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Perceptual learning immediately yields new stable motor coordination

By A.D. Wilson, W. Snapp-Childs and G.P. Bingham


Coordinated rhythmic movement is specifically structured in humans. Movement at 0° mean relative phase is maximally stable, 180° is less stable, and other coordinations can, but must be learned. Variations in perceptual ability play a key role in determining the observed stabilities, so we investigated whether stable movements can be acquired by improving perceptual ability. We assessed movement stability in Baseline, Post Training and Retention sessions by having participants use a joystick to coordinate the movement of two dots on a screen at three relative phases. Perceptual ability was also assessed using a 2-alternative forced choice task in which participants identified a target phase of 90° in a pair of displays. Participants then trained with progressively harder perceptual discriminations around 90°, with feedback. Improved perceptual discrimination of 90° led to improved performance in the movement task at 90° with no training in the movement task. The improvement persisted until Retention without further exposure to either task. A control group’s movement stability did not improve. Movement stability is a function of perceptual ability, and information is an integral part of the organization of this dynamical system

Publisher: American Psychological Association
Year: 2010
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