Thursday, 16 February 2012

Learning a coordinated rhythmic movement with task-appropriate coordination feedback

Augmented feedback is crucial for learning in coordination tasks. This is because the inherent feedback is not often perceptually accessible if the rhythm is not 0° or 180° and must be learnt. It could be argued that some methods of augmented feedback used in learning 90° transform the task from a coordination one and so any data collected may not actually measure the learning of coordination. Therefore this paper looks at using a neutral colour cue as an augmented feedback technique so this does not occur. A green colour indicates to the participant that they are achieving the correct rhythm. This method has been developed because:
1. The relative motions involved are entirely independent of colour
2. Colour has no effect on movement stability in a coordinated rhythmic movement task
Therefore this method of feedback can drive learning without altering the informational content of the task - and it is more likely performance that the study is supposed to be measuring is actually being measured.

There were two groups:
1: 5 participants receiving the colour cue feedback
2: 5 participants receiving no feedback

The groups were balanced down to participants' baseline performance at 90°.

The neutral colour cue was successful when used as the augmented feedback system. Improvement only occured in the group that received the feedback - these participants significantly improved their ability to maintain a 90° rhythm. This did not generalise to 0° or 180° which are stable rhythms and so should not require feedback to achieve, further supporting the use of the neutral colour cue.

This study makes the point that the perception task should be the critically important component in learning the 90° rhythm. The colour cue feedback mechanism was developed in order to make this the case. Using this method, the information processed by the participant is not altered from being visual. This means that the results are more likely to be measuring learning coordination through visual perception rather than transforming the information available for learning to take place.


WILSON, A. D., SNAPP-CHILDS, W., COATS, R. & BINGHAM, G. P. 2010. Learning a coordinated rhythmic movement with task-appropriate coordination feedback. Exp Brain Res, 205, 513-20.

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