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Suzete Chiviacowsky and Ricardo Drews

In this experiment, we investigated the motivational effects of feedback on motor learning observing the impact of temporal-comparison feedback on the learning of a coincident timing task. Two groups of participants, a positive (PTC) and a negative temporal-comparison group (NTC), received veridical feedback about their accuracy scores after every other practice trial (50%). In addition, after each block of 10 trials, the PTC group was given bogus feedback suggesting that their average performance was better than it was in the previous block, while the NTC group received bogus feedback suggesting that their average performance was worse than it was in the previous block. A retention test was performed one day after the practice phase, without feedback, to observe learning effects. In addition, after the practice phase and before the retention test, all participants filled out questionnaires to report their self-efficacy levels. The results demonstrate that temporal-comparison feedback affects the learning of motor skills. Participants of the PTC group showed greater timing accuracy and reported higher self-efficacy levels than the NTC group on the retention test. The findings further support the important motivational role of feedback for motor learning.

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Ricardo Drews, Suzete Chiviacowsky and Gabriele Wulf

The present study investigated the effects of different ability conceptions on motor skills learning in 6-, 10-, and 14-year-old children. In each age group, different groups were given either inherent-ability or acquirable-skill instructions before they began practicing a throwing task. Participants were blindfolded and were asked to throw beanbags at a target placed on the floor at a distance of 3 m. All participants performed 40 practice trials and received feedback about the accuracy of their throws after each trial. One day after practice, retention and transfer (greater target distance) tests without instructions or feedback were conducted to assess learning effects. Older participants generally had higher accuracy scores than younger participants. Importantly, instructions emphasizing the learnability of the skill resulted in greater throwing accuracy on the retention test than did those implying an underlying inherent ability. On the transfer test, the same effect was seen for the 14-year-olds, but not for the younger age groups, suggesting that adolescents may be more vulnerable to the threat of their inherent ability being exposed. The present findings demonstrate the importance of ability conceptions for motor learning in children and adolescents. They also add to the mounting evidence of motivational influences on motor skill learning.