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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Early neuroscience experiments of skill learning focused predominantly on motor cortical plasticity. More recently, experiments have shown that cognitive processes such as working memory and error detection are engaged in the service of motor skill learning, particularly early in the learning process. This engagement early in learning maps onto prefrontal and striatal brain regions. As learning progresses, skill performance becomes automated and is no longer associated with prefrontal cortical recruitment. “Choking under pressure” may involve a return to early learning cognitive control mechanisms, resulting in disruption of highly learned skills. Conversely, analogy learning may speed skill acquisition by allowing learners to bypass the more cognitively demanding early stages. Questions for the future include the relative involvement of and interaction between implicit and explicit memory systems for different types of skill learning, and the impact of experiential and genetic individual differences on learning success.

Keywords: skill learning, working memory, error, implicit, explicit

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