Mutual Skill Learning and Adaptability to Others via Haptic Interaction
Frontiers in Neurorobotics
When learning a new skill through an unknown environment, should we practice alone, or together with another beginner, or learn from the expert? It is normally helpful to have an expert guiding through unknown environmental dynamics. The guidance from the expert is fundamentally based on mutual interactions. From the perspective of the beginner, one needs to face dual unknown dynamics of the environment and motor coordination of the expert. In a cooperative visuo-haptic motor task, we asked
... ce participants to bring a virtual mass onto the specified target location under an unknown external force field. The task was completed by an individual or with an expert or another novice. In addition to evaluation of the motor performance, we evaluated the adaptability of the novice participants to a new partner while attempting to achieve a common goal together. The experiment was set in five phases; baseline for skill transfer and adaptability, learning and evaluation for adaptability and skill transfer respectively. The performance of the participants was characterized by using the time to target, effort index, and length of the trajectory. Experimental results suggested that (1) peer-to-peer interactions among paired beginners enhanced the motor learning most, (2) individuals practicing on their own (learning as a single) showed better motor learning than practicing under the expert's guidance, and (3) regarding the adaptability, peer-to-peer interactions induced higher adaptability to a new partner than the novice-to-expert interactions while attempting to achieve a common goal together. Thus, we conclude that the peer-to-peer interactions under a collaborative task can realize the best motor learning of the motor skills through the new environmental dynamics, and adaptability to others in order to achieve a goal together. We suggest that the peer-to-peer learning can induce both adaptability to others and learning of motor skills through the unknown environmental dynamics under mutual interactions. On the other hand, during the peer-to-peer interactions, the novice can learn how to coordinate motion with his/her partner (even though one is a new partner), and thus, is able to learn the motor skills through new environmental dynamics.