Effects of practice variability on unimanual arm rotation

Eric G. James, Phillip Conatser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


High variability practice has been found to lead to a higher rate of motor learning than low variability practice in sports tasks. The authors compared the effects of low and high levels of practice variability on a simple unimanual arm rotation task. Participants performed rhythmic unimanual internal-external arm rotation as smoothly as possible before and after 2 weeks of low (LV) or high (HV) variability practice and after a 2-week retention interval. Compared to the pretest, the HV group significantly decreased hand, radioulnar, and shoulder rotation jerk on the retention test and shoulder jerk on the posttest. After training the LV group had lower radioulnar and shoulder jerk on the posttest but not the retention test. The results supported the hypothesis that high variability practice would lead to greater learning and reminiscence than low variability practice and the theoretical prediction of a bifurcation in the motor learning dynamics. © 2014

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-210
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Motor Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 4 2014


  • motor learning
  • practice
  • unimanual
  • variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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