Body movement instructions facilitate synergy level motor learning, retention and transfer

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2 Scopus citations


Prior work has suggested that the findings of research on attentional focus during human motor learning research generalize to the use of instructions regarding body movement. However, research on focus of attention has generally not included the use of instructions that prescribe body movement. The present study examined the effect of instructions regarding body movement or movement outcome in a motor task that principally relied upon the organization of an effective movement pattern, with little demand to adapt the movement to environmental task constraints. The use of instructions for efficient body movement produced an improvement in a seated turning range-of-motion task within the first 5 movement trials. This improvement was retained 24. h later and transferred across sitting positions. The instructions to optimize the movement outcome improved the turning range-of-motion significantly on the post-test but not on the retention or transfer tests. These findings indicate that instructions regarding movement form can be more advantageous than instructions regarding movement outcome in a task that relies upon the organization of an effective movement pattern with little demand to adapt this pattern to environmental constraints of the task. The results are interpreted with respect to task constraints and Bernstein's (1996) hierarchy of control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-166
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012



  • Attention
  • Constraints
  • Hierarchical control
  • Movement instructions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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