A previous study demonstrated that learning to lift an object is context-based and that in the presence of both the memory and visual cues, the acquired sensorimotor memory to manipulate an object in one context interferes with the performance of the same task in presence of visual information about a different context (Fu et al, 2012).
The purpose of this study is to know whether the primary motor cortex (M1) plays a role in the sensorimotor memory. It was hypothesized that temporary disruption of the M1 following the learning to minimize a tilt using a ‘L’ shaped object would negatively affect the retention of sensorimotor memory and thus reduce interference between the memory acquired in one context and the visual cues to perform the same task in a different context.
Significant findings were shown in blocks 1, 2, and 4. In block 3, subjects displayed insignificant amount of learning. However, it cannot be concluded that there is full interference in block 3. Therefore, looked into 3 effects in statistical analysis: the main effects of the blocks, the main effects of the trials, and the effects of the blocks and trials combined. From the block effects, there is a p-value of 0.001, and from the trial effects, the p-value is less than 0.001. Both of these effects indicate that there is learning occurring. However, when looking at the blocks * trials effects, we see a p-value of 0.002 < 0.05 indicating significant interaction between sensorimotor memories. Based on the results that were found, there is a presence of interference in all the blocks but not enough to justify the use of TMS in order to reduce interference because there is a partial reduction of interference from the control experiment. It is evident that the time delay might be the issue between context switches. By reducing the time delay between block 2 and 3 from 10 minutes to 5 minutes, I will hope to see significant learning to occur from the first trial to the second trial.
- The Role of Primary Motor Cortex (M1) in the Context-Dependent Interference