This is my PhD Thesis, which consists of 4 chapters and each of them investigating different aspects of mechanisms of motor memories.
Every day, we make a ton of different movements, from easy tasks like picking up a cup of coffee, to more complex ones like riding a bike. The amazing thing is, we do all these movements automatically, without even really thinking about it. For example, when you’re walking, you’re not consciously planning where to put your next step, how to avoid stepping on things, or how to move the different muscles in your legs. But just because it seems easy, doesn’t mean it is. In fact, the brain processes behind these movements are incredibly complex.
You might associate complex tasks with things that need a lot of thought, like playing a game of chess. It’s even possible to create a computer to simulate this kind of thought. A famous example is IBM’s chess-playing computer, Deep Blue, which could assess 100 million different chess positions per second, and even beat world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. But here’s the thing: while Deep Blue could indicate the new position for a chess piece, it couldn’t actually move the piece itself.
When it comes to physical movement, even the most advanced robots we’ve built can’t beat the abilities of a 4-year-old child. So, what makes the creation of even simple movements so incredibly complex? That’s what we’re here to find out.
Authors: Adjmal Sarwary
Publication date: 2016/09
Link to the thesis: Mechanisms of interference between motor memories
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