Motor sequence consolidation: Constrained by critical time windows or competing components

  • Cohen D
  • Robertson E
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Skill improvements may develop between practice sessions during memory consolidation. Skill enhancement within an egocentric coordinate frame develops over wake, whereas skill enhancement in an allocentric coordinate frame develops over a night of sleep. We tested whether both types of improvement could develop over two different 24-h intervals: 8 am to 8 am or from 8 pm to 8 pm. We found that for each 24 h interval, only one type of skill improvement was seen. Despite passing through wake and a night of sleep participants only showed skill improvements commensurate with either a night of sleep or a day awake. The nature of the off-line skill enhancement was determined by when consolidation occurred within the normal sleep-wake cycle. We conclude that motor sequence consolidation is constrained either by having critical time windows or by a competitive interaction in which improvements within one co-ordinate frame actively block improvements from developing in the alternative co-ordinate frame.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Consolidation
  • Motor control
  • Procedural learning
  • Sequence learning
  • Skill learning

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  • Daniel A. Cohen

  • Edwin M. Robertson

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