Observational learning in motor skill acquisition: A look at demonstrations

Deirdre Scully*, Evelyn Carnegie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Three studies are presented which explore the information conveyed by demonstrations and which evaluate the effectiveness of demonstrations in providing the learner with sufficient information to model both kinematic and kinetic features of motor skill. In all three experiments adult female participants viewed a video-recorded demonstration of an adult female dance expert's performance of a two-dimensional dance step. Immediately after viewing the demonstration participants attempted to replicate the movement. Performance attempts were video-recorded and biomechanically analysed on a number of measures including movement outcome accuracy, movement form (angular displacement), absolute and relative timing of movements and peak force on landing and take-off. Results of the programme of research suggest that the demonstration viewing condition affected the quality of visual information conveyed which in turn affected subsequent efforts at replication. Results are discussed in terms of coordination and control aspects of motor skill acquisition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472-485
Number of pages14
JournalIrish Journal of Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 1998


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