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Effect of sleep on gross motor memory

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Sleep has a beneficial effect on consolidation of newly learned fine motor skills. The aim of the current study was to determine whether sleep has a similar beneficial effect on consolidation of gross motor skills. A total of 70 participants were randomly assigned to either a Sleep-Wake group or a Wake-Sleep group and were trained on an arm coordinated reaching task as a gross motor skill. Initial training occurred in the evening for the Sleep-Wake group and in the morning for the Wake-Sleep group. All participants attended two test sessions 12 and 24 hours following the initial training. Gross motor skill performance improved in both groups following a night of sleep but not after a day of wakefulness. These findings may have implications for learning of new gross motor skills in a range of activities from dance to motor rehabilitation.
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Keywords: Consolidation; Learning; Memory; Motor skills; Sleep

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Publication date: November 1, 2012

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