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Zacks, O., & Friedman, J. (2020). Analogies can speed up the motor learning process. Sci Rep, 10(1), 6932.
Abstract: Analogies have been shown to improve motor learning in various tasks and settings. In this study we tested whether applying analogies can shorten the motor learning process and induce insight and skill improvement in tasks that usually demand many hours of practice. Kinematic measures were used to quantify participant's skill and learning dynamics. For this purpose, we used a drawing task, in which subjects drew lines to connect dots, and a mirror game, in which subjects tracked a moving stimulus. After establishing a baseline, subjects were given an analogy, explicit instructions or no further instruction. We compared their improvement in skill (quantified by coarticulation or smoothness), accuracy and movement duration. Subjects in the analogy and explicit groups improved their coarticulation in the target task, while significant differences were found in the mirror game only at a slow movement frequency between analogy and controls.We conclude that a verbal analogy can be a useful tool for rapidly changing motor kinematics and movement strategy in some circumstances, although in the tasks selected it did not produce better performance in most measurements than explicit guidance. Furthermore, we observed that different movement facets may improve independently from others, and may be selectively affected by verbal instructions. These results suggest an important role for the type of instruction in motor learning.
Krasovsky, T., Weiss, P. L., Zuckerman, O., Bar, A., Keren-Capelovitch, T., & Friedman, J. (2020). DataSpoon: Validation of an Instrumented Spoon for Assessment of Self-Feeding. Sensors (Basel), 20(7).
Abstract: Clinically feasible assessment of self-feeding is important for adults and children with motor impairments such as stroke or cerebral palsy. However, no validated assessment tool for self-feeding kinematics exists. This work presents an initial validation of an instrumented spoon (DataSpoon) developed as an evaluation tool for self-feeding kinematics. Ten young, healthy adults (three male; age 27.2 +/- 6.6 years) used DataSpoon at three movement speeds (slow, comfortable, fast) and with three different grips: “natural”, power and rotated power grip. Movement kinematics were recorded concurrently using DataSpoon and a magnetic motion capture system (trakSTAR). Eating events were automatically identified for both systems and kinematic measures were extracted from yaw, pitch and roll (YPR) data as well as from acceleration and tangential velocity profiles. Two-way, mixed model Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) and 95% limits of agreement (LOA) were computed to determine agreement between the systems for each kinematic variable. Most variables demonstrated fair to excellent agreement. Agreement for measures of duration, pitch and roll exceeded 0.8 (excellent agreement) for >80% of speed and grip conditions, whereas lower agreement (ICC < 0.46) was measured for tangential velocity and acceleration. A bias of 0.01-0.07 s (95% LOA [-0.54, 0.53] to [-0.63, 0.48]) was calculated for measures of duration. DataSpoon enables automatic detection of self-feeding using simple, affordable movement sensors. Using movement kinematics, variables associated with self-feeding can be identified and aid clinical reasoning for adults and children with motor impairments.