Learning a skilled movement often requires changing multiple dimensions of movement in a coordinated manner. Serial training is one common approach to learning a new movement pattern, where each feature is learned in isolation from the others. Once one feature is learned, we move on to the next. However, when learning a complex movement pattern, serial training is not only laborious but can also be ineffective. Often, movement features are linked such that they cannot simply be added together as we progress through training. Thus, the ability to learn multiple features in parallel could make training faster and more effective. When using visual feedback as the tool for changing movement, however, such parallel training may increase the attentional load of training and impair performance. Here, we developed a novel visual feedback system that uses principal component analysis to weight four features of movement to create a simple one-dimensional ‘summary’ of performance. We used this feedback to teach healthy, young participants a modified walking pattern and compared their performance to those who received four concurrent streams of visual information to learn the same goal walking pattern. We demonstrated that those who used the principal component-based visual feedback improved their performance faster and to a greater extent compared to those who received concurrent feedback of all features. These results suggest that our novel principal component-based visual feedback provides a method for altering multiple features of movement toward a prescribed goal in an intuitive, low-dimensional manner.
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