Jun 6, 2014

Spontaneous recovery and the multiple timescales of human motor memory

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Adam D HargreavesJohn F Mulley

Abstract

In numerous paradigms, from fear conditioning to motor adaptation, memory exhibits a remarkable property: acquisition of a novel behavior followed by its extinction results in spontaneous recovery of the original behavior. A current model suggests that spontaneous recovery occurs because learning is supported by two different adaptive processes: one fast (high error sensitivity, low retention), and the other slow (low error sensitivity, high retention). Here, we searched for signatures of these hypothesized processes in the commands that guided single movements. We examined human saccadic eye movements and observed that following experience of a visual error, there was an adaptive change in the motor commands of the subsequent saccade, partially correcting for the error. However, the error correcting commands were expressed only during the deceleration period. If the errors persisted, the acceleration period commands also changed. Adaptation of acceleration period commands exhibited poor sensitivity to error, but the learning was resistant to forgetting. In contrast, the deceleration period commands adapted with high sensitivity to error, and the learning suffered from poor retention. Thus, within a single saccade, a fast-like ...Continue Reading

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