Motor memory: characteristics and features of development

Every day people use motor skills. Each person has his own style and pace when walking, writing, playing, working.


In psychology, memorization, retention and reproduction of various movements and systems with the help of musculoskeletal, vestibular and motor analyzers are called motor (motor) memory. This is the highest mental function. It optimizes thinking processes. Even when performing the simplest actions, brain structures build up precise algorithm.

This allows you to save time and resources of the body, free up space for new tasks. Actions are performed automatically.

During the day, each person performs a large number of different motor manipulations. Starting any action, whether it is work on the assembly line, swimming or riding a bicycle, an individual must first learn how to do it. At an unconscious level, he fixes in memory the amplitude, direction, speed, duration of movement. Without memorization, it would be necessary to learn them again every time, to master from scratch.

A sign of good motor memory is physical dexterity, dexterity in work. So, playing a musical instrument imprints once learned works in memory. A few years later, after a long pause, the musician picks up an instrument and performs a piece of music without blots. He himself is genuinely surprised that hands remember the smallest details of this composition.


In psychophysiology, the entire process of memorizing and reproducing movements is described in detail. It is based on the activity of the central nervous system. To perform various actions, the activating reticular system (ARS) is triggered in conjunction with motor analyzers.

If a person wants to master the movement, the signal instantly enters the ARS, which resembles a grid and covers all the brain stem structures. There, information is processed, which can be blocked or sent to the cerebral cortex. Suppose, when watching gymnastic exercises, a person wanted to repeat them, but was too lazy to get up from his chair. Not very strong motivation slows down the signal.

Another situation is also possible. The person put on a sports suit in advance, prepared to perform and remember all the exercises. ARS immediately notes the importance of events, sends a signal to the brain.

Then the motor analyzer located in the frontal part of the brain turns on. The preservation of information occurs with the direct involvement of the hippocampus, located in the medial temporal regions. The muscular system and the vestibular apparatus immediately begin to act.

During the exercise, there is a partial memorization of the exercises. With repeated repetition of movements in the future, actions are performed automatically at any speed, since the received signal instantly turns on the same parts of the brain.


Motor memory provides a person with a full existence, promotes the development of coordination of movements, relieves nervous tension and tones the muscles. Its main functions can be traced in everyday life, training and professional activities.

  • A person improves household skills throughout life. Their development begins from infancy. Clear and coordinated actions help the baby to serve himself, perform hygiene procedures, and use cutlery. The process of mastering movements is constant. Sometimes an adult needs to learn how to use a household appliance: a dishwasher, a coffee maker, etc.

If the new technique resembles the previous one, then the old neural connections act, and the person automatically reproduces the necessary movements. An unfamiliar model corrects motor memory, brings it into line with the new instruction.

In Alzheimer’s disease, previously established neural connections are lost. Motor memory stops working, and a person can no longer serve himself.

  • This type of memory is important for the learning process. Motor and speech analyzers are nearby. For a good development of speech and writing, it is necessary to develop fine motor skills of hands in children. Motor memory is activated when embroidering, sewing soft toys, making crafts from natural materials, pasta applications, paintings from cereals, etc. Complexes of physical exercises, rules of team games contribute to the formation of motor memory.

The children’s central nervous system is plastic, so it is easier for a child than for an adult to master movements.

  • It is impossible to master many professions without the use of motor memory. Some specialties require the performance of precise, subtle and complex actions. Electricians, acrobats, stuntmen, dancers are required to constantly improve motor memory, otherwise it is impossible to achieve significant success in professional activities. A person’s life depends on the wrong movement of the hands of other specialists. It is terrible to imagine a surgeon, a sapper, a train driver or a pilot with a bad motor memory.


Developing motor memory is extremely important. Often, motor skills help to preserve the health and life of a person who knows how to properly group himself when falling. In icy conditions, he lands safely, thereby protecting himself from serious injury.

Psychologists cite as an example cases of survival of motorists who find themselves in an extreme situation on the road. There is no time for contemplating a plan of action. The driver automatically turns the steering wheel in the right direction at the sight of a car speeding in the oncoming lane.

It is necessary to pay attention to motor memory from an early age. It is extremely important for a child to develop proper motor skills. There are many games for its development. Preschoolers are encouraged to repeat simple movements for adults. You can blindfold the baby and lead him along a simple route, and then offer to go the same way without a bandage. It is very good to introduce children to games with specific rules: “Find a mate”, “Brook”, “At the bear in the forest”.

As gymnastics for hands, it is good to use knitting, embroidery, drawing, modeling, woodcarving. You can play with family members in the display and playback of movements. At first, one demonstrates some actions, and the partner reproduces them exactly. Then he adds new movements to the picture, which, together with the initial actions, the first player must show by adding the next movement. Loses strayed from the correct playback and forgetting the sequence of actions.

To fix certain movements in memory, you need to repeatedly perform the same action. It is advisable to repeat it at least 100 times. Its correct execution is brought to automatism. The same applies to assignments to change position.

  • Exercise «mushroom — glade» is performed with hands and fingers. Shoulders should not be moved. Only the forearms are involved. One hand, which symbolizes a mushroom, is clenched into a fist and put forward. It is directed upwards. The open palm of the other hand means a clearing that should be placed directly under the fungus. Then quickly a straight palm is transferred to a position above a clenched fist. During the change of one character to another, the pace gradually accelerates.

  • When performing the following exercise, it is proposed to imagine two huge wheels. You need to stretch out your arms and start rotating imaginary wheels in different directions. With one hand, the presented hoop is moved towards itself, with the other hand — away from itself. Then the person performs revolutions in the opposite direction.

The faster the change of direction occurs, the better.

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