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PSYC 2210
Tony Neild

Chapter 13: Learning Motor Skills motor skills are an essential ingredient for all types of learned behaviours scientists have used a variety of strategies to study motor skill learning and we can group them into three categories that parallel the major approaches to learning in general- behavioural, physiological, and cognitive approaches The variety of Motor Skills one obvious characteristic of moving is duration some motor skills are called discrete because they are completed shortly after they have begun (ex: pressing a stopwatch) others are called continuous because they extend for an indefinitely long period of time (balancing) most continuous movements can be called closed-loop- movements because the individual continually receives and can react to feedback about whether the movement is proceeding correctly (ex: balancing on a log, if you feel yourself tipping to the right, you compensate by shifting to the left) most discrete movements occur so rapidly that a person has no time to react to any possible error, these are called open-loop movements and they are characterized by the fact that once the movement begins, it is too late to make any corrections one further difference among motor skills is that some require the exact same movement every time, while others demand that the movement be modified to suit the situation in studying motor skills researchers often use unusual tasks such as turning a knob 90 degrees in 150 milliseconds, or tracking a dot on a rotating turntable with a pointer these tasks are selected to be representative of a wide range of everyday movements knob turning- discrete open loop, tracking task- continuous closed loop these tasks are selected to be as simple as possible, so that unnecessary complexities will not make the results difficult to interpret since it is unlikely that the subjects have encountered these tasks outside the labratory, the researcher can witness acquisition of a new motor skill Variables Affecting Motor Learning and Performance Reinforcement and Knowledge of Results The Law of Effect and Motor Learning in an experiment by Thorndike, subjects were blind folded and their goal was to draw a line exactly 3 inches long one group received reinforcement for each line whose length was within 1/8 inch of 3 inches (plus or minus); the experimenter would say Right or Wrong the second group experienced no consequences for accurate or inaccurate lines; they had no way of knowing which lines were close to three inches and which were not; these subjects showed no improvement over trials subjects in the reinforcement group group showed a substantial increase in accuracy over trials What Can be Better than Reinforcement? Trowbridge and Cason challenged Thorndike's conclusion that reinforcement is a c crucial variable in the acquisition of a new motor skill they argued that although, saying right after a response might serve as reinforcement in some experiments, but in Thorndike's experiment it was important because it gave important feedback about the accuracy of each response this type of feedback is usually called knowledge of results (KR): feedback given to the learner about how close his or her movement is to the goal in short Throwbridge and Cason proposed that the information provided by the words was what improved the subjects accuracy, not the reinforcing and punishing aspects of the words they repeated Thorndike's experiment, but they used four groups rather than two 2 of their groups were the same as Thorndike's the group that received practice only was called No KR Group, and the group that was told right or wrong was called the Qualitative KR group they also included a Quantitative KR group, which subjects were told the direction and magnitude of each error, to the nearest eighth of an inch (plus or minus) Example: if the the line was 7/8 inch longer, they would say plus 7 the fourth group the Irrelevant KR group received useless feedback after each trial- a meaningless nonsense syllable neither the Irrelevant KR group or the No KR group showed any improvement over trials, while in the Qualitative KR group there was clear improvement , and the Quantiative KR group was vastly superior therefore information not reinforcement was the crucial factor Different Ways to Deliver Knowledge of Results Winstein and Schmidt gave some subjects Quantitative KR after each trial of motor learning experiment, whereas other subjects received quantitative KR on only 67 percent of the trials during the learning phase, the performance of the group that was given constant feedback was slightly better in a test two days later, with no feedback given on any trial, the group that had previously received 67 percent feedback performed better guidance hypothesis of KR (Salmoni, Schmidt, and Walter): KR provides information that helps the subject learn the new motor skill; KR given on every trial provides more guidance than KR given on only a portion of the trials, so performance during the acquisition phase is moreaccurate with 100 percent KR. However, the subject becomes very dependent on this constant KR and cannot perform well in a later test without KR Delaying Knowledge of Results in tasks where the individual usually receives continuous immediate feedback, even small delays in this feedback can produce marked deterioration in performance, in most cases slow positioning tasks: the subject must move a sliding knob or pointer a certain distance with no time limit the know or pointer is usually out of the subjects sight , so the subject must rely on tactile or kinesthetic cues rather than visual cues to explain why performance can be better after delayed KR Swinnen relied on the guidance hypothesis of KR; Immediate KR may help to guide subjects during acquisition, but the subjects become overly dependent on the immediate feedback and never learn to rely on their own senses to estimate the accuracy of their movements Swinnen has shown that if subjects are required to make verbal estimated of their errors , during a delay during acquisition, they perform even better in a later test without KR if they are distracted in the delays, their performance on later tests is impaired The problem with the immediate KR seems to be the same as the problem with getti
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