BrainsCAN Publications

Document Type


Publication Date


URL with Digital Object Identifier


Skill learning involves the formation of stable motor patterns. In musical and athletic 3 training, however, these stable patterns can also impede the attainment of higher levels 4 of performance, and hence constitute a motor habit. We developed an experimental 5 paradigm to induce a specific motor pattern in a sequence production task and 6 investigated how it affected subsequent optimization over a 3-week training period. 7 Participants initially practiced small segments of 2 to 3 finger movements, which were 8 then combined to form longer sequences. This initial training induced a persistent 9 chunking behavior, with shorter inter-press-intervals within a chunk and longer ones at 10 chunk boundaries. We were able to induce chunking that was either beneficial or 11 detrimental to performance, and could show that the degree to which these detrimental 12 chunk structures were maintained, predicted lower levels of final performance. We also 13 identified two optimization processes by which participants overcame the detrimental 14 motor habits.


Summary of this research is available in Brainscan Research Summaries

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Find in your library

Included in

Neurosciences Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.