The effect of different combinations of practice schedules on motor response stability during practice
Studies in motor learning have indicated that relative and absolute timing dimensions are modulated by factors that modify response stability among trials. One of these factors is the combination of constant and variable practices. Although studies are investigating the combination of practice schedules, these studies used measurements that did not separately assess performance and motor response. This study aimed to investigate the effect of different combinations of practice schedules on motor response stability during practice. Participants performed a sequential key-pressing task with two goals: (1) to learn the relative timing dimension and (2) the absolute timing dimension. Participants were assigned to one of two groups: constant-variable or variable-constant. Our findings indicate an influence of the increase in variability over the practice in the constant-variable group. Specifically, the increase of variability of total time at the second half (constant-variable group) of practice was followed by the maintenance of the same level of cross-correlate between absolute timing error and variability of total time. Finally, our findings support the notion that practicing in a constant schedule favors the relative timing dimension of learning regardless of the order in which the constant practice is provided.