Conscious awareness of motor fluidity improves performance and decreases cognitive effort in sequence learning.
Consciousness and Cognition. 2021-10-01; 95: 103220
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1. Conscious Cogn. 2021 Oct;95:103220. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2021.103220. Epub 2021
Conscious awareness of motor fluidity improves performance and decreases
cognitive effort in sequence learning.
Ioannucci S(1), Boutin A(2), Michelet T(1), Zenon A(1), Badets A(3).
(1)CNRS, Institut de Neurosciences Cognitives et Intégratives d’Aquitaine (UMR
5287), Université de Bordeaux, France.
(2)Université Paris-Saclay, CIAMS, 91405, Orsay, France; Université d’Orléans,
CIAMS, 45067, Orléans, France.
(3)CNRS, Institut de Neurosciences Cognitives et Intégratives d’Aquitaine (UMR
5287), Université de Bordeaux, France. Electronic address:
Motor skill learning is improved when participants are instructed to judge after
each trial whether their performed movements have reached maximal fluidity.
Consequently, the conscious awareness of this maximal fluidity can be classified
as a genuine learning factor for motor sequences. However, it is unknown whether
this effect of conscious awareness on motor learning could be mediated by the
increased cognitive effort that may accompany such judgment making. The main aim
of this study was to test this hypothesis in comparing two groups with, and
without, the conscious awareness of the maximal fluidity. To assess the possible
involvement of cognitive effort, we have recorded the pupillary dilation to the
task, which is well-known to increase in proportion to cognitive effort. Results
confirmed that conscious awareness indeed improved motor sequence learning of the
trained sequence specifically. Pupil dilation was smaller during trained than
during novel sequence performance, indicating that sequence learning decreased
the cognitive cost of sequence execution. However, we found that in the group
that had to judge on their maximal fluidity, pupil dilation during sequence
production was smaller than in the control group, indicating that the motor
improvement induced by the fluidity judgment does not involve additional
cognitive effort. We discuss these results in the context of motor learning and
cognitive effort theories.
Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
PMID: 34655968 [Indexed for MEDLINE]