The effectiveness of robotic training depends on motor task characteristics

Marchal-Crespo, Laura; Rappo, Nicole; Riener, Robert (2017). The effectiveness of robotic training depends on motor task characteristics. Experimental brain research, 235(12), pp. 3799-3816. Springer 10.1007/s00221-017-5099-9

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Previous research suggests that the effectiveness of robotic training depends on the motor task to be learned. However, it is still an open question which specific task's characteristics influence the efficacy of error-modulating training strategies. Motor tasks can be classified based on the time characteristics of the task, in particular the task's duration (discrete vs. continuous). Continuous tasks require movements without distinct beginning or end. Discrete tasks require fast movements that include well-defined postures at the beginning and the end. We developed two games, one that requires a continuous movement-a tracking task-and one that requires discrete movements-a fast reaching task. We conducted an experiment with thirty healthy subjects to evaluate the effectiveness of three error-modulating training strategies-no guidance, error amplification (i.e., repulsive forces proportional to errors) and haptic guidance-on self-reported motivation and learning of the continuous and discrete games. Training with error amplification resulted in better motor learning than haptic guidance, besides the fact that error amplification reduced subjects' interest/enjoyment and perceived competence during training. Only subjects trained with error amplification improved their performance after training the discrete game. In fact, subjects trained without guidance improved the performance in the continuous game significantly more than in the discrete game, probably because the continuous task required greater attentional levels. Error-amplifying training strategies have a great potential to provoke better motor learning in continuous and discrete tasks. However, their long-lasting negative effects on motivation might limit their applicability in intense neurorehabilitation programs.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research > ARTORG Center - Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation

UniBE Contributor:

Marchal Crespo, Laura


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 620 Engineering








Laura Marchal Crespo

Date Deposited:

22 Jan 2018 16:12

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 06:40

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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