Attentional preferences affect motor learning efficiency, and can be objectively demonstrated

Takeaway

  • Healthy individuals may preferentially attend to either internal or external stimuli when learning a motor task and will perform the task more efficiently if they are instructed to focus their attention consistent with this preference.

Why this matters

  • Individuals engaged in athletic training or undergoing clinical rehabilitation are frequently instructed to visualize the motion they want to achieve, but this externally focused strategy may be less effective for individuals who perform better by paying attention to internal sensations associated with muscle movement.