The Effect of Early Instruction on Performance and Retention of Motor Sequence Task: Evidence for Sensitive Period in Motor Learning

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Motor Behavior, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Motor Behavior, Faculty of Humanities, Islamic Azad University of Shoushtar Branch, Shoushtar, Iran


The main purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of early instruction on performance and retention of motor sequence task. The research method was applied and quasi-experimental type. The statistical population included all students and staff of the Faculty of Science in Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz in the second half of 2017, that among them, 36 right-handed subjects, aged 18 to 27 years, indicating healthy nervous system (lack of neurological diseases) were selected using purposeful and available sampling method. They were divided into three groups of 12 subjects, including the early training, late training, and control group. In this study, General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), General Index of Musical Training and Related Experience (GIMTRE), and Serial Reaction Time Task (SRTT) software were used to collect information and evaluate the samples. The intervention consisted of two phases (acquisition and retention) and 10 stages for response to sequential stimuli during which the results of the groups’ performance were compared. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Shapiro-Wilk test, independent-t, mixed and one way ANOVA test. In the acquisition phase, for the two components of response time and accuracy, there was a significant difference in all the blocks between the groups and this difference was in favor of the early training group. In addition, in the retention test, the difference between the groups was evident, and the early training group responded to stimuli faster and more accurately than the late training and control groups.These findings support the idea that there may be a sensitive period during childhood in which enriching motor training through practice and experience can enhance motor performance in the next stages.


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