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Wiley Open Access, Human Brain Mapping, 4(45), 2023

DOI: 10.1002/hbm.26539



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Decreased long‐range temporal correlations in the resting‐state functional magnetic resonance imaging blood‐oxygen‐level‐dependent signal reflect motor sequence learning up to 2 weeks following training

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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AbstractDecreased long‐range temporal correlations (LRTC) in brain signals can be used to measure cognitive effort during task execution. Here, we examined how learning a motor sequence affects long‐range temporal memory within resting‐state functional magnetic resonance imaging signal. Using the Hurst exponent (HE), we estimated voxel‐wise LRTC and assessed changes over 5 consecutive days of training, followed by a retention scan 12 days later. The experimental group learned a complex visuomotor sequence while a complementary control group performed tightly matched movements. An interaction analysis revealed that HE decreases were specific to the complex sequence and occurred in well‐known motor sequence learning associated regions including left supplementary motor area, left premotor cortex, left M1, left pars opercularis, bilateral thalamus, and right striatum. Five regions exhibited moderate to strong negative correlations with overall behavioral performance improvements. Following learning, HE values returned to pretraining levels in some regions, whereas in others, they remained decreased even 2 weeks after training. Our study presents new evidence of HE's possible relevance for functional plasticity during the resting‐state and suggests that a cortical subset of sequence‐specific regions may continue to represent a functional signature of learning reflected in decreased long‐range temporal dependence after a period of inactivity.