Snoddy (1926) revisited: Time scales of motor learning

Shannon M. Stratton, Yeou Teh Liu, Lee Hong Siang, Gottfried Mayer-Kress, Karl M. Newell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The authors investigated the time scales of the learning of a mirror-tracing task to reexamine G. S. Snoddy's (1926) original claim and the received theoretical view (A. Newell & P. S. Rosenbloom, 1981) that motor learning follows a power law. Adult participants (N = 16) learned the tracing task in either a normal or a reversed visual-image condition over 5 consecutive days of practice and then performed 1 day of practice 1 week later and again 1 month later. The reversed-image group's performance was poorer than that of the normal-image group throughout the practice. An exponential was the best fitting function on individual data, but the power-law function was the best fit on the group-averaged data. The findings provided preliminary evidence that 2 characteristic time scales, (a) fast, dominated by warm-up, and (b) slow, dominated by persistent change, capture individuals' performance in the learning of the mirror-tracing task.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-515
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Motor Behavior
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Nov


  • Exponential
  • Mirror tracing
  • Motor learning
  • Power law
  • Time scales

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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