Computational studies suggest that acquisition of a motor skill involves learning an internal model of the dynamics of the task, which enables the brain to predict and compensate for mechanical behavior. During the hours that follow completion of practice, representation of the internal model gradually changes, becoming less fragile with respect to behavioral interference. Here, functional imaging of the brain demonstrates that within 6 hours after completion of practice, while performance remains unchanged, the brain engages new regions to perform the task; there is a shift from prefrontal regions of the cortex to the premotor, posterior parietal, and cerebellar cortex structures. This shift is specific to recall of an established motor skill and suggests that with the passage of time, there is a change in the neural representation of the internal model and that this change may underlie its increased functional stability.
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