Arohi Saxena

Exploring the Relationship between Feedback and Use-Dependent Learning

Use-dependent learning is a motor learning process that is thought to arise from the repetition of a specific movement pattern. Use-dependent learning is thought to underlie the refinement of motor skills, such that well-practiced actions become more accurate and consistent (the practice makes perfect phenomenon); however, this learning process also comes at the cost of biasing subsequent actions to be more similar to practiced ones. It was initially assumed that pure repetition of a movement was the only necessary condition to drive use-dependent learning, however recent studies suggest that some form of feedback may be required to cause this learning. I am interested in examining the interaction between use-dependent learning and learning processes that involve feedback in the form of errors or rewards. For this project, I will use reaching tasks to determine whether use-dependent learning is contingent upon repetition alone or is influenced by performance-related feedback.

Message to Sponsor

Dear Pergo Fund, thank you so much for your generous donation and for allowing me to spend my summer doing research. Through this experience, I was able to develop my skills as a researcher and gain new knowledge about the process of designing an experiment and analyzing the results. Seeing my project develop from an idea into tangible results was extremely rewarding, and I learned something new during every step of the process. This fellowship has made me a more confident and productive member of my lab, and I'm excited to keep working on these experiments during the school year. In the future, whether I pursue a career as a researcher or a physician, I know that I will be able to apply the lessons that I learned from this summer.
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Sponsor: Pergo L&S
  • Mentor: Richard Ivry