for Functional Brain Imaging
& Learning Research (LFBI-LR)
Avi Karni, M.D., Ph.D. Head of the LFBI-LR
Using behavioral (visual and auditory psychophysics,
kinematics and response time measurements) and brain imaging
(fMRI) techniques, the lab members' primary focus is on studying
what drives the ability of the human brain to change with
experience and establish effective long-term memory. Thus, we
ask questions such as: where in the brain, when and under what
conditions do long-lasting experience-dependent changes (memory)
occur; what makes an effective learning experience; how do time,
sleep and later experience, that come after a successful learning
experience, affect the consolidation of the learning experience into
long-term memory; are children (before puberty) really better than
adults in acquiring and retaining skills? (We think they are not.)
Much of the work is concerned with motor sequence learning
(as in handwriting, typing and playing musical instruments) but we
are interested in the question: are complex tasks (learning to use
invented language rules, reading, arithmetic knowledge, solving the
Tower of London task) acquired and retained in long-term memory in
similarity to 'simple' perceptual and motor skills?
Other lab members address skill (motor as well as higher
cognitive) learning abilities in individuals with developmental
learning disabilities and in acquired brain disorders.
For example, can we train the dyslexic
brain to read fluently?
Another ongoing project of the lab members over recent years
addresses the representation of linguistic material in the auditory
and visual systems, asking questions about cross sensory-modality
and multi-sensory effects (can the visual cortex hear?) and
the effects of prosody (intonation) on word representation in
the auditory system.
procedural learning; memory consolidation; functional brain
brain imaging; fMRI;
motor sequence learning; developmental learning disabilities;
cross-modality; multi-sensory effects.
Titles of ongoing collaborative projects:
The effects of
time and daytime napping on skill memory consolidation
(in collaboration with Y. Dagan (TAU), J. Doyon (U. Montreal),
J. Carrier (U. Montreal)).
The effect of
practice and learning on cortical connectivity (in collaboration
with D. Manor (TAU), J. Doyon (U. Montreal), H. Benali (CNRS,
Paris) & S. Lehricy (U. Paris, Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital)).
ERP and fMRI study of the effects of training on the
representation of language skills in the dyslexic brain (in
collaboration with Z. Breznitz (U. Haifa) & D. Manor (Sheba
interactions in the adult brain (in collaboration with M. Reiner
fMRI study of the representation of handwriting as a function of
the level of experience and in different contexts (in
collaboration with N. Giladi (Tel Aviv Medical Center) & D.
Manor (Sheba Medical Center)).
of skilled movement & co-articulation (in collaboration with O.
Keren (Alyn Rehabilitation Center)).
representation of arithmetical skills in the dyscalculic brain
(in collaboration I. Morocz (Harvard) & R Shalev (Sha'arei Zedek
learning cognitive skills (in collaboration
with E Vakil (Bar Ilan U.) & S. Hasin
(Sheba Medical Center)).
Balance and posture in dyslexics (in collaboration with R. Lidor (U. Haifa) and N. Benjoya (BGU)).
Non-volitional skills: learning in the balance and posture
system (in collaboration with T. Weiss (U. Haifa)).