Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Adjmal Sarwary (Donders series 206)

24 March 2016

Promotors: prof. dr. ing. D. Stegeman, prof. dr. P. Medendorp, copromotor: dr. ing. L. Selen

Mechanisms of interference between motor memories

Our environment changes constantly. Cycling during a southwest storm is a bit different than cycling on a nice summer day. Our movements and forces have to be constantly adjusted given our environment but also our physical state. These changes form and adjust motor memories, which are used to determine how to make a specific movement in a specific environment at a specific time. Daily life experience shows great flexibility in the formation and adjustment of motor memories. We can for example practice the forehand in tennis and then switch to practice the backhand without having forgot the forehand. But how are we able of keeping these memories apart from each other?

In this thesis I show that specific sensorimotor cues are they key to keep motor memories apart from each other. Furthermore, I also show that the mechanisms of forming new motor memories change given higher levels of overlap of sensorimotor cues.
These results are not only a theoretical contribution to fundamental neuroscience research but have also implications for rehabilitation and training methods in sports.