Accelerating locomotor savings in learning: compressing four training days to one.

Mark McIntosh,'s picture
PubMed URL: 
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29537915
Author: 
Bastian AJ
Author List: 
Day KA
Leech KA
Roemmich RT
Bastian AJ
Journal: 
J Neurophysiol
PubMed ID: 
29537915
Abstract: 
Acquiring new movements requires the capacity of the nervous system to remember previously experienced motor patterns. The phenomenon of faster re-learning after initial learning is termed 'savings'. Here we studied how savings of a novel walking pattern develops over several days of practice, and how this process can be accelerated. We introduced participants to a split-belt treadmill adaptation paradigm for 30 minutes for 5 consecutive days. After 5 training days, participants were able to produce near-perfect performance when switching between split and tied-belt environments. We found that this was due to their ability to shift specific elements of their stepping pattern to account for the split treadmill speeds from day-to-day. We also applied a state-space model to further characterize multiday locomotor savings. We then explored methods of achieving comparable savings with less total training time. We studied people training only on Day 1, with either one extended split-belt exposure, or alternating four times between split-belt and tied belt conditions rapidly in succession. Both of these single-day training groups were tested again on Day 5. Experiencing four abbreviated exposures on Day 1 improved the performance on Day 5 when compared to one extended exposure on Day 1. Moreover, this abbreviated group performed similarly to the group that trained for 4 consecutive days prior to testing on Day 5, despite only having one quarter of the total training time. These results demonstrate that we can leverage training structure to achieve a high degree of performance while minimizing training sessions.
Published Date: 
March, 2018

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