The brain can get by on less energy when you overlearn a task
Decades of research have shown that superior performance requires practicing beyond the point of mastery.
Whenever we learn to make a new movement, Ahmed explains, we form and then update an internal model—a “sensorimotor map”—which our nervous system uses to predict our muscles’ motions and the resistance they will encounter. As that internal model is refined over time, we’re able to cut down on unnecessary movements and eliminate wasted energy.
Energy expenditures continued to decrease even after the decline in muscle activity had stabilized
even after participants had fine-tuned their muscle movements, the neural processes controlling the movements continued to grow more efficient. The brain uses up energy, too, and through overlearning it can get by on less. These gains in mental efficiency free up resources for other tasks:
Less effort in one domain means more energy available to others.