Decreased load on general motor preparation and visual-working memory while preparing familiar as compared to unfamiliar movement sequences.

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    Abstract

    Learning movement sequences is thought to develop from an initial controlled attentive phase to a more automatic inattentive phase. Furthermore, execution of sequences becomes faster with practice, which may result from changes at a general motor processing level rather than at an effector specific motor processing level. In the current study, we examined whether these changes are already present during preparation. Fixed series of six keypresses, either familiar or unfamiliar, had to be prepared and executed/withheld after a go/nogo signal. Reaction time results confirmed that familiar sequences were executed faster than unfamiliar sequences. Results derived from the electroencephalogram showed a decreased demand on general motor preparation and visual-working memory before familiar sequences as compared to unfamiliar sequences. We propose that with familiar sequences the presetting segments of responses is less demanding than with unfamiliar sequences, as familiar sequences can be regarded as less complex than unfamiliar sequences. Finally, the decreasing demand on visual-working memory before familiar sequences suggests that sequence learning indeed develops from an attentive to an automatic phase.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)126-134
    Number of pages9
    JournalBrain and cognition
    Volume75
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Keywords

    • IR-94602
    • METIS-279515

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