ORCID

Abstract

In ball sports, we are taught to follow through, despite the inability of events after contact or release to influence the outcome [1, 2]. Here we show that the specific motor memory active at any given moment critically depends on the movement that will be made in the near future. We demonstrate that associating a different follow-through movement with two motor skills that normally interfere [3-7] allows them to be learned simultaneously, suggesting that distinct future actions activate separate motor memories. This implies that when learning a skill, a variable follow-through would activate multiple motor memories across practice, whereas a consistent follow-through would activate a single motor memory, resulting in faster learning. We confirm this prediction and show that such follow-through effects influence adaptation over time periods associated with real-world skill learning. Overall, our results indicate that movements made in the immediate future influence the current active motor memory. This suggests that there is a critical time period both before [8] and after the current movement that determines motor memory activation and controls learning.

DOI

10.1016/j.cub.2014.12.037

Publication Date

2015-02-02

Publication Title

Curr Biol

Volume

25

Issue

3

First Page

397

Last Page

401

Organisational Unit

School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

Keywords

Analysis of Variance, Association Learning, Games, Experimental, Humans, Models, Psychological, Motor Skills, Psychomotor Performance, Time Factors

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