Data_Sheet_1_Superimposed Skilled Performance in a Virtual Mirror Improves Motor Performance and Cognitive Representation of a Full Body Motor Action.pdf

Feedback is essential for skill acquisition as it helps identifying and correcting performance errors. Nowadays, Virtual Reality can be used as a tool to guide motor learning, and to provide innovative types of augmented feedback that exceed real world opportunities. Concurrent feedback has shown to be especially beneficial for novices. Moreover, watching skilled performances helps novices to acquire a motor skill, and this effect depends on the perspective taken by the observer. To date, however, the impact of watching one's own performance together with full body superimposition of a skilled performance, either from the front or from the side, remains to be explored. Here we used an immersive, state-of-the-art, low-latency cave automatic virtual environment (CAVE), and we asked novices to perform squat movements in front of a virtual mirror. Participants were assigned to one of three concurrent visual feedback groups: participants either watched their own avatar performing full body movements or were presented with the movement of a skilled individual superimposed on their own performance during movement execution, either from a frontal or from a side view. Motor performance and cognitive representation were measured in order to track changes in movement quality as well as motor memory across time. Consistent with our hypotheses, results showed an advantage of the groups that observed their own avatar performing the squat together with the superimposed skilled performance for some of the investigated parameters, depending on perspective. Specifically, for the deepest point of the squat, participants watching the squat from the front adapted their height, while those watching from the side adapted their backward movement. In a control experiment, we ruled out the possibility that the observed improvements were due to the mere fact of performing the squat movements—irrespective of the type of visual feedback. The present findings indicate that it can be beneficial for novices to watch themselves together with a skilled performance during execution, and that improvement depends on the perspective chosen.