Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Timothy D. Lee
This thesis was specifically designed to explore the role of motor information in behavior and learning in the presence and absence of physical and cognitive challenges. The first experiment examined the role of motor information in the maintenance of standing balance. This study found that light touch (motor information) was most useful when visual condition was challenging, eyes closed. Increased benefit of touch in the presence of challenge suggests that motor information may provide similar information as other senses, and act in a compensatory fashion when those senses are challenged. The second study examined the role of motor information, in the form of enactment, in learning a motor communication task. Results from this study support a role for motor information in enriching the learning environment by strengthening memory to reduce rate of forgetting. The third study examined the role of motor information in disease, using motor-centric instruction and guided movements to teach persons with Alzheimer Dementia to bowl using the Nintendo Wii TM. The spared motor learning observed in these participants confirms claims in the literature of spared motor function in persons with dementia and strengthens the claim the motor system can provide compensatory information to support challenged cognitive systems. Taken together, these findings add to the current literature supporting motor pathways with information separable form other sensory pathways and spared motor capacity to learn in dementia.
Fenney, Alison L., "The role of motor information in learning and behavior in the presence and absence of challenge, physical or cognitive." (2011). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6202.
McMaster University Library