Contextual Interference in Learning New Patterns of Bimanual Coordination
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Two experiments are reported in which the question of whether or not contextual interference effects are found in motor tasks that require the acquisition of new coordination patterns was examined. Participants (N = 18, Experiment 1; N = 12, Experiment 2) practiced 3 novel bimanual patterns (45 degrees , 90 degrees , and 135 degrees relative phase) in either a random or a blocked order. No statistically significant acquisition or retention differences between groups were found when all 3 patterns were practiced on each of 2 days (Experiment 1). When the blocked group practiced 1 pattern on each of 3 acquisition days (Experiment 2), however, typical contextual interference effects were found: The blocked group performed better than the random group in practice, but the random group performed better than the blocked group in a delayed (by I week) retention test. The experiments revealed that contextual interference effects can arise in motor tasks that require the acquisition of new coordination patterns and are not limited to tasks involving novel scaling of a previously existing pattern.
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