Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Learning a coordinated rhythmic movement with task appropriate coordination feedback

The aim of the study was to find out whether feedback aided individuals ability to correctly coordinate a specific rhythmic movement task. This task involved participants doing a coordinated rhythmic movement at 90˚ mean relative phase. Previous studies have suggested that individuals are able to produce 0˚ and 180˚ movement patterns without training; however 90˚ is a lot more difficult without the aid of feedback or training. Therefore the study measured whether the participants were to successfully learn a novel task both with feedback and without feedback.
10 participants were split into two groups of five individuals. Both groups had the same amount of time to complete the training under two conditions: group 1 (“Feedback”), received feedback during training, whereas group 2 (“Control”) received no feedback during their training. Both groups initially received a baseline assessment session where they viewed a demonstration of the relative movement of 90˚ on a computer screen which they then had 20 seconds to repeat the viewed movement, five times. A computer controlled dot and a metronome was used as a reference point for the individual to produce their movement.
Five later sessions involved the participants receiving training either using feedback for the “Feedback” group or no feedback for the “Control” group. Feedback included the same procedure as the bassline session but participants now had a green coloured dot which indicated that the individual was creating a coordinated movement of 90˚± mean relative phase. As training sessions progressed the error bandwidth decreased from 40˚ then 30˚, 20˚, 15˚ and finally 10˚±, therefore whilst the first training session triggered a green dot while the individual was moving between 50˚ and 130˚ the fifth training session triggered a green dot when the individual was moving between 80˚ and 100˚. The decrease in bandwidth would aim to promote an improvement in coordinated movement at 90˚ after each session. The “Control” group did the same amount of trials but received no such feedback.
The results found that participants who received feedback were significantly better at maintaining a 90˚ movement for longer periods of time than the control group, whereas the control group did not show any improvement whilst doing the same post-training session.
The results therefore show that feedback is vital to learning a new task as the control group were unable to complete the movement task at the same level as the feedback group even though they received the same amount of time to practice the movement as the feedback group.


  1. Did the feedback group carry out a non-feedback trial to determine the amount of retention gained? Or were participants solely dependent on the feedback?

  2. Good summary; slightly more methodological detail than you need (the demo isn't critical, for example), and a few typos.

    The paragraphs starting 'Five later sessions' needs a good rewrite, though. It needs some reorganisation to bring out the key points. It's all there, but you've buried the lead a bit.