Mechanisms of Motor Learning in lmmersive Virtual Reality and Their Influences on Retention and Context Transfer
Juliano, Julia M.
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lmmersive virtual reality using a head-mounted display (HMD-VR) is increasingly being used for motor learning purposes. These devices have the potential to be useful tools in motor training and rehabilitation as they allow for researchers and clinicians to control and individualize the virtual environment. However, we do not yet know how to maximize these devices potential because the mechanisms underlying how we move and learn motor skills in them are unclear. The central objective of my research is to address gaps in our understanding of what makes movements and motor learning in HMD-VR different from more conventional training environments and how these differences could influence the formation of motor memories. To attain this objective, I aimed to 1) determine whether visuomotor adaptation in HMD-VR increases cognitive load compared to conventional screen environment, 2) determine whether visuomotor adaptation in HMD-VR leads to decreased long-term retention and context transfer, and 3) determine whether visual processing for action in HMD-VR is susceptible to perceptual effects. To address these aims, I conducted two research projects where the first project addresses Aim 1 and 2 and the second project addresses Aim 3. Successful accomplishment of these aims will bridge motor learning mechanisms with a theoretical framework of cognitive load and examine the impact of cognitive load on motor memory formation and influence the increasing use of HMD-VR in motor learning applications.