Why some people excel at riding bikes or tying a tie

Washington, Oct 21 (ANI): A researcher has explained as to why some people may excel at riding a bike, tying a tie, or playing the piano, but the same people may find it difficult to explain or teach those skills to someone else.

These motor skills are learned in one part of the brain, whereas classroom instruction and information read in a book are acquired in another area of the brain, explained F. Gregory Ashby, professor and chair of UC Santa Barbara's Department of Psychology.

This second area of learning is the frontal cortex-the area immediately behind the forehead-where executive function is located.

A group of 16 UCSB undergraduates took part in thousands of visual tests, so the psychologists could study their responses. A significant number of the trials took place in the university's brain imaging scanner using fMRI, which allowed the scientists to observe areas of the brain during testing.

Ashby and his research team found that tasks with explicit reasoning behind them were much simpler for test subjects.

"When you can't explain the reasoning, it takes test subjects about 10 times as many trials to master," Ashby said.hese areas without explicit reasoning are grasped in a lower part of the brain, the basal ganglia.

"It is similar to the fact that you can't explain what your fingers are doing when you are playing the piano."

However, he went on to explain that once a behavior becomes automatic, it becomes cortical.

"Automatic behaviors are stored in similar ways, in the frontal cortex, regardless which system of the brain learned it first," Ashby added.

The study has been published in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. (ANI)

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