Optimizing generalized motor program and parameter learning. Academic Article uri icon


  • Two experiments examined generalized motor program (GMP) and parameter learning. Experiment 1 examined the effects of bandwidth knowledge of results (KR) about relative timing in constant and variable practice. The purpose was to determine if movement stability created by the bandwidth manipulation is associated with increased GMP learning and if bandwidth KR interacts with constant and variable practice. Participants were asked to depress four keys sequentially, using the same relative timing structure. Constant practice had one absolute timing requirement, whereas variable practice had three different absolute timing requirements. The results indicated that GMP learning was enhanced by constant practice (independent of the bandwidth KR condition) and by bandwidth KR, when variable practice was used. The findings suggest practice conditions (bandwidth KR, constant practice) that increase movement stability during practice enhance GMP learning. Parameter learning (during transfer), however, was enhanced by variable practice. Experiment 2 attempted to determine how constant and variable practice conditions could be combined to enhance both GMP and parameter learning. The results indicated that developing a stable GMP early in practice--by providing learners with constant practice early in practice--and refining parameter learning later in practice--by providing them with variable practice late in practice--were effective for both GMP and parameter learning. This suggests a hierarchy in the development of programmed actions with a stable GMP being a requisite for developing an effective and stable parameter rule.

published proceedings

  • Res Q Exerc Sport

author list (cited authors)

  • Lai, Q., Shea, C. H., Wulf, G., & Wright, D. L.

citation count

  • 105

complete list of authors

  • Lai, Q||Shea, CH||Wulf, G||Wright, DL

publication date

  • March 2000