The acquisition of movement skills: Practice enhances the dynamic stability of bimanual coordination

Smethurst, Christopher J. and Carson, Richard G. (2001) The acquisition of movement skills: Practice enhances the dynamic stability of bimanual coordination. Human Movement Science, 20 4-5: 499-529. doi:10.1016/S0167-9457(01)00065-3

Author Smethurst, Christopher J.
Carson, Richard G.
Title The acquisition of movement skills: Practice enhances the dynamic stability of bimanual coordination
Journal name Human Movement Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0167-9457
Publication date 2001-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/S0167-9457(01)00065-3
Volume 20
Issue 4-5
Start page 499
End page 529
Total pages 31
Editor P. J. Beek
P. C. W. van Wieringen
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2001
Language eng
Subject C1
321403 Motor Control
730104 Nervous system and disorders
Abstract During bimanual movements, two relatively stable inherent patterns of coordination (in-phase and anti-phase) are displayed (e.g., Kelso, Am. J. Physiol. 246 (1984) R1000). Recent research has shown that new patterns of coordination can be learned. For example, following practice a 90 degrees out-of-phase pattern can emerge as an additional, relatively stable, state (e.g., Zanone & Kelso, J. Exp. Psychol.: Human Performance and Perception 18 (1992) 403). On this basis, it has been concluded that practice leads to the evolution and stabilisation of the newly learned pattern and that this process of learning changes the entire attractor layout of the dynamic system. A general feature of such research has been to observe the changes of the targeted pattern's stability characteristics during training at a single movement frequency. The present study was designed to examine how practice affects the maintenance of a coordinated pattern as the movement frequency is scaled. Eleven volunteers were asked to perform a bimanual forearm pronation-supination task. Time to transition onset was used as an index of the subjects' ability to maintain two symmetrically opposite coordinated patterns (target task - 90 degrees out-of-phase - transfer task - 270 degrees out-of-phase). Their ability to maintain the target task and the transfer task were examined again after five practice sessions each consisting of 15 trials of only the 90 degrees out-of-phase pattern. Concurrent performance feedback (a Lissajous figure) was available to the participants during each practice trial. A comparison of the time to transition onset showed that the target task was more stable after practice (p = 0.025). These changes were still observed one week (p = 0.05) and two months (p = 0.075) after the practice period. Changes in the stability of the transfer task were not observed until two months after practice (p = 0.025). Notably, following practice, transitions from the 90 degrees pattern were generally to the anti-phase (180 degrees) pattern, whereas, transitions from the 270 degrees pattern were to the 90 degrees pattern. These results suggest that practice does improve the stability of a 90 degrees pattern, and that such improvements are transferable to the performance of the unpractised 270 degrees pattern. In addition, the anti-phase pattern remained more stable than the practised 90 degrees pattern throughout. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Keyword Neurosciences
Sport Sciences
Psychology, Experimental
Skill Acquisition
Learned Patterns
Interlimb Coordination
Rhythmic Coordination
Synergetic Theory
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 24 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 25 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 14 Aug 2007, 15:45:03 EST