In Outlining the Central Elements of Schmidt’s Schema Theory of Motor Learning, Comment on How It Attempted to Deal with the Shortcomings of Previous Models of Motor Learning.
In 1975, Schmidt proposed his Schema Theory of Motor Learning. This theory was produced as an alternative theory to Adams’ Closed Loop Theory (1971). Schmidt (1982, p.482) says “In 1975, largely due to my dissatisfaction with Adams’ position, I formulated a theory that can be considered a rival to Adams’.” Schmidt had concerns about Adams’ theory, that it didn’t place enough emphasis on open loop control processes. According to Schmidt (1982) a major limitation of this theory is that it focuses on slow, linear-positioning responses, which are not representative of the many other different kinds of skills we use in everyday life. Adams’ theory was based on the premise of perceptual and memory traces. The perceptual trace is a memory of
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The recognition memory is composed of initial conditions, past actual outcomes and past sensory consequences. This allows the subject to detect errors. However the theory predicts that there is no capability for error detection after a slow movement, because the error detection capability is being used to produce the slow movement. Errors can be detected after a rapid movement, but not during. Evaluation for a slow movement occurs when the individual has time to evaluate what will happen as a result of the action, although evaluation can take place during the execution in slow movements, these are known as expected sensory consequences. Some of this is similar to Adams’ theory, in that there are two agents, whereby one produces the movement and another provides feedback. Despite different factors effecting recall and recognition schema, increased variability of practice will increase both, so the processes of both may be related. Schmidt (1982, p.488) predicts “that practicing a variety of movement outcomes with the same program will provide a widely based set of experiences upon which a rule or schema can be built.” Basically, “those who experience a variety of movements during a task will be better able to undertake a novel version of the task, than individuals who have not experienced such variety during practice.” (Moxley 1979). The schema theory leads us to believe that an increased amount of variability within a schema will lead to