Motor Skill Acquisition, Retention, and Transfer in Adults with Profound Mental Retardation

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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  • 1 Youngdong University
  • | 2 University of Texas, El Paso
  • | 3 Texas Woman’s University
  • | 4 Huston-Tillotson College, Austin
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The purpose was to examine whether adults with profound mental retardation (PMR) have the ability to learn and transfer a motor skill to a novel situation. In Experiment 1, novel task transfer performance was examined. Six male adults with PMR threw beanbags three different distances during acquisition, followed by four novel transfer distances and a novel implement (a horse shoe). In Experiment 2, a 48-hr and a 1-week delayed retention test was used with 6 different males with PMR who practiced three beanbag-throwing distances and then performed two familiar and two novel distances for each retention test. Analyses indicated that, with concurrent visual information of the target, adults with PMR can throw accurately on retention and transfer tests and can generalize beanbag throwing skill to horseshoe-throwing. The prototype model of memory representation seems to explain the findings better than the exemplar model. In addition, random practice of skill variations appears to be an effective teaching strategy.

Seung-oh Choi is with the Department of Physical Education, Youngdong University, Republic of Korea; Harry Meeuwsen <> is with the Kinesiology Program at the University of Texas at El Paso, 1101 N. Campbell Street, El Paso, TX 79902; Ron French and Claudine Sherrill are with the Department of Kinesiology, Texas Woman’s University, Denton, TX 76204; D. Rozena McCabe is with the Department of Physical Education and Recreation at Huston-Tillotson College in Austin, TX 78702.