Kothari M, Svensson P, Huo X, Ghovanloo M, Baad-Hansen L. Motivational conditions influence tongue motor performance. Eur J Oral Sci 2013; 121: 111-116. © 2013 Eur J Oral Sci
Motivation plays an important role in the outcome of motor learning but has not received attention in tongue-training-induced plasticity of the corticomotor pathways. The present study investigated the influence of two different motivational conditions and gender on performance during a complex tongue-training paradigm using the Tongue Drive System (TDS). In addition, subject-based reports of motivation, fun, pain, and fatigue were compared between groups and genders. Sixteen subjects were randomized into three groups and were asked to use the TDS for 40 min. A motivational condition (monetary reward or self-controlled practice) was introduced in two groups and the third group served as the control. The subjects were instructed to play a computer game using the TDS, having control of the computer cursor through a magnet attached to the tongue, and performance was compared among groups. Performance improved in all groups and in both genders. The monetary reward group tended towards higher performance scores compared with the control group, whereas the self-controlled practice group performed significantly better compared with the control group. There was no significant difference between groups and genders in the subject-based report for level of motivation, fun, pain, or fatigue. In conclusion, introduction of motivational conditions influenced tongue motor performance.