The purpose of this study is to determine whether perceptual training can significantly improve an unstable movement, which in this case is 90º.
12 participants (22-54 years old), half of which were assigned to an experimental group and the other to a controlled group. The experimental group participated in training sessions as well as assessment sessions, receiving feedback at the training sessions. The controlled group did three sessions of movement trials, with no feedback or training given. Experimental group took part in up to 14 training sessions (depending on how quickly plateau state of improvement occurred) and three assessment sessions. Each training set became increasingly harder; participants had a maximum of four repetitions to successfully complete each set otherwise they’d progress automatically. This was done to force learning, rather than having the participants carry out, as many trials as they wished to. Training did not involve any extensive practise regarding the movement task itself so learning is solely based on perception.
Judgement data was analysed first to determine whether the experimental group learnt as a result of the extensive training; which was followed by analysis of the movement data. A repeated measures ANOVA test was conducted to find out whether there were significant results regarding the two groups. The analysed judgement data proved to be significant, showing increments of improvement as training progressed, which resulted in an exhibition of perceptual learning. An analysis of the action data displayed improvements with each movement trial, indicating the ability to perform a 90º movement with more stability. The controlled group’s analysed data showed no significant results, which concludes that they were unable to perform 90º with improved movement stability as trials progressed. These results suggest that the experimental group were able to perform the novel movement as a result of perceptual learning, as the results of the training and movement trials correspond well. The controlled group however, was unable to improve, which leads this study to conclude that if extensive perceptual training were provided, the controlled group would have significantly improved their ability to perform 90º.
This study provides a strong notion towards the interrelation between perceptual learning and the ability to perform a coordinated rhythmic movement and encourages more research to be done in this field, in order to uncover other factors that might impede or improve learning as a whole.