In search of motor memory consolidation processes underlying wakeful post-training interventions: A review

James Brown, Maarten A. Immink, Alex Chatburn, David L. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review

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Following training, novel motor memory is initially fragile before consolidation
processes render the memory stabilized into long-term memory. Of the two types of time-dependent consolidation processes that occur following
training, those associated with sleep have attracted the most attention at
the cost of consideration for processes that occur in the post-training wakeful
period. Notably, a range of interventions have been shown to provide
wakeful motor memory including exercise, cognitive task performance and
mindfulness meditation for which several questions remain unaddressed.
For example, it is not known whether wakeful consolidation interventions
are unique or share common features in how they support memory
consolidation. To gain some perspective on this issue, we reviewed wakeful
interventions for motor memory consolidation. While a range of means have
been proposed to explain consolidation from wakeful interventions including
exercise-specific increases in physiological arousal and neurotrophic
factors levels and meditation-related increases in striatal dopamine, our
review revealed overlapping descriptions of consolidation mechanisms
associated with attention. As goal-oriented tasks, wakeful interventions
share the requirement of increased attention control to maintain task
performance. This suggests that states of increased attention control following
training might be important for learning outcomes. Distinct from the role
of attention during skill training, consolidation would not require attention
control to be skill-specific. There is some discrepancy with this view as it has
been shown that states of reduced attention demand, including that associated
with mind-wandering or default mode states, following training might
better serve memory consolidation. This review has highlighted that while
attention control might represent a unifying set of processes by which
wakeful interventions provide memory consolidation, these processes
remain poorly described and lack empirical evaluation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S24-S25
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
Event2021 North American Society for Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity Conference - Virtual Conference
Duration: 9 Jun 202111 Jun 2021


  • Motor Memory
  • Consolidation Processes
  • Wakeful Post-Training


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