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Motor Control and Learning 6th Edition with Web Resource


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Table of Contents

Part I. Introduction to Motor Behavior

Chapter 1. Evolution of a Field of Study

Understanding Movement

Origins of the Field


Chapter 2. Methodology for Studying Motor Performance

Classification of Motor Skills

Basic Considerations in Measurement

Measuring Motor Behavior

Measuring and Evaluating Relationships

Reliability and Individual Differences


Chapter 3. Human Information Processing

Information-Processing Model

Three Stages of Information Processing


Signal-Detection Theory



Chapter 4. Attention and Performance

Types of Attention

Theories of Attention

Competition for Attention

Attention During Movement

Focus of Attention

Automaticity: The Constrained Action Hypothesis

Attention and Anxiety


Part II. Motor Control

Chapter 5. Sensory and Perceptual Contributions to Motor Control

Closed-Loop Control Systems




Proprioception and Motor Control

Feedforward Influences on Motor Control


Chapter 6. Central Contributors to Motor Control

Open-Loop Processes

Central Control Mechanisms

Central Control of Rapid Movements

Generalized Motor Programs


Chapter 7. Principles of Speed and Accuracy

Fitts’ Law: The Logarithmic Speed–Accuracy Trade-Off

Linear Speed–Accuracy Trade-Off (Schmidt’s Law)

Temporal Speed–Accuracy Trade-Off

Central Contributions to the Spatial Speed–Accuracy Trade-Off

Correction Models of the Speed–Accuracy Trade-Off


Chapter 8. Coordination

Discrete Tasks

Continuous Tasks

A Dynamical-Systems Account of Coordination


Part III. Motor Learning

Chapter 9. Motor Learning Concepts and Research Methods

Defining Motor Learning

Measuring Motor Learning

Designing Experiments on Learning

Using Alternative Methods to Measure Learning

Understanding Issues About the “Amount” of Learning

Understanding Learning and Performance Variables


Chapter 10. Conditions of Practice

Verbal information

Focus of Attention

Motivational Influences on Learning

Observational Learning

Mental Practice

Distribution of Practice

Variability of Practice

Contextual Interference



Chapter 11. Augmented Feedback

Classifications and Definitions

Informational Functions of Feedback

Motivational Functions of Feedback

Attentional Focus Functions of Feedback

Theoretical Issues: How Does Augmented Feedback “Work”?


Chapter 12. The Learning Process

Stages of Motor Learning

Closed-Loop Theory

Schema Theory

Differing Theoretical Perspectives of Motor Learning



Chapter 13. Retention and Transfer

Fundamental Distinctions and Definitions

Measuring Retention and Transfer

Retention and Motor Memory

Retention Loss

Transfer of Learning


About the Author

Richard A. Schmidt, PhD, passed away in 2015, leaving a legacy of groundbreaking research in motor control and learning. He had authored the first edition of Motor Control and Learning in 1982; followed up with a second edition of the popular text in 1988; and collaborated with Timothy Lee for the third edition in 1999, the fourth edition in 2005, and the fifth edition in 2011.

Schmidt was a professor emeritus in the department of psychology at UCLA and ran a consulting firm, Human Performance Research, working in the areas of human factors and human performance. The originator of schema theory, Schmidt founded the Journal of Motor Behavior in 1969 and was editor for 11 years.

Schmidt received two honorary doctorate degrees, from Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) and Joseph Fournier University (France), in recognition of his work. He was a member of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (of which he was president in 1982), the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, and the Psychonomic Society.

Timothy D. Lee, PhD, is a professor emeritus in the department of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He has published extensively in motor behavior and psychology journals since 1979, served as an editor for the Journal of Motor Behavior and Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, and has been an editorial board member for Psychological Review. Until his retirement in 2014, his research was supported primarily by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Lee is a member and past president of the Canadian Society for Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology (SCAPPS) and a member of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA). In 1980, Lee received the inaugural Young Scientist Award from SCAPPS, and 31 years later he was awarded its highest honor, being named a fellow of the society. He presented a prestigious senior lecture at NASPSPA’s 2005 conference and received the organization’s highest honor, the Distinguished Scholar Award, in 2017.

In his leisure time, Lee enjoys playing golf. He has maintained a lifelong fascination with blues music and would one day love to put years of motor learning study into practice by learning to play blues guitar.

Carolee J. Winstein, PhD, PT, is a professor of biokinesiology and physical therapy at the University of Southern California, as well as in the department of neurology at the Keck School of Medicine. Winstein serves as an associate editor of the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair and is a fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the American Heart Association (AHA), and the National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK).

She has more than 30 years of multidisciplinary collaborative research experience focused on understanding rehabilitation outcomes and promoting optimal recovery of goal-directed movement behaviors that emerge from a dynamic brain-behavior system in brain-damaged conditions.

Over the past 25 years, her research program has been consistently funded through NIH, NIDILRR, and the Foundation for Physical Therapy. She has authored or coauthored more than 120 research papers, chapters, proceedings, and commentaries. Recently, the Journal of the American Medicaal Association published the results of her NIH-funded, multisite clinical trial of stroke rehabilitation. Winstein has mentored over a dozen doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars from diverse fields, including engineering, neuroscience, and rehabilitation.

In her free time, Winstein enjoys gourmet cooking and is pursuing her private pilot’s license to fly a Cessna 172.

Gabriele Wulf, PhD, is a professor in the department of kinesiology and nutrition sciences at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Wulf studies factors that influence motor skill learning, including the performer’s focus of attention and motivational variables (e.g., autonomy support and performance expectancies). Wulf has received various awards for her research, including UNLV’s Barrick Distinguished Scholar Award. She served as president of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA) in 2015. She has been elected a fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK).

Her research has resulted in approximately 200 journal articles and book chapters, as well as two books. She served as the founding editor of Frontiers in Movement Science and Sport Psychology (2010-2012) and the Journal of Motor Learning and Development (2012-2015). In conjunction with Rebecca Lewthwaite, Wulf developed the OPTIMAL theory of motor learning.

In her leisure time, Wulf enjoys golf, tennis, skiing, and photography.

Howard N. Zelaznik, PhD, is a professor of health and kinesiology at Purdue University. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology, the Association for Psychological Science, the Psychonomic Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he is an active member of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity. Zelaznik has served as executive editor for the Journal of Motor Behavior.

His research specialty is human motor control. Over the past 15 years, Zelaznik has developed, tested, and promoted a theoretical framework to examine issues in human movement timing. He has been funded for over 30 years by NIH and currently has an interdisciplinary project funded by NSF.

A former college tennis player, Zelaznik is still an active (albeit unranked) tennis player. He is an active road cyclist and former marathon runner. As his students continually tell him, he does not have a good sense of humor, although he loves to laugh.


“This book provides a blend of current literature and classic studies in motor control and learning, and the authors cite advantages and limitations for the research. I found part III the most thought-provoking and applicable to my practice of physical therapy, particularly chapter 10, which discusses how conditions of practice influence motor learning. The book comprehensively examines human movement and performance.” —Doody’s Review Service

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