Long-term training affects cerebellar processing in skilled keyboard players

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We studied cerebellar hemodynamic responses in highly skilled keyboard players and control subjects during complex tasks requiring unimanual and bimanual finger movements. Both groups showed strong hemodynamic responses in the cerebellum during the task conditions. However, non-musicians showed generally stronger hemodynamic responses in the cerebellum than keyboard players. We conclude that, due to long-term motor practice a different cortical activation pattern can be visualized in keyboard players. For the same movements fewer neurons need to be recruited. The different volume of the activated cortical areas might therefore reflect the different effort necessary for motor performance in both groups.

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