Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Kinesiology

Document Type



Human motor learning processes are fundamental for our daily activities and can be adversely affected by neurologic conditions. Motor learning largely depends on successfully integrating cognitive and motor-related sensory information. A simple, easily accessible treatment that could enhance these learning processes would be exciting and clinically impactful. In this dissertation, we explore the effect of normobaric 100% oxygen treatment (NbOxTr) during different motor learning tasks and investigate the brain oxygenation changes during the process. In the visuomotor adaptation task (VMA), when participants adapted to a visual distortion between visual feedback and hand movements, participants with NbOxTr exhibited better movement planning and movement execution features, such as smaller spatial directional error and shorter movement pathlength. In the motor sequence learning task (MSL), when participants reacted to serial of visual cues with pressing down spatially compatible keys, participants with NbOxTr exhibited faster response speed independent of training depth. Furthermore, a short-term consolidation effect was observed during both motor learning tasks as participants in experiment group kept performing better post-treatment. During the follow-up experiment, a near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) system was utilized to monitor the oxygenation level of the right and left prefrontal cortex (PFC). We found that NbOxTr increased the oxygenated hemoglobin availability in the PFC and a positive correlation between TSI changes in the right PFC and the response time improvements during the MSL task. Our study provide convincing evidence that this NbOxTr technique seems to have promising potential for neurorehabilitation, athletic training and many other skill learning scenarios.



Committee Chair

Dalecki, Marc

Available for download on Wednesday, March 27, 2024