Motor learning for the older adults plays an important role in the state of their health and quality of life. Previous studies on motor learning showed the significant benefits of practice variability effects on the long-term learning of motor skill, but not the short-term motor skill performance. Thus, central to the research question was: will, due to aging, the benefits of variable practice scheduling effects are the same for the old adults? Independent variable was the high/low degree of variable practice inherent in the scheduling of either variable practice or blocked variable practice. Experimental task was a three-step ”N” shape relative timing tapping movement patters. Thirty-six older adults participants (mean age=66.9±4.7 years) were randomly assigned to one of the variable, blocked variable, and control groups. Each participant practiced 90 trials that lasted two consecutive days. Ten trials were administered respectively for both immediate and delayed retention tests. Variable error (VE) and Absolute error (AE) were adapted as dependent variables. One-way ANOVA and Tukey's HSD method were utilized for statistical analyses. For motor performance in acquisition phase examinations, VE (p＜.05, ω^2=0.45) and AE (p＜.05, ω^2=0.38) were both statistically different. Post hoc comparisons further showed VE scores of blocked variable practice group was lower than variable practice group, and control group was lower than variable practice group. AE scores of control group were lower than both blocked variable practice and variable practice groups. For immediate retention examinations, VE (p＜.05, ω^2=0.22) and AE (p＜.05, ω^2=0.15) were both statistically different. Post hoc comparisons further indicated AE and VE scores of control group were both lower than variable practice group. It was suggested that relatively high variability practice scheduling is found no effects on motor performance and its immediate retention in both stability and accuracy of older adults.
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|