Neuroscientific Aspects of Implicit Motor Learning in Sport

Authored by: Zhu1,2 Frank , Poolton 1 Jamie , Masters 1 Rich

Routledge Handbook of Motor Control and Motor Learning

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  January  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415669603
eBook ISBN: 9780203132746
Adobe ISBN: 9781136477942

10.4324/9780203132746.ch8

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Abstract

Motor learning has been defined as ‘a set of [internal] processes associated with practice or experience leading to relatively permanent changes in the capability for responding’ (Schmidt, 1988: 346). When the motor task is sufficiently complex that it requires the coordination of multiple degrees of freedom, as in the skills required for proficient performance in most sports activities, the learner tends to take a proactive role in aspects of the learning process that can be consciously monitored or controlled. At the heart of this chapter is the role of verbal- analytical processes in motor control and learning, taking as a primary distinction the contrast between processing of explicit, declarative or implicit, procedural knowledge during motor performance (e.g., Anderson, 1983; Anderson & Lebiere, 1998; Schneider & Shiffrin, 1977). We will first describe the nature of the knowledge that is involved in verbal-analytical processes and explore how accretion, storage and use of the knowledge are mediated by working memory. We will discuss a range of studies that provide insight into cortical aspects of working memory processes during learning and performance and we will introduce an overview of implicit motor learning, which has been developed as an approach to suppress verbal- analytical involvement during motor performance by controlling working memory input during learning. We will present neurophysiological evidence suggesting that implicit motor learning promotes neural efficiency by suppressing verbal-analytical involvement in motor performance and will try to show how this relates to individual differences in the propensity for conscious motor processing (reinvestment). Finally, we will briefly discuss studies that provide insight to neurophysiological aspects of implicit motor learning in rehabilitation, before trying to summarize the current state of our understanding of neuroscientific aspects of implicit motor learning in sport.

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