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27-05-2016 | Original Article | Uitgave 4/2017 Open Access

Psychological Research 4/2017

Transposing musical skill: sonification of movement as concurrent augmented feedback enhances learning in a bimanual task

Psychological Research > Uitgave 4/2017
John Dyer, Paul Stapleton, Matthew Rodger
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s00426-016-0775-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


Concurrent feedback provided during acquisition can enhance performance of novel tasks. The ‘guidance hypothesis’ predicts that feedback provision leads to dependence and poor performance in its absence. However, appropriately structured feedback information provided through sound (‘sonification’) may not be subject to this effect. We test this directly using a rhythmic bimanual shape-tracing task in which participants learned to move at a 4:3 timing ratio. Sonification of movement and demonstration was compared to two other learning conditions: (1) Sonification of task demonstration alone and (2) completely silent practice (control). Sonification of movement emerged as the most effective form of practice, reaching significantly lower error scores than control. Sonification of solely the demonstration, which was expected to benefit participants by perceptually unifying task requirements, did not lead to better performance than control. Good performance was maintained by participants in the Sonification condition in an immediate retention test without feedback, indicating that the use of this feedback can overcome the guidance effect. On a 24-h retention test, performance had declined and was equal between groups. We argue that this and similar findings in the feedback literature are best explained by an ecological approach to motor skill learning which places available perceptual information at the highest level of importance.

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