A03 Mechanisms of body cognition and emotion inducing hyper-adaptability

Research Outline


Our research project aims to reveal neural processes in which body cognition and emotion facilitate “hyper-adaptability.” Hyper-adaptability is the ability to perform motor learning under challenging situations, such as when the body structure changes due to accidents or aging. Empirically, positive emotion such as motivation drives learning in a challenging situation. Moreover, the sense of agency (an aspect of body cognition) is the subjective experience that “I” am the one causing an action. This sense facilitates motor learning because it helps in correctly attributing a motor error to the self and thus correcting movement based on the error. However, little is known about the neural process and theoretical framework in which body cognition and emotion facilitate motor learning.

Our research plan is as follows. First, we will develop methods to estimate states of body cognition and motivation during motor learning. Regarding body cognition, we will develop a method to estimate the sense of agency from human brain activity during motor learning. Regarding motivation, we will study this by controlling the hunger level of monkeys and then develop a method to estimate motivation from our analysis of the animals’ behavior during motor learning. Second, we will estimate the sense of agency and motivation while humans and monkeys are engaged in motor learning tasks. Using the data obtained in these experiments, we will investigate the change in relationships among brain networks relevant to the sense of agency, motivation, and body-motor systems as the learning proceeds. Furthermore, we will construct mathematical models of the network relationships and identify brain regions that affect motor learning in collaboration with the B03 project. Third, we will manipulate these regions by non-invasive brain stimuli and neurofeedback training to examine whether the stimulation and training affect the efficiency of motor learning.

The results of these studies are expected to elucidate mechanisms in which cognition and emotion affect the efficacy of motor learning. Such mechanisms have been overlooked in previous theories of motor learning. We are planning to use these results to develop technology that facilitates the hyper-adaptability of the brain, which is necessary for overcoming various disorders and the decrease in physical performance caused by injuries or aging.


Principal investigator Hiroshi IMAMIZU Professor, The University of Tokyo
Funded co-investigator Ken-Ichiro TSUTSUI Professor, Tohoku University
Co-investigators Ryu OHATA Researcher, Karolinska Institutet
Kentaro HIROMITSU Researcher, The University of Tokyo
Tomohisa ASAI Researcher, ATR
Hiroshi KADOTA Associate Professor, Kochi University of Technology
Shu IMAIZUMI Associate Professor, Ochanomizu University
Shinya NAKAMURA Assistant Professor, Tohoku University
Shinya OHARA Assistant Professor, Tohoku University
Takayuki HOSOKAWA Associate Professor, Kawasaki University of Medical Welfare
Yu TAKAGI Post-doctoral fellows, The University of Tokyo
Takumi TANAKA Researcher, The University of Tokyo