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Central Park Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, New York, USA
Abstract:   (180 Views)


  • The transfer of learning to new skills is a key attribute of the motor system.
  • The commonalities between tasks plays an important role in transfer.
  • Bimanual tasks that share common elements should produce positive bimanual transfer.
  • Unilateral tasks that share common elements should produce positive unilateral transfer.

Background:  The transfer of motor skills is one of the central topics in motor behavior and speaks to the effects of learned motor skills on learning or performing other skills.
The purpose of this investigation was to examine the transfer of skillful fine or moderately-fine movements to novel tasks requiring similar movements. 
Methods: The study involved 43 undergraduate university students in three groups: university musicians, athletes and a control cohort.  Two novel motor tasks were performed that required either fine hand movements (pursuit rotor task), or moderately-fine arm movements (underhand dart throw task).
Results: For the fine motor task, musicians performed better than the athletes and the control (p<0.05), but did not demonstrate less movement asymmetry than the other groups, as hypothesized (p>0.05).  For the moderately-fine task, the athletes performed better than the other two groups (p<0.05), and in particular, with the dominant arm (p<0.05), as hypothesized.
Conclusion: A lack of shared elements between musical instrument playing skills and the novel fine motor task likely contributed to the relatively low levels of performance with the musicians.  Conversely, the presence of more shared elements between sports throwing skills and the novel moderately-fine task likely contributed to greater levels of performance by the athletes.

Type of Study: Original Article | Subject: 2. Motor control
Received: 2021/10/5 | Accepted: 2022/04/20 | Published: 2022/05/5

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