Some Contemporary Issues in Motor Learning

  • Karl M. Newell
  • Rajiv Ranganathan
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 629)

The study of human motor learning has its foundation in the late 19th century and the beginnings of psychology and physiology as independent disciplines of scholarly inquiry. Nevertheless, it took at least another 50 years or more for motor learning to emerge as a recognized subdomain of study that was more than just a parallel to the area of verbal learning in psychology. Subsequently, the more contemporary influences of fields such as computer science, engineering, kinesiology, neuroscience, rehabilitation and robotics to the study of human movement and physical activity have not only further broadened and strengthened the science and applications of motor learning but also brought new ideas to the understanding of the central phenomena, together with their theoretical and practical issues.

The central phenomenon in motor learning is change in behavior over time and the basis for what is often labelled more generally as the acquisition of skill. The definition of motor learning has...


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Motor Learning Task Space Cortical Process Movement Skill 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Adams, J. A. (1987). Historical review and appraisal of research on learning, retention, and transfer of human motor skills. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 41–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, J. R., Fincham, J. M., & Douglass, S. (1999). Practice and retention: A unifying analysis. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 25, 1120–1136.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brashers-Krug, T., Shadmehr, R., & Bizzi, E. (1996). Consolidation in human motor memory. Nature, 382, 252–255.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bryan, W. L., & Harter, N. (1897). Studies in the physiology and psychology of telegraphic language. Psychological Review, 4, 27–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cusumano, J. P., & Cesari, P. (2006). Body-goal variability mapping in an aiming task. Biological Cybernetics, 94, 367–379.Google Scholar
  6. Davids, K., Bennett, S., & Newell, K. (Eds.). (2006). Variability in the movement system: A multidisciplinary perspective. Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics.Google Scholar
  7. Ericsson, K. A., Krampe, R. T., & Tesch-Romer, C. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological Review, 100, 363–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Guthrie, E. R. (1935). The psychology of learning. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  9. Haken, H. (1983). Synergetics: An introduction (3rd Ed.). Berlin: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  10. Hallett, M., & Grafman, J. (1997). Executive function and motor skill learning. International Review of Neurobiology, 41, 297–323.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hilgard, E. R., & Bower, G. H. (1956). Theories of learning. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  12. Knapp, B. (1964). Skill in sport: The attainment of proficiency. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  13. Kandel, E. R. (2006). In search of memory: The emergence of a new science of the mind. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  14. Kaplan, D., & Glass, L. (1995). Understanding nonlinear dynamics. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  15. Krakauer, J. W. (2008). Learning and consolidation of visuomotor rotations. 403–419.Google Scholar
  16. Liu, Y-T., Mayer-Kress, G., & Newell, K. M. (2006a). Qualitative and quantitative change in the dynamics of motor learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 32, 380–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Liu, Y-T., Mayer-Kress, G., & Newell, K. M. (2006b). Self-organized criticality predicts success rates in a self-paced motor learning task. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 29, S106.Google Scholar
  18. Müller, H., & Sternad, D. (2008). Motor learning: Changes in the structure of variability in a redundant task. 439–456.Google Scholar
  19. Newell, A., & Rosenbloom, P. S. (1981). Mechanisms of skill acquisition and the law of practice. In J. R. Anderson (Ed.), Cognitive skills and their acquisition (pp. 1–55). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  20. Newell, K. M. (1985). Coordination, control and skill. In D. Goodman, I. Franks & R. Wilberg (Eds.), Differing perspectives in motor learning, memory and control (pp. 295–317). Amsterdam: North-Holland.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Newell, K. M., & Corcos, D. M. (Eds.). (1993). Variability and motor control. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.Google Scholar
  22. Newell, K. M., & Slifkin, A. B. (1998). The nature of movement variability. In J. Piek (Ed.). Motor control and human skill: A multidisciplinary perspective (pp. 143–160). Champaign: Human Kinetics.Google Scholar
  23. Newell, K. M., Liu, Y-T., & Mayer-Kress, G. (2001). Time scales in motor learning and development. Psychological Review, 108, 57–82.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Newell, K. M., Mayer-Kress, G., & Liu, Y-T. (2006). Human learning: Powers laws or multiple characteristic time scales? Tutorials in Quantitataive Methods for Psychology, 2, 66–76.Google Scholar
  25. Newell, K. M., Liu, Y-T., & Mayer-Kress, G. (2008). Time scales, difficulty/skill duality, and the dynamics of motor learning. 455–474.Google Scholar
  26. Overduin, A. A., Richardson, A.G., & Bizzi, E. (2008). Cortical processing of dynamics motor adaptation. 421–436.Google Scholar
  27. Reber, A. S. (1993). Implicit learning and tacit knowledge: An essay on the cognitive unconscious. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Schmidt, R. A., Zelaznik, H., Hawkins, B., Frank, J. S., & Quinn, J. T. (1979). Motor-output variability: A theory for the accuracy of rapid motor acts. Psychological Review, 86, 415–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schmidt, R. A., & Lee, T. D. (2005). Motor control and learning: A behavioral emphasis (4th Ed.). Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics.Google Scholar
  30. Schöner, G. (1995). Recent developments and problems in human movement science and their conceptual implications. Ecological Psychology, 7, 291–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Scholz, J. P., & Schöner, G. (1999). The uncontrolled manifold concept: identifying control variables for a functional task. Experimental Brain Research, 126, 289–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Schroeder, M. (1991). Fractals, chaos, power laws: Minutes from an infinite paradise. New York: Freeman.Google Scholar
  33. Snoddy, G. S. (1926). Learning and stability. Journal of Applied Psychology, 10, 1–36.Google Scholar
  34. Tse, D., Langston, R. F., Kakeyama, M., Bethus, I., Spooner, P. A., Wood, E. R., Witter, M. P., Witter, M. P., & Morris, R. G. M. (2007). Schemas and memory consolidation. Science, 316, 76–82.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wixted, J. T. (2004). The psychology and neuroscience of forgetting. Annual Review of Psychology, 55, 235–269.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of KinesiologyPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations