Motor skill learning between selection and execution

Jörn Diedrichsen, Katja Kornysheva

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Learning motor skills evolves from the effortful selection of single movement elements to their combined fast and accurate production. We review recent trends in the study of skill learning which suggest a hierarchical organization of the representations that underlie such expert performance, with premotor areas encoding short sequential movement elements (chunks) or particular component features (timing/spatial organization). This hierarchical representation allows the system to utilize elements of well-learned skills in a flexible manner. One neural correlate of skill development is the emergence of specialized neural circuits that can produce the required elements in a stable and invariant fashion. We discuss the challenges in detecting these changes with fMRI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-33
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Animals
  • Brain/physiology
  • Humans
  • Learning/physiology
  • Motor Skills/physiology


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