What is modelled during observational learning?

MSL research field: 
Skill acquisition
TitleWhat is modelled during observational learning?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsHodges, NJ, Williams, AM, Hayes, SJ, Breslin, G
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Pagination531 - 545
Date Published03/2007
KeywordsAction observation

In this article, we examine the question of what information is processed during observational learning by evaluating a variety of methods, theories, and empirical data. Initially, we review work involving neuroimaging techniques and infant imitation. We then evaluate data from behavioural experiments involving adults, wherein a variety of attempts have been made to isolate the critical or minimal information constraining the acquisition of coordination. This body of research has included comparisons between video and point-light displays, manipulations to the amount and type of information presented in the display, the collection of point-of-gaze data, and manipulations to the task context in terms of outcome goals. We conclude that observational learning is governed by specific features of the model’s action (i.e. motions of the end effector) and the task (i.e. outcome constraints) and, in contrast with traditional theoretical modelling, more global aspects of a model (i.e. the relative motions within and between joints) do not appear to be the primary method for constraining action execution.

Short TitleJournal of Sports Sciences
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