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Psychol Res. 2001;65(1):3-14.

Motor learning enhances perceptual judgment: a case for action-perception transfer.

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT Man-Vehicle Lab, 77 Mass Ave., Bldg. 37-219, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Transfer from perception to action is well documented, for instance in the form of observational learning. Transfer from action to perception, on the other hand, has not been researched. Such action-perception transfer (APT) is compatible with several learning theories and has been predicted within the framework of common coding of perceptual and motor events (Prinz, 1992, 1997). Our first experiment aimed at an empirical evaluation of APT and involved motor practice of timed two-cycle arm movements on verbal command without visual feedback. In a transfer test, visual judgments of similar patterns had to be made. In addition, transfer from the visual to the motor task was studied. In Experiment 2 we separated kinesthetic aspects of motor practice from preparatory and efferent contributions to APT. The experiments provide evidence that transfer between perception and action is bi-directional. Transfer from perception to action and, more importantly, from action to perception was found. Furthermore, APT was equally pronounced for participants who had actively practiced movements during training and for passive participants who had received merely kinesthetic feedback about the movement. This kinesthetic-visual transfer is likely to be achieved via visuomotor-kinesthetic matching or via timekeeping mechanisms that are involved in both motor and visual performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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