Outreach posts tagged as demonstrations

Do your movements have a “mind” of their own? When watching leads to unintended doing


ImageMany movements we perform on a daily basis are preplanned in our brains well before we intend to execute them. For example, when a sprinter takes the blocks in a race, they have a very good idea of what movements they need to produce when the starting signal is heard. If this starting sound is above a certain level (124 dB) it may elicit what is called a startle response.

Mixing it up a little: Benefits of interspersing demonstrations with physical practice


Should we spend all of our practice time physically attempting skills, or is it good to intersperse our practice attempts watching someone else? In this study we required learners to practice aiming movements in a novel environment where they had to learn new relations between actions and visual outcomes. We showed that MIXED practice (in this case 25% physical practice, 75% observing) facilitated both strategy learning as well as a more robust measure of implicit (automatic) motor-learning, in comparison to either method alone.

Observing leads to a different type of learning than acting, being more verbal and strategic


If someone informed you that learning a skill through demonstration was no different from learning by physically performing the skill itself, your first reaction to this news might be suspicion and/or disbelief. However, this piece of information would seem more plausible if you were aware of developments in neurophysiology pertaining to the discovery of “mirror neurons”, first in macaque monkeys then subsequently in the human brain.

It’s not enough just to feel or see what’s correct, you need to 'actively' experience


ImageHave you ever wondered how effective it is to physically guide a person through an action? In sports, the instructor might hold a person's arm to show them how to hit a golf ball or strike a volleyball serve. In rehabilitation, robotic devices are used to guide a person's limb for therapy purposes. What we and others have shown is that this technique is useful when applied, but that it compromises learning once it is removed. In this study, people practised a novel, two limb coordination movement.