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Off-line learning and the primary motor cortex

By E.M. Robertson, D.Z. Press and A. Pascual-Leone


We are all familiar with acquiring skills during practice, but skill can also continue to develop between practice sessions. These “off-line” improvements are frequently supported by sleep, but they can be time dependent when a skill is acquired unintentionally. The magnitude of these over-day and overnight improvements is similar, suggesting that a similar mechanism may support both types of off-line improvements. However, here we show that disruption of the primary motor cortex with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation blocks off-line improvements over the day but not overnight. This suggests that a memory may be rescued overnight and subsequently enhanced or that different aspects of a skill, with differential dependencies on the primary motor cortex, are enhanced over day and overnight. Off-line improvements of similar magnitude are not supported by similar mechanisms; instead, the mechanisms engaged may depend on brain state

Publisher: The Society for Neuroscience
Year: 2005
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Provided by: Enlighten
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