Movement Repetition Facilitates Response Preparation

Cell Rep. 2018 Jul 24;24(4):801-808. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.06.097.


Our sensorimotor system appears to be influenced by the recent history of our movements. Repeating movements toward a particular direction is known to have a dramatic effect on involuntary movements elicited by cortical stimulation-a phenomenon that has been termed use-dependent plasticity. However, analogous effects of repetition on behavior have proven elusive. Here, we show that movement repetition enhances the generation of similar movements in the future by reducing the time required to select and prepare the repeated movement. We further show that this reaction time advantage for repeated movements is attributable to more rapid, but still flexible, preparation of the repeated movement rather than anticipation and covert advance preparation of the previously repeated movement. Our findings demonstrate a powerful and beneficial effect of movement repetition on response preparation, which may represent a behavioral counterpart to use-dependent plasticity effects in primary motor cortex.

Keywords: motor planning; movement repetition; reaction time; response preparation; use-dependent plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology*