Bidirectional competitive interactions between motor memory and declarative memory during interleaved learning

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Distinct motor and declarative memory systems are widely thought to compete during memory consolidation and retrieval, yet the nature of their interactions during learning is less clear. Recent studies have suggested motor learning not only depend on implicit motor memory system supporting gradual tuning of responses by feedback but also depend on explicit declarative memory system. However, this competition has been identified when both systems are engaged in learning the same material (motor information), and so competition might be emphasized. We tested whether such competition also occurs when learning involved separate motor memory and declarative information presented distinctly but yet in close temporal proximity. We measured behavioral and brain-activity correlates of motor-declarative competition during learning using a novel task with interleaved motor-adaptation and declarative-learning demands. Despite unrelated motor versus declarative information and temporal segregation, motor learning interfered with declarative learning and declarative learning interfered with motor learning. This reciprocal competition was tightly coupled to corresponding reductions of fMRI activity in motor versus declarative learning systems. These findings suggest that distinct motor and declarative learning systems compete even when they are engaged by system-specific demands in close temporal proximity during memory formation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6916
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes


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