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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.
Raveh, E., Portnoy, S., & Friedman, J. (2018). Adding vibrotactile feedback to a myoelectric-controlled hand improves performance when online visual feedback is disturbed. Hum Mov Sci, 58, 32–40.
Abstract: We investigated whether adding vibrotactile feedback to a myoelectric-controlled hand, when visual feedback is disturbed, can improve performance during a functional test. For this purpose, able-bodied subjects, activating a myoelectric-controlled hand attached to their right hand performed the modified Box & Blocks test, grasping and manipulating wooden blocks over a partition. This was performed in 3 conditions, using a repeated-measures design: in full light, in a dark room where visual feedback was disturbed and no auditory feedback – one time with the addition of tactile feedback provided during object grasping and manipulation, and one time without any tactile feedback. The average time needed to transfer one block was measured, and an infrared camera was used to give information on the number of grasping errors during performance of the test. Our results show that when vibrotactile feedback was provided, performance time was reduced significantly, compared with when no vibrotactile feedback was available. Furthermore, the accuracy of grasping and manipulation was improved, reflected by significantly fewer errors during test performance. In conclusion, adding vibrotactile feedback to a myoelectric-controlled hand has positive effects on functional performance when visual feedback is disturbed. This may have applications to current myoelectric-controlled hands, as adding tactile feedback may help prosthesis users to improve their functional ability during daily life activities in different environments, particularly when limited visual feedback is available or desirable.