Application of neuroimaging to optimize observational learning from a mobile application: influences of age and brain function

One side effect of stroke is damage to the left parietal lobe, important in motor control of the right hand. Many stroke patients experience loss of motor skills and have difficulty relearning how to perform daily tasks. Recent reports from stroke rehabilitation centres have shown increased improvements in relearning basic motor skills upon incorporation of observational learning techniques into their therapies. The proposed research project will consist of neurologically healthy, right-handed adults between the ages of 18 and 80 participating in an fMRI task designed to activate the mirror neuron system through observation and mimicking of tasks observed via video. Areas of neural activation will be measured and strength of activation will be compared between 4 age groups to observe changes through aging. This research will lay the ground work for improvement of techniques for rehabilitating motor function in chronic stroke patients by contributing directly to the understanding of the neural networks underlying observational learning.

Shayna Parker
Superviseur universitaire: 
Dr. Jane Lawrence-Dewar
Project Year: