Magnetic stimulation of people's brains could help them learn how to carry out complex motor tasks. Researchers from the University of British Columbia studied 30 volunteers as they attempted to track a target on a computer screen using a joystick. Sometimes the target moved randomly and sometimes it moved according to a pattern; this allowed the researchers to distinguish between the participants learning to follow the pattern and the effects of practice at using the joystick. Some of the participants were given stimulation designed to boost the activity of a part of the brain called the dorsal premotor cortex, others were given stimulation designed to inhibit this activity while others were given 'sham' stimulation. Those participants whose dorsal premotor cortex had been boosted performed significantly better in the learning part of the test.
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