Motor learning is a key component of human motor functions. Repeated practice is essential to gain proficiency over time but may induce fatigue. The aim of this study was to determine whether motor performance and motor learning (as assessed with the serial reaction time task, SRTT) and perceived fatigability (as assessed with subjective scales) are improved after two types of placebo interventions (motor and cognitive). A total of 90 healthy volunteers performed the SRTT with the right hand in three sessions (baseline, training, final). Before the training and the final session, one group underwent a motor-related placebo intervention in which inert electrical stimulation (TENS) was applied over the hand and accompanied by verbal suggestion that it improves movement execution (placebo-TENS). The other group underwent a cognitive-related placebo intervention in which sham transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) was delivered to the supraorbital area and accompanied by verbal suggestion that it increases attention (placebo-tDCS). A control group performed the same task without receiving treatment. Overall better performance on the SRTT (not ascribed to sequence-specific learning) was noted for the placebo-TENS group, which also reported less perceived fatigability at the physical level. The same was observed in a subgroup tested 24 hours later. The placebo-tDCS group reported less perceived fatigability, both at the mental and physical level. These findings indicate that motor- and cognitive-related placebo effects differently shape motor performance and perceived fatigability on a repeated motor task.

The effect of motor and cognitive placebos on the serial reaction time task

Villa-Sánchez, Bernardo
;
Emadi Andani, Mehran;Cesari, Paola;Fiorio, Mirta
2021

Abstract

Motor learning is a key component of human motor functions. Repeated practice is essential to gain proficiency over time but may induce fatigue. The aim of this study was to determine whether motor performance and motor learning (as assessed with the serial reaction time task, SRTT) and perceived fatigability (as assessed with subjective scales) are improved after two types of placebo interventions (motor and cognitive). A total of 90 healthy volunteers performed the SRTT with the right hand in three sessions (baseline, training, final). Before the training and the final session, one group underwent a motor-related placebo intervention in which inert electrical stimulation (TENS) was applied over the hand and accompanied by verbal suggestion that it improves movement execution (placebo-TENS). The other group underwent a cognitive-related placebo intervention in which sham transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) was delivered to the supraorbital area and accompanied by verbal suggestion that it increases attention (placebo-tDCS). A control group performed the same task without receiving treatment. Overall better performance on the SRTT (not ascribed to sequence-specific learning) was noted for the placebo-TENS group, which also reported less perceived fatigability at the physical level. The same was observed in a subgroup tested 24 hours later. The placebo-tDCS group reported less perceived fatigability, both at the mental and physical level. These findings indicate that motor- and cognitive-related placebo effects differently shape motor performance and perceived fatigability on a repeated motor task.
Expectation
Motor learning
Perceived fatigability
Placebo effect
Serial reaction time task
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1036621
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