Neural mechanisms of learning

Hugh S. Selsick 127hugh at chiron.wits.ac.za
Fri Sep 15 06:58:31 EST 1995


Does anyone know what the latest consensus is on the neural mechanisms of 
learning, both with regard to memory and to motor skills? What physical and 
physiological changes occur during the process where an initially foreign 
reaction becomes almost(?) reflex? For example, when we first learn to drive 
the control of the clutch was difficult and required a great deal of 
concentration. But after a few months it is so natural we do it 
automatically without thinking. 

Related to this question is the problem of whether or not all reflex 
reactions are hardwired into our systems or whether theyn can be learned or 
unlearned. eg Can a karate master override his reflex to cringe in the face 
of an attack and replace it with a reflex to sidestep and block?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Hugh Selsick
Wits Physiology Department



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