Navigation Links
Motor memory: The long and short of it
Date:9/13/2011

For the first time, scientists at USC have unlocked a mechanism behind the way short- and long-term motor memory work together and compete against one another.

The research from a team led by Nicolas Schweighofer of the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at USC could potentially pave the way to more effective rehabilitation for stroke patients.

It turns out that the phenomenon of motor memory is actually the product of two processes: short-term and long-term memory.

If you focus on learning motor skills sequentially for example, two overhand ball throws you will acquire each fairly quickly, but are more likely to forget them later. However, if you split your time up between learning multiple motor skills say, learning two different throws you will learn them more slowly but be more likely to remember them both later.

This phenomenon, called the "contextual interference effect," is the result of a showdown between your short-term and long-term motor memory, Schweighofer said. Though scientists have long been aware of the effect's existence, Schweighofer's research is the first to explain the mechanism behind it.

"Continually wiping out motor short-term memory helps update long-term memory," he said.

In short, if your brain can rely on your short-term motor memory to handle memorizing a single motor task, then it will do so, failing to engage your long-term memory in the process. If you deny your brain that option by continually switching from learning one task to the other, your long-term memory will kick in instead. It will take longer to learn both, but you won't forget them later.

"It is much more difficult for people to learn two tasks," he said. "But in the random training there was no significant forgetting."

Schweighofer uncovered the mechanism while exploring the puzzling results of spatial working memory tests in individuals who had suffered a brain stroke.

Those individuals, whose short-term memory is damaged from the stroke, show better long-term retention because they are forced to rely on their long-term memories.

Schweighofer's paper appears in the August issue of Journal of Neurophysiology.

In the long term, he said he hopes this research could help lead to computer programs that optimize rehabilitation for stroke patients, determining what method of training will work best for each individual.


'/>"/>

Contact: Robert Perkins
perkinsr@usc.edu
213-740-9226
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Motorola Introduces Mobile Biometric Identification for Handheld Computers
2. SAFRAN to Acquire Motorolas Biometrics Business
3. Motor nerve targeting to limb muscles is controlled by ephrin proteins
4. Biologists learn structure, mechanism of powerful molecular motor in virus
5. Microbot motors fit to swim human arteries
6. UCLA stem cells scientists make electrically active motor neurons from iPS cells
7. First neuroimaging study examining motor execution in children with autism reveals new insights
8. Researchers design first model motor nerve system thats insulated and organized like the human body
9. Atomic-level snapshot catches protein motor in action
10. New study possibly links cognitive and motor delays with flat head syndrome in young babies
11. Lifes smallest motor, cargo carrier of the cells, moves like a seesaw
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/30/2017)... ARLINGTON, Va. , June 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... a leading developer and supplier of face and ... the ATA Featured Product provider program. ... created an innovative way to monitor a driver,s ... benefit greatly from being able to detect fatigue ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... -- IBM (NYSE: IBM ) is introducing several innovative partner ... developing collaboration between startups and global businesses, taking place in ... event, nine startups will showcase the solutions they have built ... France is one of ... 30 percent increase in the number of startups created between ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... , May 16, 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ... of online age and identity verification solutions, announced today ... Identity Conference 2017, May 15 thru May 17, 2017, ... Building and International Trade Center. Identity ... globe and in today,s quickly evolving digital world, defining ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... , ... The award-winning American Farmer television series will feature 3 Bar Biologics ... at 8:30aET on RFD-TV. , With global population estimates nearing ten billion people ... to feed a growing nation. At the same time, many of our valuable resources ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... 5, 2017, in the medical journal, Epilepsia, Brain Sentinel’s SPEAC® System which ... video EEG, in detecting generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) using surface electromyography (sEMG). ...
(Date:10/7/2017)...  The 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry recognizes ... Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson ... (cryo-EM) have helped to broaden the use ... The winners worked with systems manufactured by Thermo ... resolved, three-dimensional images of protein structures that lead ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... ... 2017 , ... LabRoots , the leading provider of educational and interactive ... back to cancer research with a month-long promotion supporting the advancement of breast cancer ... can use promo code PinkRibbon to get 10 percent off their purchase of every ...
Breaking Biology Technology: