1. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated the neural correlates of sequential procedural learning. During the test scans the subjects learned a new sequence (position or color) of button presses; during the control scans they pressed the buttons in any order. The comparison of the test and control scans was expected to reveal the neural activities related to learning, not sensory-motor processes. 2. We found that a localized area in what we regard to be the human homologue of the presupplementary motor area (pre-SMA) was particularly active for learning of new sequential procedures (either position or color sequences), not movements per se. 3. In contrast, the SMA proper (posterior to pre-SMA) was active for the performance of sequential movements, not learning. This was shown in another paradigm in which the subjects pressed the buttons in any order in the test scans and just watched the sequence in the control scans. 4. The learning-related pre-SMA region, which was consistent across different experiments in single subjects, was identified on only one side in each subject.
- Copyright © 1996 the American Physiological Society