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Mark Mon-Williams, Rachael Raw, Richard Allen, Richard Wilkie; Does better performance mean better learning in visuomotor tasks?. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):743. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.743.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Introduction: Is there a direct relationship between poor visuomotor performance and impaired sequence learning? One index of reduced performance is increased movement duration caused by the necessity for visual feedback error correction. Visual feedback correction mechanisms use cognitive resources, thus we conjectured that working memory capacity will be reached more quickly when sequence elements require more visual correction. Methods: Specialist software presented visual stimuli and recorded movement kinematics. Participants learned a sequence of movements made between a central target and one of eight target locations shown on a tablet PC screen. Experiment 1 explored visuomotor performance and error corrections in younger and older adults in an aiming movement task. Experiment 2 studied visuomotor learning of a sequence of aiming movements in these populations. Experiment 3 tested the visuomotor sequence learning in younger and older participants when using their preferred and non-preferred hands. Results: Experiment 1 confirmed reduced visuomotor performance in older adults, and the older adults exhibited greater visual error corrections when carrying out the aiming task with no learning requirements. Experiment 2 found that older adults were poorer at learning the complex sequence of aiming movements. Experiment 3 showed that both age groups were worse at sequence learning when using their non-preferred hand. Conclusions: Our results suggest reduced visuomotor performance can impact negatively on the processes necessary for learning new sequences beyond the limits imposed by an individual’s cognitive capacity. We have developed a formal model that predicts the number of elements learned as a function of visuomotor skill level. While the present work examined some of the deficits associated with old age, the findings also have implications for other groups that experience visuomotor deficits (e.g. developmental coordination disorder).
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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