Optimizing the Control of High Index of Difficulty Movements: The Role of the Tracking Template

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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  • 1 University of Texas at El Paso
  • 2 Texas A&M University
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An experiment by Boyle, Kennedy, and Shea (2012) demonstrated that practice tracking a template created from a sine wave results in enhanced performance and transfer on a reciprocal aiming task with an index of difficulty (ID) of 6. An experiment was conducted to determine whether tracking a template constructed from recorded participants' performance with ID = 6 would provide the same benefit. Participants were assigned to one of four groups (Fitts–master, Fitts–yoked, sine–master, and sine–yoked). After acquisition, visual templates were constructed for the Fitts–yoked and sine–yoked conditions. The templates were generated from the unique displacement data of the Fitts– and sine–master participants. These made up the training template for the Fitts– and sine–yoked participants. After acquisition, all participants were asked to perform test trials under their respective acquisition conditions (Test 1) and test trials under ID = 6 reciprocal aiming conditions (Test 2). Results indicated faster movement times in the sine-wave training groups on Test 2 than in both Fitts groups. These results indicate that the presentation of a tracking template can result in lower dwell times in the Fitts–yoked pairing on Test 2. However, the findings indicate the need to use templates that guide the movement in a way that promotes an equal acceleration–deceleration profile paired with smooth target reversal.

Jason B. Boyle is with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX. Deanna M. Kennedy, Chaoyi Wang, and Charles Shea are with the Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX. Chaoyi Wang is now at Shenzhen University, China.

Address author correspondence to Charles Shea at cshea@tamu.edu.