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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: It is becoming apparent that attention has a critical role in motor skill learning, but perhaps not as expected. This book takes a unique look at the role attention plays in motor skills learning in a variety of settings.
Purpose: This is meant to provide a synthesis of the research that has been done in attention and human motor learning.
Audience: There is a potentially large audience for this book, including anyone interested in kinesiology, physical education, sport sciences, physical or occupational therapy, psychology, and the performing arts. The author is well versed in this field and has contributed to the knowledge base.
Features: The first chapter provides an overview of research that has been done in this field. The topics range from conscious awareness in learning to pressure situations to adjusting attention focus. The next two chapters on the internal and external focus of instructions and feedback are highly complementary. These are further enhanced by the chapter on the type of learning that is best for different levels of expertise. The discussion of suprapostural elements in learning is quite intriguing. The book finishes with a chapter on motor skills learning in special populations, such as Parkinson's disease, speech disorders, and stroke. Each chapter contains an interesting introduction and hooks the reader with tantalizing questions. These are explored throughout the chapter through a review of research, figures, tables, and illustrations. Pictures of specific tasks also help readers to understand certain studies. Readers will find "attention insights," which are accessory learning opportunities.
Assessment: Although it is somewhat narrow in scope, this book achieves its aim admirably. The information is easily accessible to a wide range of readers. The introductions, summaries, and comments on future directions reinforce the theme of each chapter. The intriguing ideas clearly have a practical application. This is definitely a worthwhile purchase for readers interested in human motor learning.