mod1exp - HK 258 00 Foundations of Motor Skill Acquisition...

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HK 258 00 Foundations of Motor Skill Acquisition Spring 2010 Research in Motor Learning and Control -- Module 1 Page 1 of 4 We learn about motor learning and control from several ways. Our goals are twofold. First, we want to be able to understand the learning and performance principles for individuals like us. In other words, how does the typical (average) person learn and control motor skills. We fully realize that a typical person might not be like any person in the world. An example from demography will help us understand this. According to the census from the United States (2010), the average family size is 3.14 people. That means that a lot of families are of the size three and much less are four. However, no family can have a fractional number of people. However, it is useful to discuss the “average” (typical) family. In motor skill learning we can say with confidence that people will improve and we assume learn with practice. We also can say that the more practice a person has the more they will learn. However, how an individual learns often will not follow the performance change that we can plot out for a group of individuals. So, typically performance improves in a steady way with the amount of practice. That does not mean that you or I will follow this average trajectory of improvement. Thus, this first goal of understanding is called an inferential approach. You can think of the inferential approach as involving understanding the aggregate behavior of people, in general, but perhaps not understanding a particular individual. Second, we are interested in the processes that make one person learn and/or perform differently than another person. Thus, we are interested in understanding the differences amongst people. This approach is called individual differences (Schmidt & Wrisberg, 2005), or in general differential psychology.
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