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measure the retention characteristics of distance and location information about a movement

Purpose and Design of the Experiment
The purpose of this experiment is to measure the retention characteristics of distance and location information about a movement. Distance means length, location means endpoint.
We will be making two comparisons:
1) First we will contrast the retention characteristics of distance as compared to location. Each group will run one subject in each of these two conditions.
2) Second, we will contrast performance after different types of retention intervals. We will be studying:
a. Immediate: (have a 5 second delay here because it is almost impossible to get the equipment reset immediately).
b. Delay Unfilled: (15 seconds) no intervening activity between criterion movement (CM) and reproduction movement (RM)
c. Delay Filled: (15 seconds) a verbal task intervenes between CM and RM. Each subject will do all three types of retention interval.
Therefore we will have the following conditions:
Distance (subject 1) Location (subject 2)
1. Immediate 4. Immediate
2. Delay Unfilled 5. Delay Unfilled
3. Delay Filled 6. Delay Filled
Each subject will have ten trials in each of his/her three conditions so that each subject will do 30 trials with 60 trials total for both Ss.

Equipment: STMM stick, blindfold, stopwatch

General Instructions: Four (or more) students work together at one station. One serves as subject, one as timer, one sets up apparatus for each trial, and one is recorder and directs.
Run two different subjects!! All group members use the same data. Fill out the questions after class, individually.

Directions for Running Subjects
• S is blindfolded at all times!
• S should be right handed and use his/her right hand for the study. The equipment should be set up so that S moves from left to right.
• S should sit in a position that allows the right arm to be at a 90 degree angle to the body and to point to the middle of the scale.

0 50 100

Align the right edge of the pointer at the start position. Read the position of the right edge of the pointer to record the score. For example, for a movement starting at 10 cm, the pointer’s right edge rests on 10.

On each trial, S makes the criterion movement and then tries to reproduce the proper location or distance from a new starting point.

Criterion Movement: subject moves from the proper starting point to a physical “stop”.

Reproduction Movement: S starts from the correct starting point (a new one) and moves to the location or distance he/she believes is the same as that in the CM.

Experimenter records the place S stops, to the nearest cm. Be sure to avoid giving S any feedback about the score – do not read numbers aloud, etc.
The subject should try to move at a steady speed.

In running trials, work across the score sheet so that S1 does one trial for the first type of interval, then one trial for the second type of interval, etc. There is one practice trial for each condition. Run the practice trials first, but do not include practice data in final calculations.

Before each trial begins, tell the S what type of trial, e.g., immediate, delay unfilled, or delay filled.

The order for the three conditions differs for the two subjects.
1. Immediate (5 sec) Same for location and distance.
a. CM: S makes criterion movement
b. RM: S releases the grip immediately and E quickly removes S’s hand to the start point for the reproduction movement. After 5 seconds E gives the BEGIN command for the reproduction.
2. Delay Unfilled (15 seconds) Same for location and distance.
a. CM: S makes the criterion movement
b. RM: E starts the watch as soon as S hits the physical stop. S immediately places hand in lap. QUIET PREVAILS. After 12 seconds E says PLACE. E helps S put hand at start for the RM. At 15 seconds E says BEGIN and S reproduces the movement.
3. Delay Filled (15 seconds) Same for location and distance
Same as unfilled with one exception. When S hits the stop, the recorder reads a 3 digit number (see score sheet). S counts backward by 3’s OUT LOUD, until he/she hears the PLACE command. Do not laugh or give S any feedback about the counting.

NOTES: In all cases one E must reposition the handle at the start and remove the ending physical stop immediately after S stops moving in the CM. Be certain S removes his/her hand immediately after hitting the physical stop on the CM.

As soon as S finishes a trial, set up the next trial and begin as quickly as possible. You will be running 60 official trials and six and practice trials in one class period. Only one person should record scores. Other group members copy these scores after both subjects are finished.

When compiling the score sheet, X is the distance from the correct endpoint to S’s endpoint expressed with the positive sign for overshooting and a negative sign for undershooting.

Memory Lab Procedure Sheet

Lab tasks:
2 participants, one for distance and one for location
director: instructs participant, times, and provides number for counting backwards setter of start position for all movements and clip position for criterion movements endpoint recorder (score not said out loud!)


1. Blindfold participant
2. Instruct participant:
a. “remember the location of the end of your movement” OR “remember the length of your movement”
b. “this is immediate” OR “this is delay filled” OR “this is delay unfilled”
c. start
d. for immediate, time 5 sec and say “start” for reproduction movement
e. for delay unfilled, time 15 seconds and say “start” for reproduction movement
f. for delay filled, give participant the number to count from, time 15 seconds, say “start” for reproduction movement

3. clip setter places clip only for the endpoint of criterion movements
4. start position is reset for every movement
5. recorder should not say endpoint aloud

Numbers for Delay Filled condition: Location
561 use a different number for each trial!
Distance 359
741 867
198 628
931 419
226 792
257 469
156 621
529 777
345 826
299 438
257 399

Motor Memory Lab Writeup

1. (4 points) Name and briefly describe the two independent variables and their levels that are used in the experiment. One independent variable has three levels and the other has two. (Hint: these relate to the two questions asked in the lab introduction!).

2. (3 point) Name and briefly describe the three dependent variables used in the experiment. Hint: What variables would you place on the vertical axis in a graph of the results?

3. (4 points) Circle the correct answers:
a. Was the study true or correlational?

b. Was the measure reactive or nonreactive?

c. Were the criterion movements passive or active?

d. Were the criterion movements constrained or preselected?

4. (6 points) On the score sheet, calculate AE (Absolute error) for all six conditions using the scores that your group obtained with your subjects. Hint: recheck addition or subtraction used to obtain difference scores! Lots of people go wrong here! Round off all calculations to the 2nd decimal place. Show work on the score sheet.

Distance: Location:
Immediate Immediate

Delay Unfilled Delay Unfilled

Delay Filled Delay Filled

5. (1 point). We asked one subject to remember distance moved and the other to remember end location. How did we ensure that the distance subject was not using location cues, and vice versa?

6. (2 point) We used the same range of distances and endpoints for each subject. Why is this important? Hint: what would happen if the distance subject had all short distances to remember and the location subject got all long distances?

7. (1 point). How would you expect our results to change if we ran the experiment again, using the same procedures EXCEPT for the criterion movement. Suppose that the subject’s criterion movement was passive rather than active (remember that the reproduction movement will always be active). What information does an active mover have that a passive mover doesn’t have?

8. (1 point). In piano playing one has to learn to move arms and fingers certain distances (e.g. one octave). This is especially important for sight reading, when sequences of movements aren’t memorized. What other sport or movement skills require memory for location or distance? (Think of an example where a body part is moved through certain distances or to locations, rather than throwing an object to a certain place, which is slightly different.)

5. (6 points) The expected results for AE distance and location retention are graphed below.




Immediate Delay Delay Unfilled Filled

A. (2 points) Describe and compare results for the two conditions pictured above (distance versus location):

B. (4 points) Determine which delay condition allows rehearsal. Compare the results for this condition with those for the delay condition that doesn’t allow rehearsal. What do these results tell us about ability to rehearse distance versus location information?


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