Investigating the Mechanisms Underlying the Effects of an Incidental Choice on Motor Learning

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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The present study investigated whether motivation and augmented feedback processing explain the effect of an incidental choice on motor learning, and examined whether motivation and feedback processing generally predict learning. Accordingly, participants were assigned to one of two groups, choice or yoked, then asked to practice a nondominant arm beanbag toss. The choice group was allowed to choose the color of the beanbag with which they made the toss, whereas the yoked group was not. Motor learning was determined by delayed-posttest accuracy and precision. Motivation and augmented feedback processing were indexed via the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory and electroencephalography, respectively. We predicted the choice group would exhibit greater motor learning, motivation, and augmented feedback processing, and that the latter two variables would predict learning. Results showed that an incidental choice failed to enhance motor learning, motivation, or augmented feedback processing. In addition, neither motivation nor augmented feedback processing predicted motor learning. However, motivation and augmented feedback processing were correlated, with both factors predicting changes in practice performance. Thus, results suggest the effect of incidental choices on motor learning may be tenuous, and indicate motivation and augmented feedback processing may be more closely linked to changes in practice performance than motor learning.

Grand, Daou, and Miller are with the School of Kinesiology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL. Lohse is with the Dept. of Health, Kinesiology and Recreation, University of Utah.

Please address author correspondence to Matthew Miller at mwm0024@auburn.edu.
Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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