Measures of prefrontal functional near-infrared spectroscopy in visuomotor learning

Angelica M. Tinga*, Maria-Alena Clim, Tycho T. de Back, Max M. Louwerse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a promising technique for non-invasively assessing cortical brain activity during learning. This technique is safe, portable, and, compared to other imaging techniques, relatively robust to head motion, ocular and muscular artifacts and environmental noise. Moreover, the spatial resolution of fNIRS is superior to electroencephalography (EEG), a more commonly applied technique for measuring brain activity non-invasively during learning. Outcomes from fNIRS measures during learning might therefore be both sensitive to learning and to feedback on learning, in a different way than EEG. However, few studies have examined fNIRS outcomes in learning and no study to date additionally examined the effects of feedback. To address this apparent gap in the literature, the current study examined prefrontal cortex activity measured through fNIRS during visuomotor learning and how this measure is affected by task feedback. Activity in the prefrontal cortex decreased over the course of learning while being unaffected by task feedback. The findings demonstrate that fNIRS in the prefrontal cortex is valuable for assessing visuomotor learning and that this measure is robust to task feedback. The current study highlights the potential of fNIRS in assessing learning even under different task feedback conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1061-1072
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2021


  • Visuomotor learning
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Feedback


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