|M.Sc Student||Lammfromm Rotem|
|Subject||Transfer of Skill from a Virtual Reality Juggling Trainer|
to Real Juggling
|Department||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management||Supervisor||Professor Emeritus Daniel Gopher|
|Full Thesis text|
Juggling is a widely studied complex motor skill, in which the performer is required to control a number of objects tossed in the air, keeping at least one object in the air at every given moment. Previous research has shown that control of the temporal-spatial relations of juggling under different constraints and conditions is a core requirement for stable performance.
The Lightweight Juggler (LWJ) is a two-dimensional virtual environment that can present the ball movement pattern and the temporal-spatial constraints of juggling tricks, but not the motor demands propagated by ball weight and shape. It allows manipulation of training conditions, including top-down temporal-spatial constraints, using an Emphasis Change training protocol in which trainees are required to systematically change their allocation of attention between sub-elements of the task, and a bottom-up change of task speed. A series of studies has shown that a combination of a gradual speed increase and an Emphasis Change training protocol contributes to virtual juggling performance.
Following these findings, the present study aims to examine the value of the skill components trained in the LWJ to real juggling acquisition. Over 11 days, 24 male novices had either experienced a combination of the virtual juggling training and real juggling, or practiced only real juggling. Results show that participants who have alternated between real and virtual training demonstrate comparable performance to those who only practiced real juggling, and an examination of sub-group and individual-level performance implies that training in the virtual environment enhances adaptation to temporal-spatial task constraints. These findings support the notion that the cognitive aspects of a skill can be separately trained to enhance the acquisition of a complex perceptual-motor task.