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Skill Memory

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Martin Ralph

Skill MemoryDeclarative MemoryIs memory for things we do and how to do them Skill ability you can improve over time through practiceSkill memories are long lasting and improved by experience They cant always be verbalized and are retrieved and encoded without conscious awareness Episodic and Semantic memory depends on procedural memory even though procedural memory does not rely on either of the other two Skill Memory vsEpisodic and Semantic MemoryDifficult to convey to othersCommunicated flexiblyCan be acquired without awareness Has consciously accessible contentRequires several repetitionsCan be acquired in one exposure There are two basic skill memories perceptualmotor skills and cognitive skillsPerceptualMotor SkillsThese are learned movement patterns guided by sensory input There are two types open skills or closed skills Closed skills consist of reiterating patterns of predefined and consistent movement like you see in ballet While open skills are skills that require responding based on predictions about the changing demands of the environment hockey soccer etcCognitive SkillsThese skills require the use of your brain in order to solve problems apply strategies and reason These are things we put into practice when we make decisions solve puzzles etc It was been believed for many years that only humans are capable of these type of skills However as more scientific research is done the more we find out about how animals use cognitive skills to survive in their environments Expertise and TalentThe difference between expertise and talent is that talent seems to be a biological gift or predisposition towards a certain skill Expertise on the other hand is simply the ability to do something better than majority of others This is usually done with practice There is some evidence that talent is biological Research done on twins identical and faternal those that have been raised together and apart has proven that genes affect the way we perform certain tasks PracticePracticing a certain skill will help you improve it However simple reiteration of the defined movements will not make you better Students need knowledge of results in order to improve This is when you are given feedback about your progress Acquiring SkillsWhen we begin to learn a new skill practice may develop our expertise in this skill rapidly However as we become more expert like with the skill the rate and amount of improvement beings to drop off This is known as the power law of learning or law of diminishing returns This room for improvement is predetermined regardless of skill or person We can use the power function to describe how rapidly a skill will be acquired Skill improvement can also be influenced by feedback and different feedback provides different types of improvements Frequent feedback leads to good shortterm performance but mediocre long term performance Infrequent feedback leads to mediocre short term performance but good long term performance Effort given during practice also affects skill acquisition Mass practice concentrated and continuous practice is good for short term results but not long term While spaced practice several sessions is good for long term retention There is alsoconstantpractice which is repeatedly practicing a skill under fixed conditions and variable practicing which is practising under a variable of conditions Variable practice is better for long term retention Implicit learningThis is learning that we do not consciously perform In order to study this the serial reaction time task is used This task proves that there are times when although peoples skill improves they have no awareness of what they have learned Implicit learning is also seen in patients with amnesia who get better in a certain task even thought they believe they are doing it for the first time ever This suggests that the system for encoding and retrieving explicit episodic semantic etc memory differs from that of implicit Due to the fact that procedural skill are hard to verbalize also suggests that they are more likely to be implicitly learned than cognitive skills Retention and ForgettingMemories for skills do not deteriorate as fast as cognitiveexplicit skills but still do with nonuse However it is hard to differentiate between a person who has truly lost the memory for a motor skill or has simply had their motor skill impaired This is why we observe neural activity in order to determine which it is Loss of skill through non use is called skill decay It is similar to the forgetting of explicit memory Therefore injuries and deficits can cause skill decay Forgetting gets slower as time goes on this is similar to the learning curve where learning is very rapid at first and then dies down New memories can also result in interference of old skill memories Transfer appropriate recall also helps and infringes on skill memory When this happens one must transfer trained performance to the novel conditions Transfer of TrainingSkills are often highly constrained in terms of how they can be applied Skill memory can be so specific that the introduction of other informative cues can disrupt performance Skills seem to be easily transferable to novel situations
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