In "The Talent Code," the author makes this statement:

What's the simplest way to diminish the skills of a superstar talent? The answer: don't let them practice for a month. Causing skill to evaporate...only requires that you stop a skilled person from systematically firing his or her circuit [and continuing to grow myelin] for a mere thirty days.

However, later in the book there is this statement:

Myelin wraps—it doesn't unwrap. Like a highway-paving machine, myelination happens in one direction. Once a skill circuit is insulated, you can't un-insulate it (except through age or disease).

Assuming these are both true, how do they coexist? If a neural circuit is not getting un-insulated in a month of no practice, why can't the performer resume at their previous level of skill?

  • $\begingroup$ Improvement with practice involves both forming new unmyelinated connections and myelinating existing connections. After a long period of not practicing a skill, both myelinated and unmyelinated connections may disappear. Myelinated connections are more stable than unmyelinated connections but they are not immutable. $\endgroup$ – Angela Pretorius Apr 23 '19 at 17:20

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