Dual enhancement mechanisms for overnight motor memory consolidation

Breton, J. and Robertson, E. M. (2017) Dual enhancement mechanisms for overnight motor memory consolidation. Nature Human Behaviour, 1, 0111. (doi:10.1038/s41562-017-0111)

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Abstract

Our brains are constantly processing past events<sup>1</sup>. These offline processes consolidate memories, leading in the case of motor skill memories to an enhancement in performance between training sessions. A similar magnitude of enhancement develops over a night of sleep following an implicit task, in which a sequence of movements is acquired unintentionally, or following an explicit task, in which the same sequence is acquired intentionally<sup>2</sup>. What remains poorly understood, however, is whether these similar offline improvements are supported by similar circuits, or through distinct circuits. We set out to distinguish between these possibilities by applying transcranial magnetic stimulation over the primary motor cortex (M1) or the inferior parietal lobule (IPL) immediately after learning in either the explicit or implicit task. These brain areas have both been implicated in encoding aspects of a motor sequence and subsequently supporting offline improvements over sleep<sup>3,​4,​5</sup>. Here we show that offline improvements following the explicit task are dependent on a circuit that includes M1 but not IPL. In contrast, offline improvements following the implicit task are dependent on a circuit that includes IPL but not M1. Our work establishes the critical contribution made by M1 and IPL circuits to offline memory processing, and reveals that distinct circuits support similar offline improvements.

Item Type:Articles (Letter)
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Robertson, Professor Edwin
Authors: Breton, J., and Robertson, E. M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Journal Name:Nature Human Behaviour
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2397-3374
ISSN (Online):2397-3374
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature
First Published:First published in Nature Human Behaviour 1: 0111
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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