Eli5 How does motor learning work?


For example, to perfect a baseball swing, what does it take for the brain to reach the point where the person no longer needs to think about the action, and they just perform it automatically, or rather unconsciously?

In: 9


I know that muscle memory is a thing. Repetition of movements conditions the muscles used. I have experience with this from playing guitar. After so many times playing the same lick it gets hardwired in and your fingers just know the series of fine movements.


Your brain perfects a task to the point where it doesn’t need to expend any real thought to perform it. It essentially becomes autonomous.

A very similar example is how once we’ve learnt how to ride a bike, we can just ride a bike. We don’t have to actively ‘think’ about how to ride one.

IIRC one aspect in motor control is the neural pathways used to do a motion are coated in an insulating protein as you use them. This makes you become more efficient at a motion the more you do it.