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:3/6/2017)... Calif. , March 6, 2017 ... and sales technology, today announced Predictive Sales Coach ... for infusing actionable sales intelligence into Salesforce. This ... automatically enable their sales organizations with deep knowledge ... that allow for intelligent engagement. Predictive Sales Coach ...
(Date:3/1/2017)... 2017  Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE), a leading supplier ... P. Moberg has resigned, effective March 3, 2017, ... Officer and Treasurer of Aware citing a desire to ... member of the Board of Directors of Aware. ... Officer and co-President, General Counsel has been named Chief ...
(Date:2/26/2017)... -- Securus Technologies, a leading provider of civil and ... corrections and monitoring, announces the appointment of a ... often, too many offenders return to jail or ... to tackle this ongoing problem and improve the ... significant steps are underway, Securus continues to invest ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/29/2017)... March 29, 2017 The Global Microfluidic Chips ... is a specialized and comprehensive study on the existing state of ... , Europe and Asia-Pacific ... East and Africa . ... Browse 172 Tables and Figures, ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... California (PRWEB) , ... March 28, 2017 , ... ... its flagship product, AllegroGraph , has been named a ‘Champion’ by Bloor Research ... is the highest ranked product in its class, and, thanks to Gruff, it was ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... 2017 Summary This report provides ... and its partnering interests and activities since 2010. Description ... in-depth insight into the partnering activity of one of the ... reports are prepared upon purchase to ensure inclusion of the ... The report will be delivered in PDF format within 1 ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... 2017  Viking Therapeutics, Inc. ("Viking") (NASDAQ: VKTX), a ... therapies for metabolic and endocrine disorders, today announced that ... will deliver a corporate presentation at H.C. Wainwright & ... held April 3, 2017 at the St. Regis Hotel ... presentation are as follows: H.C. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: