Effects of Proactive and Retroactive Augmented Information on Physiological Responses in Learning a Novel Motor Skill
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Previous research has demonstrated superior learning by participants presented with augmented task information retroactively versus proactively (Patterson & Lee, 2008; 2010). Theoretical explanations of these findings are related to the cognitive effort invested by participants during motor skill acquisition. The present study extended previous research by utilizing the physiological index, power spectral analysis of heart rate variability, previously shown to be sensitive to the degree of cognitive effort invested during the performance of a motor task (e.g., increase cognitive effort results in increased LF/HF ratio). Participants were required to learn 18 different key-pressing sequences. As expected, the proactive condition demonstrated superior RS during acquisition, with the retroactive condition demonstrating superior RS during retention. Measures of LF/HF ratio indicated the retroactive participants were investing significantly less cognitive effort in the retention period compared to the proactive participants (p< .05) as a function of learning.