Learning a new motor skill typically requires converting actions observed from a third-person perspective into fluid motor commands executed from a first-person perspective. In the present study, we test the hypothesis that during motor learning, the ability to discriminate between actions that have been observed and actions that have been executed is associated with learning aptitude, as assessed by a general measure of physical performance. Using a multi-day dance-training paradigm with a group of dance-naïve participants, we investigated whether actions that had been regularly observed could be discriminated from similar actions that had been physically practised over the course of three days, or a further set of similar actions that remained untrained. Training gains and performance scores at test were correlated with participants’ ability to discriminate between observed and practised actions, suggesting that an individual's ability to differentiate between visual versus visuomotor action encoding is associated with general motor learning.
Sumanapala, D. K., Fish, L. A., Jones, A. L., & Cross, E. S. (2017). Have I grooved to this before? Discriminating practised and observed actions in a novel context. Acta Psychologica, 175, 42–49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2017.02.008