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Poster C68

Micro-consolidation occurs during implicit motor sequence learning, but is not influenced by exercise

Poster Session C - Sunday, April 14, 2024, 5:00 – 7:00 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Emily Brooks1 (, Sarah Wallis1, Joshua Hendrikse1, James Coxon1; 1Monash University

Consolidation is a key process of strengthening new memories to reduce interference after learning new skills, and has typically been investigated over a period of hours to days following practice. However, micro-consolidation, a phenomenon recently discovered during the brief rest periods within practice sessions, appears to be a key process in early motor skill learning of explicit sequences. We investigated if micro-consolidation generalises to implicit motor sequence learning, as implicit and explicit sequence learning are known to rely on overlapping, yet distinct neural networks. In a sample of 38, right-handed, healthy, young adults, utilising an undisclosed 12-item repeating sequence serial reaction time task, we demonstrate that micro-consolidation occurs in the absence of explicit sequence awareness. We also investigated the effect of a preceding 20-minute bout of high-intensity exercise on micro-consolidation, as exercise is known to augment the consolidation of new motor skills. At this acute timescale, micro-consolidation was not modified by a proceeding bout of high intensity exercise. Overall, our findings suggest that micro-consolidation is a general feature of early sequence learning that does not necessitate explicit awareness. Additionally, our results indicate that exercise is unlikely to impact consolidation on the micro timescale when there is close temporal proximity to the task.

Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Skill Learning


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April 13–16  |  2024