Altering mindset can enhance motor learning in older adults

Gabriele Wulf, Suzete Chiviacowsky, Rebecca Lewthwaite
2012 Psychology and Aging  
Beliefs about personal capability have been shown to affect performance. Lowered ability expectations due to older age may themselves contribute to a decline in performance. In the present study, we investigated whether enhancing older adults' performance expectancies would facilitate the learning of a novel balance task. In Experiment 1, providing older women (71 years) with fabricated feedback indicating that their performance was above average reduced their ability-related concerns and
more » ... sness, and resulted in more effective balance learning, compared with a control group. In Experiment 2, also involving older women (64 years), a simple statement made at the beginning of practice, suggesting that their peers usually do well on that task, enhanced participants' self-efficacy and learning of the task. These results demonstrate that motor performance and learning in older age can be influenced quickly and positively by enhancing individuals' ability perceptions.
doi:10.1037/a0025718 pmid:21988153 fatcat:u6gunpjvofba7iir7ftaojfho4