Complex motor skill often consists of a fixed sequence of movements. Recent studies show that a stereotyped temporal pattern or rhythm emerges as we learn to perform a motor sequence. This is because the sequence is reorganized during learning as serial chunks of movements in both a sequence- specific and subject-specific manner. On the basis of human imaging studies we propose that the formation of chunk patterns is controlled by the cerebellum, its posterior and anterior lobes contributing, respectively, to the temporal patterns before and after chunk formation. The motor rhythm can assist the motor networks in the cerebral cortex to control automatic movements within chunks and the cognitive networks to control non-automatic movements between chunks, respectively. In this way, organized motor skill can be performed automatically and flexibly.
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