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J Mot Behav. 1998 Jun;30(2):180-92. doi: 10.1080/00222899809601335.

Frequent feedback enhances complex motor skill learning.

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Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research Munich.


Feedback frequency effects on the learning of a complex motor skill, the production of slalom-type movements on a ski-simulator, were examined. In Experiment 1, a movement feature that characterizes expert performance was identified. Participants (N = 8) practiced the task for 6 days. Significant changes across practice were found for movement amplitude and relative force onset. Relative force onset is considered a measure of movement efficiency; relatively late force onsets characterize expert performance. In Experiment 2, different groups of participants (N = 27) were given concurrent feedback about force onset on either 100% or 50% of the practice trials; a control group was given no feedback. The following hypothesis was tested: Contrary to previous findings concerning relatively simple tasks, for the learning of a complex task such as the one used here, a high relative feedback frequency (100%) is more beneficial for learning than a reduced feedback frequency (50%). Participants practiced the task on 2 consecutive days and performed a retention test without feedback on Day 3. The 100% feedback group demonstrated later relative force onsets than the control group in retention; the 50% feedback group showed intermediate performance. The results provide support for the notion that high feedback frequencies are beneficial for the learning of complex motor skills, at least until a certain level of expertise is achieved. That finding suggests that there may be an interaction between task difficulty and feedback frequency similar to the interaction found in the summary-KR literature.


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