tested twice on novel tasks but that there would be a significant difference for those who had practiced a task for a few days. There was a significant overall main affect of time for pre versus post scan sessions at the N500. There was also a significant interaction between time and group. Our results suggest that the group who had practiced the hand sequence tested at the post session revealed significantly different N500 deflection compared to those who had practiced a different hand sequence. Thus, the physical practice affected the cortical signal, namely it resulted in the presence of the N500.
Van Sciver, Jessica, "Practice Makes Perfect: An ERP Analysis of the Effects of Physical Practice on Cortical Signal As Evidenced by the N500" (2009). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 268.
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