The whole body changes while learning new skills of movement

In a new study, Prof. Aldo Faisal and Drs. Shlumi Khar in Imperial’s Brain and Behavior Laboratory have taken neuroscience in the real world. With pool billiards, scientists analyzed total body movement during motor study.

The study demonstrated the involvement of the whole body in the learning process and identified the critical joint movement for learning.

In particular, scientists used wearables for naturalistic full-body movement-tracking and the sport of pool billiards to frame a real-world skill learning experiment.

They placed sensors over the bodies of 30 people who had learned to play billiards for the first time. The sensors recorded the limbs and movements of the torso, and their data were uploaded to a computer for analysis.

The sensors data helped scientists reconstruct the movement of the full skeleton like an avatar. This also enabled accurate analysis of the movement in each joint and the holistic, or whole body movement.

When they measured whole body movements, they discovered that learning happens from head to toe: although the main movement was in the arm’s elbow that held the cue stick, as it was to be expected with pool, the whole body changed And improved his motor learning. The data-driven approach to neuroscience adds more detail to what we think about motor learning, and show an experience in whole body.

Chief Researcher Professor Aldo Faisal from the Departments of Computing and Bioengineering said “Learning pool does not require existing technical expertise, so it was a good way to measure how humans learn a new skill. We found that when you learn a new skillful skill, every part of the body learns.”

However, the point should be noted that learning mechanisms differ from person to person; Each person learns the motor control differently. Of the 30 participants completing the same task, two types of learners use different learning mechanisms.

Professor Faisal said: “Each of the participants had a predominant learning method. Only once we introduce subjects with the complexity of the real world, we see that each person is different and see what different mechanisms come out. “

Understanding how learning between the joints and the whole body has translational potential in rehabilitation learning and sports science.

Co-author Dr. Shlomi Hair of Imperial’s Department of Brain Sciences said: “The real-world approach to neuroscience shows that we do not have to manipulate the world to find what we are looking for. Instead, we can observe the world and extract meaning from people’s movement and brain activity when they perform their real tasks and display free nature. “

“The way the data unfolds tells stories – stories about learning across the body and stories of different learning mechanisms. This demonstrates the value of testing in the real world.”

Journal Reference:
  1. Haar, S., van Assel, CM & Faisal, AA motor learning in real-world pool billiards. Sci Rep 10, 20046 (2020). Doi: 10.1038 / s41598-020-76805-9

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