Cognitive-Motor Skills

Kenneth M. Heilman

in Matter of Mind

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195144901
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199865642 | DOI:
 Cognitive-Motor Skills

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This chapter discusses the brain mechanisms that underlie cognitive motor skills. Topics covered include movement memories or representations, praxis and handedness, and mechanical knowledge. To perform skilled acts (praxis), people need movement programs and mechanical knowledge. Movement, or praxis, programs are the instructions given to the nerves that control the limbs. These programs instruct the muscles about what joint or joints to move, in which direction, at what time, with what speed, and with how much force. Studies of patients with hemispheric injuries provide evidence for left hemisphere praxis dominance in right-handed people and right hemisphere praxis dominance in left-handed people. Studies also demonstrate that mechanical knowledge is stored independently of other forms of knowledge, such as movement programs and language.

Keywords: movement memories; praxis; handedness; mechanical knowledge; motor skills; skilled acts; apraxia

Chapter.  7139 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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