Motor skill, coordination & learning
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Fri Jun 3 04:40:37 EST 2005
The following claim about how we learn motor skills was made in the
context of a more general discussion on AI and intelligence. I am not a
biologist but I believe it to be New Age gibberish:
> Let's take something simple. Learning how to type. When
> you start out entering the word "the", your brain thinks
> about t, then sends a signal to your left forefinger, tells
> it to push, and repeats this process for each character.
> As you practice, you stop sending a message/character but
> you begin to send a message/word. Eventually, the cognitive
> piece of the brain forgets all about the "recipe" of what
> actions and their order that need to be taken to type the
> word "the".
> I've heard some people calling this muscle memory. Whatever
> it is, it's no longer resident in the brain.
I believe the last claim to be wildly inaccurate for humans. Although it
might be more nearly true for insects with distributed ganglia.
My understanding is that in humans all of the higher functions for
coordination and motor control are inside the brain. And that once
learned motor skills are devolved to other subconcious parts of the
brain like the cerebellum and motor cortex. And that the muscles have
relatively simple local nerve cells for fine grain feedback control and
reflex and a nerve connection back to the brain via the spinal cord.
I tried a web search and most of what I found supports my viewpoint. But
also I found some weird apparently genuine references about using the
blink reflex to measure intelligence and decided to ask here for
I'd appreciate suggestions on where to look for a reliable up to date
online review of what is known about how we learn new skills from a
biologist's perspective. Thanks for any pointers to reference material
that would clarify this position.
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