Muscle memory without the muscle?

 Taylor (@taysand)8 years, 2 months ago

When you physically practice something, (let’s say you’re learning how to do a back flip) you start creating neural pathways that make for better recall the next time you attempt it. I’ve also heard that simply thinking about doing the task (as you would to prepare for physically attempting it) uses the same mental processes in the brain as actually doing it. Assuming this is true, I’m wondering if those “thought practices” open up the same neural pathways to better learn the task for future attempts?

-If it does, how does it compare to physically practicing the task?

-If not, I suspect it is because the body never gets any feedback for the technique when explored through thought alone? How much of a role do the muscles actually play in remembering a physical act?

I don’t even know if black flipping is a good example… If someone has a more fitting example then by all means bring it forth!

April 18, 2013 at 10:31 am
Woodsy (14) (@morningwoods) 8 years, 2 months ago ago

Shooting a basketball would be a better example IMO.

But there was some research done on this idea. I’ll see if i can dig it up.

There is this: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1591-mental-gymnastics-increase-bicep-strength.html

As well as this: http://westallen.typepad.com/brains_on_purpose/files/mind_over_matter_shackell_07.pdf

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Anonymous (14) (@) 8 years, 2 months ago ago

@taysand,
It has been proven to be almost exactly as effective, up to certain points with certain tasks.

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Taylor (152) (@taysand) 8 years, 2 months ago ago

@morningwoods, You’re right, shooting a basketball is a much better example, thanks.

Wow, that’s pretty incredible. Thanks for the reference! One of the comments on that article raises a good question though, how long were those “thought workout” sessions?
Still, this makes me wonder how far this can be taken… I’ll have to do a bit of research myself and test out some theories.

So now you can take a mindful meditation session and turn it into a physical workout. Great for crappy days when you can’t really go outside for anything (especially in minnesota).

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Taylor (152) (@taysand) 8 years, 2 months ago ago

@alruble, Do you know of any specific research tests offhand that had been done like the one above?

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Taylor (152) (@taysand) 8 years, 2 months ago ago

Also, is there a name for this occurrence? I’d like to be able to search for it incase there’s a book about it somewhere.

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Anonymous (14) (@) 8 years, 2 months ago ago

@taysand, There have been a couple of studies following early music students over the years. Those who only visualized their practice maintained a steady following against the ones who used physical practice. There is exponential decay after a certain point though, in favor of the physical practice. Visualization has much to do with learning physical skills in this respect, though true practice is the only way to make your skills excellent.

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Adam (1) (@uuxyz) 8 years, 2 months ago ago

Skateboarding?

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Adam (1) (@uuxyz) 8 years, 2 months ago ago

Cool thought btw

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Taylor (152) (@taysand) 8 years, 2 months ago ago

@uuxyz, yeah dude I would imagine skateboarding being a good example. Like for kickflips and stuff maybe? If you’re up for it, try to learn a new trick with this method! I’d love to hear the results. I wish I could conduct some experiments for different activities with this.

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Taylor (152) (@taysand) 8 years, 2 months ago ago

@alruble, Interesting. So in a way, using thought practices is like an aid in “real” practice. I wonder if using both methods for each practice session doubles the results of gain.. I’ll have to do some digging

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Anonymous (14) (@) 8 years, 2 months ago ago

@taysand, I believe it’s the reason why people who love what they do end up being very good at it. Their thoughts are consumed by it all day – while they’re eating, while they exercise, in their dreams… and, so, their synapses are constantly being strengthened.

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Anonymous (68) (@) 8 years, 2 months ago ago

@taysand, you can but you have to do physical practice, otherwise its useless.

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Taylor (152) (@taysand) 8 years, 2 months ago ago

@alruble, ahh good point, I hadn’t thought of that. That also explains “fake it til you make it”

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