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Practice makes perfect if you have a partner's touch, according to new study
Date:1/23/2014

rning a task, they consistently improved their performance regardless of how well their partner performed.

Even an intermittent physical connection between partners was found by the researchers to help individuals to learn the task better than subjects who practised the task alone for the same duration.

The team also found that when practising a task, the improvement in performance was most prominent when the partners were at a similar level, and that interacting with peers was more beneficial than working with an expert.

Improvements were most noticeable when the individual was practising with another human and not a robot.

Atsushi Takagi, PhD student and co-author of the study from the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London, said: "Humans are intensely social creatures and it is no surprise that we've developed non-verbal communication techniques to help us improve the way we carry out tasks. Touch is an essential tool in our communication arsenal. It's fascinating that this kind of communication can be so powerful even when people can't see each other. Excitingly, getting robotic devices to mimic this process could help people make bigger improvements when they are carrying out exercises in rehabilitation."

The team reached their conclusions by carrying out experimental sessions with 68 volunteers who operated a joystick-like robotic device to move a cursor, in an effort to track a randomly moving target on a screen.

Each session consisted of an equal number of single and dual trials. In the single trials each individual performed the tracking alone, while in the dual trials the candidates were connected by a virtual elastic band that connected the hands of the partners during the trial. The sequence of the trials was pre-determined and unknown to the subjects and most of the volunteers did not deduce that they were connected to a partner. Although they could feel the force of their partn
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Contact: Colin Smith
cd.smith@imperial.ac.uk
44-020-759-46712
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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