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

  • Cohen D
  • Robertson E
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Abstract

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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Authors

  • Daniel A. Cohen

  • Edwin M. Robertson

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