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Neural substrates of motor memory consolidation depend on practice structure


Motor-skill practice drives subsequent offline activity in functionally related resting human brain networks. We investigated the manner in which offline neural networks are modulated by practice structures that affect motor-skill retention. Interference to dorsolateral-prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), but not to primary motor cortex (M1), after variable practice attenuated motor-skill retention, whereas interference to M1, but not to DLPFC, after constant practice attenuated motor-skill retention. We conclude that neural substrates of motor-memory consolidation are modulated by practice structure.

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Figure 1: Experimental design.
Figure 2: Practice structure and offline motor-memory stabilization.


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We thank E.M. Robertson for his thoughtful and constructive comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. The research was supported by a grant from the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity and an Oakley Fellowship from the Graduate School of the University of Southern California.

Author information




S.S.K. provided the theoretical framework, designed the study, conducted experiments, analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript. K.J.S., B.E.F. and B.J.K. helped with the experimental design, data analyses and manuscript writing. C.J.W. provided the theoretical framework and helped with experimental design, data analysis and manuscript writing. K.J.S., B.E.F. and C.J.W. supervised the project.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Carolee J Winstein.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Supplementary Figure 1, Supplementary Results, Supplementary Methods and Supplementary Discussion (PDF 188 kb)

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Kantak, S., Sullivan, K., Fisher, B. et al. Neural substrates of motor memory consolidation depend on practice structure. Nat Neurosci 13, 923–925 (2010).

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