Daten zum Projekt

Dopaminergic potentiation of language learning: Which brain structures and mechanisms are involved?

Initiative: Dynamik und Adaptivität neuronaler Systeme (beendet)
Bewilligung: 24.03.2005
Laufzeit: 3 Jahre


The brain's dopamine system is critical for learning. In previous work the participating groups demonstrated that the dopamine precursor levodopa markedly improves word learning success. The goal of this study is to identify the neural substrates of dopaminergic learning enhancement. To this end, three brain imaging techniques will be combined to compare learning with and without levodopa. Whole-head magnetoencephalography (MEG) will determine the temporal and spatial patterns of brain activation. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) will aid in the assessment of spatial patterns and effective connectivity of activated brain regions. Inhibitory transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) will validate if regional brain activation, identified by MEG and fMRI is critical for function. Specifically it will be asked whether dopamine increases a) neuronal coherence in learning related brain regions (temporal dimension) and b) learning via recruitment of vicarious brain areas or via language homolog regions (spatial dimension). The ultimate goal is to delineate the neural processes necessary for dopaminergic improvement.