A perfect case for accumulated choices as an ever perfecting process even for masters.
Mastery of a skill comes only with consistent and deliberate practice over time. But a new study suggests that practice serves another crucial purpose as well – though this variety of practice comes after the skill is already mastered.
The first result was, as predicted, that with repeated practice the participants learned how to move the robotic arm against the force fields and reach the target with fewer and fewer errors, until they were nearly error free.
The next result, also predicted, was that even after participants had significantly reduced errors, more practice also reduced how much energy their muscles required to complete the tasks.
The clincher result, however, was that even after muscle activity stabilized (in other words, participants’ muscles reached an optimum energy consumption point that required less energy to complete the same tasks), energy consumption still decreased with more practice. By the end of the study, participants who had mastered the skill and continued to practice experienced a 20% reduction in energy consumption.
The takeaway — energy efficiency is a mind-muscle combo, even for top performers.
The study is published in the February 8th issue of Journal of Neuroscience