Motor skill acquisition in childhood: exploring the links between working memory, implicit learning and equipment modification

[thumbnail of BUSZARD Time-thesis_nosiganture.pdf]
BUSZARD Time-thesis_nosiganture.pdf - Submitted Version (2MB) | Preview

Buszard, Tim (2014) Motor skill acquisition in childhood: exploring the links between working memory, implicit learning and equipment modification. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


The aim of this dissertation was twofold. First, this thesis explored the role that working memory plays in children’s motor learning. Working memory is responsible for the temporary storage and manipulation of information in the mind, and is the primary mechanism underpinning the conscious acquisition of motor knowledge. However, working memory is still developing throughout childhood and, therefore, it is possible that most (if not, all) motor information learnt during childhood occurs sub-consciously. Indeed, the results showed that a person’s working memory capacity influenced skill performance and learning. Children with larger working memory capacity had a greater tendency to test hypotheses (i.e., make alterations to technique) when performing a motor skill, were more likely to consciously control their movements as indicated by the Movement Specific Reinvestment Scale, and were advantaged when verbal instructions were provided. Further, studies with adults showed that working memory capacity predicted both performance in a pressured situation and the amount of EEG coherence between the motor regions of the brain and the verbal-analytical and visuo-spatial regions. The second main aim of this dissertation investigated the influence that modified equipment had on children’s skill acquisition. As hypothesised, skill performance and learning was enhanced when using modified equipment (e.g., smaller racquets and lower compression balls) compared to using full-size equipment. Importantly, the use of modified equipment placed fewer demands on working memory during performance of a skill, which implies that it encourages an implicit mode of learning. Overall, this thesis contributes to the small but growing literature examining implicit motor learning in children and increases our understanding of the influence that working memory has on the acquisition of motor skills.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords children, motor skills, working memory, motor tasks, conscious control, performance, development, tennis, education
Download/View statistics View download statistics for this item

Search Google Scholar

Repository staff login