Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Clinical Trial
. 2019 Jan 10;14(1):e0210658.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0210658. eCollection 2019.

Different Post-Training Processes in Children's and Adults' Motor Skill Learning

Free PMC article
Clinical Trial

Different Post-Training Processes in Children's and Adults' Motor Skill Learning

Esther Adi-Japha et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article


Do young children and adults share similar underlying motor skill learning mechanisms? Past studies have shown that school-aged children's speed of performance developed over wake periods of a few hours post-training. Such training-dependent gains were not found in adults. In the current study of children as young as 5-years-old and young adults who practiced a simple grapho-motor task, this finding was replicated only by the children that showed faster performance a few hours post-training. These positive gains in performance speed were retained two weeks later. Furthermore, among the children, variations in gains attained a few hours post-training were associated with initial performance level. These behavioral findings indicate different underlying post-training processes in children's and adults' motor skill learning thus, supporting differential tutoring of skills.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Fig 1
Fig 1. The invented letter stimuli.
(A) A single stimulus. Writing direction A-B-C. (B) A block of the invented letter task. Writing direction is from right-to-left.
Fig 2
Fig 2. Speed and accuracy (mean and SE): Initial-training (pre, blocks 1–4 on Day 1), end-of-training (post, blocks 9–12 on Day 1), 2- or 4- hours post-training (2/4 h-post), and 2 weeks post-training (2wk-post).
(A) Time per block. (B) Number of correctly produced shapes (of 15). Bonferroni, black star, p < .001, blue star, p < .02.

Similar articles

See all similar articles


    1. Censor N, Sagi D, Cohen LG. Common mechanisms of human perceptual and motor learning. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2012; 13(9): 658–64. 10.1038/nrn3315 - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Pan SC, Rickard TC. Sleep and motor learning: is there room for consolidation? Psychol Bull. 2015; 141(4):812. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Dayan E, Cohen LG. Neuroplasticity subserving motor skill learning. Neuron. 2011;72(3):443–5. http://doi/10.1016/j.neuron.2011.10.008 - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Doyon J, Benali H. Reorganization and plasticity in the adult brain during learning of motor skills. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2005; 15(2):161–7. 10.1016/j.conb.2005.03.004 - DOI - PubMed
    1. Robertson EM. From creation to consolidation: a novel framework for memory processing. PLoS Biol. 2009; 7(1):e1000019 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000019 - DOI - PMC - PubMed

Publication types

Grant support

This work was supported by EAJ Israel Science Foundation, 1632/13 ( The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.