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Cognitive Processes Underlying Observational Learning of Motor Skills

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There is evidence indicating that an individual can learn a motor skill by observing a model practising it. In the present study we wanted to determine whether observation would permit one to learn the relative timing pattern required to perform a new motor skill. Also, we wanted to determine the joint effects of observation and of physical practice on the learning of that relative timing pattern. Finally, we were interested in finding whether there was an optimal type of model, advanced or beginner, which would lead better to observational learning. Data from two experiments indicated that observation of either a beginner or an advanced model resulted in modest learning of a constrained relative timing pattern. Observation also resulted in significant parameterization learning. However, a combination of observation followed by physical practice resulted in significant learning of the constrained relative timing pattern. These results suggest that observation engages one in cognitive processes similar to those occurring during physical practice.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/713755856

Publication date: November 1, 1999

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