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.
Suzete Chiviacowsky and Ricardo Drews
Priscila Lopes Cardozo and Suzete Chiviacowsky
Several studies have demonstrated the detrimental effects of stereotype threat on the performance of academic and motor skills, while little attention has been given to the effects of stereotypical conditions on motor learning. The objective of the current study was to investigate the effects of overweight stereotype threat on women learning a balance task. Participants practiced 10 trials of a dynamic balance task and their learning was observed in a retention test one day later. Before practice, the stereotype threat (ST) group received instructions introducing the task as influenced by individual differences, whereby overweight people usually present worse outcomes. For the reduced stereotype threat group (RST), instructions informed them that the task was not influenced by individual differences. Participants also filled out a questionnaire measuring intrinsic motivation. The results showed that performance and learning, as well as perceived competence, were enhanced for participants of the RST group compared with participants of the ST group. The findings provide evidence that overweight stereotype threat affects the learning of motor skills.
Suzete Chiviacowsky and Helena Thofehrn Lessa
Granting learners autonomy over certain aspects of the practice context—for example, by providing them with the opportunity to choose when to receive augmented feedback or observe a model—has been consistently shown to facilitate the acquisition of motor skills in several populations. However, studies investigating the provision of autonomy support to older adults remain scarce. The purpose of the present experiment was to investigate the effects of providing choice over feedback on motor learning in older adults. Participants were divided into two groups, choice and no-choice, and practiced 36 trials of a linear positioning task. Before each block of six trials, participants from the choice group were given the choice to control, or not, when to receive feedback in the block. No-choice group participants received feedback according to the same schedule as their choice group counterparts, but they could not choose when to receive it. Two days later, participants of both groups performed retention and transfer tests. The choice group demonstrated lower absolute error scores during transfer compared with the no-choice group. The findings reinforce outcomes of previous autonomy support studies and provide the first evidence that choice over feedback can enhance the learning of motor skills in older adults.
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.