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J Neurophysiol. 2019 Sep 1;122(3):933-946. doi: 10.1152/jn.00569.2018. Epub 2019 Jul 10.

The 24-h savings of adaptation to novel movement dynamics initially reflects the recall of previous performance.

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Department of Bioengineering, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.
Department of Neuroscience, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.
Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, University of California, Davis, California.


Humans rapidly adapt reaching movements in response to perturbations (e.g., manipulations of movement dynamics or visual feedback). Following a break, when reexposed to the same perturbation, subjects demonstrate savings, a faster learning rate compared with the time course of initial training. Although this has been well studied, there are open questions on the extent early savings reflects the rapid recall of previous performance. To address this question, we examined how the properties of initial training (duration and final adaptive state) influence initial single-trial adaptation to force-field perturbations when training sessions were separated by 24 h. There were two main groups that were distinct based on the presence or absence of a washout period at the end of day 1 (with washout vs. without washout). We also varied the training duration on day 1 (15, 30, 90, or 160 training trials), resulting in 8 subgroups of subjects. We show that single-trial adaptation on day 2 scaled with training duration, even for similar asymptotic levels of learning on day 1 of training. Interestingly, the temporal force profile following the first perturbation on day 2 matched that at the end of day 1 for the longest training duration group that did not complete the washout. This correspondence persisted but was significantly lower for shorter training durations and the washout subject groups. Collectively, the results suggest that the adaptation observed very early in reexposure results from the rapid recall of the previously learned motor recalibration but is highly dependent on the initial training duration and final adaptive state.NEW & NOTEWORTHY The extent initial readaptation reflects the recall of previous motor performance is largely unknown. We examined early single-trial force-field adaptation on the second day of training and distinguished initial retention from recall. We found that the single-trial adaptation following the 24-h break matched that at the end of the first day, but this recall was modified by the training duration and final level of learning on the first day of training.


motor adaptation; motor memory; recall; savings

[Available on 2020-09-01]

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