Introduction: The main purpose of this study was to investigate the cerebral areas responsible for winking by observing the activation pattern and learning effects on cerebral cortices by comparing differences in activation pattern during winking before and after learning. Methods: Sixty-three subjects were recruited, including 22 (11 males; 11 females) who could wink bilaterally and 41 (14 males; 27 females) who could wink unilaterally. Event-related functional magnetic resonance was performed. The subjects were asked to blink and wink according to projected instructions as the events for image analysis. The activation pattern was obtained by contrasting with the baseline images without eyelid movements. Those who could only wink unilaterally were asked to train themselves to wink the other eye. For those who succeeded (n = 24), another imaging study was performed and the results were compared with those before training. Results and conclusion: Left winking resulted in activation in the left frontal lobe, while right winking resulted in activation in bilateral frontal lobes with predominance on the right side. For the subjects capable of only winking unilaterally, learning to wink on the other side activated similar cortical areas to those in the subjects capable of bilateral winking without training.
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