Title

Age-related effects on hemispheric lateralization and motor asymmetry: An EEG study

Author

Qun Fang

Advisor

Pan, Zhujun

Committee Member

Chen, Chih-Chia

Committee Member

Aiken, Christopher

Committee Member

Lamberth, John

Committee Member

Knight, Adam C.

Date of Degree

8-1-2020

Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 2 years||forever||8/15/2022

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Abstract

The current research project consists of three experiments on motor asymmetry tasks. Electroencephalogram (EEG) was applied to examine neural activation patterns in coincidence with motor performance across ages. A total of 48 right-handed participants were recruited and conducted the Purdue Pegboard test, graphic test, and aiming test. The three motor tasks were designed to assess functional asymmetry at behavioral level. Brain activities were acquired through EEG while performing the tasks. Measures of EEG signals were mean relative power of 12 electrodes. To examine movement-related brain activity, Mu rhythm within a frequency band of 8 Hz to 12 Hz was filtered with a high-pass of 1 Hz and a low-pass of 50 Hz. Statistical analyses aimed to examine effects of aging on motor asymmetry and hemispheric asymmetry. One-way repeated ANOVA was first conducted on each age group separately to identify motor asymmetry characterized by a significant difference between left hand and right hand. In addition, two-way (Age × Hand) mixed design ANOVA was implemented to examine whether age-related changes in motor asymmetry were significant. The three motor tasks indicated significant motor asymmetry in young adults, with the dominant (right) hand having an advantage over the nondominant (left) hand. However, no significant results were identified in the manual performance of older adults, suggesting reduction of motor asymmetry in aging population. In addition, the two-way ANOVA identified a significant interaction effect between age and hand, which further confirmed the significant changes in motor asymmetry over the life span. Hemispheric activation indicated consistent pattern of changes with motor performance. Hemispheric activation of young adults was strongly lateralized during motor performance, with the frontal regions in the contralateral hemisphere being more activated than the corresponding regions in the ipsilateral hemisphere. On the other hand, hemispheric activation of older adults indicated increased ipsilateral activation which resulted in bilateral and symmetric patterns. The current research substantiated hypothesis proposed in previous motor behavior research that reduced motor asymmetry linked with less hemispheric lateralization in older adults. Based on evidence from motor behavior and neural connectivity, we concluded that aging reduces asymmetries at both behavioral and neural levels.

URI

https://hdl.handle.net/11668/18422

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