Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

Overcoming the ceiling effects of experts’ motor expertise through active haptic training

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Science Advances  20 Nov 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 47, eabd2558
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd2558

Abstract

One of the most challenging issues among experts is how to improve motor skills that have already been highly trained. Recent studies have proposed importance of both genetic predisposition and accumulated amount of practice for standing at the top of fields of sports and performing arts. In contrast to the two factors, what is unexplored is how one practices impacts on experts’ expertise. Here, we show that training of active somatosensory function (active haptic training) enhances precise force control in the keystrokes and somatosensory functions specifically of expert pianists, but not of untrained individuals. By contrast, training that merely repeats the task with provision of error feedback, which is a typical training method, failed to improve the force control in the experts, but not in the untrained. These findings provide evidence that the limit of highly trained motor skills could be overcome by optimizing training methods.

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