Developing a new experimental system for an undergraduate laboratory exercise to teach theories of visuomotor learning

Shoko Kasuga, Junichi Ushiba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Humans have a flexible motor ability to adapt their movements to changes in the internal/external environment. For example, using arm-reaching tasks, a number of studies experimentally showed that participants adapt to a novel visuomotor environment. These results helped develop computational models of motor learning implemented in the central nervous system. Despite the importance of such experimental paradigms for exploring the mechanisms of motor learning, because of the cost and preparation time, most students are unable to participate in such experiments. Therefore, in the current study, to help students better understand motor learning theories, we developed a simple finger-reaching experimental system using commonly used laptop PC components with an open-source programming language (Processing Motor Learning Toolkit: PMLT). We found that compared to a commercially available robotic arm-reaching device, our PMLT accomplished similar learning goals (difference in the error reduction between the devices, P = 0.10). In addition, consistent with previous reports from visuomotor learning studies, the participants showed after-effects indicating an adaptation of the motor learning system. The results suggest that PMLT can serve as a new experimental system for an undergraduate laboratory exercise of motor learning theories with minimal time and cost for instructors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A1-A7
JournalJournal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education
Volume13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Learning
Exercise
learning
learning theory
programming language
Students
Programming Languages
costs
PC
Costs and Cost Analysis
Equipment and Supplies
Aptitude
instructor
Robotics
student
paradigm
Fingers
Arm
Central Nervous System
experiment

Keywords

  • Error-based learning
  • Implicit learning mechanism
  • Processing
  • Reaching movement
  • Visuomotor rotation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

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