Social Rewards Enhance Offline Improvements in Motor Skill

Sho K. Sugawara, Satoshi Tanaka, Shuntaro Okazaki, Katsumi Watanabe, Norihiro Sadato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Motor skill memory is first encoded online in a fragile form during practice and then converted into a stable form by offline consolidation, which is the behavioral stage critical for successful learning. Praise, a social reward, is thought to boost motor skill learning by increasing motivation, which leads to increased practice. However, the effect of praise on consolidation is unknown. Here, we tested the hypothesis that praise following motor training directly facilitates skill consolidation. Forty-eight healthy participants were trained on a sequential finger-tapping task. Immediately after training, participants were divided into three groups according to whether they received praise for their own training performance, praise for another participant's performance, or no praise. Participants who received praise for their own performance showed a significantly higher rate of offline improvement relative to other participants when performing a surprise recall test of the learned sequence. On the other hand, the average performance of the novel sequence and randomly-ordered tapping did not differ between the three experimental groups. These results are the first to indicate that praise-related improvements in motor skill memory are not due to a feedback-incentive mechanism, but instead involve direct effects on the offline consolidation process.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere48174
JournalPloS one
Volume7
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Nov 7
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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  • Cite this

    Sugawara, S. K., Tanaka, S., Okazaki, S., Watanabe, K., & Sadato, N. (2012). Social Rewards Enhance Offline Improvements in Motor Skill. PloS one, 7(11), [e48174]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0048174