Background Identifying personality factors that account for individual differences in surgical training and performance has practical implications for surgical education. Movement-specific reinvestment is a potentially relevant personality factor that has a moderating effect on laparoscopic performance under time pressure. Movement-specific reinvestment has 2 dimensions, which represent an individual's propensity to consciously control movements (conscious motor processing) or to consciously monitor their 'style' of movement (movement self-consciousness). Objective This study aimed at investigating the moderating effects of the 2 dimensions of movement-specific reinvestment in the learning and updating (cross-handed technique) of laparoscopic skills. Methods Medical students completed the Movement-Specific Reinvestment Scale, a psychometric assessment tool that evaluates the conscious motor processing and movement self-consciousness dimensions of movement-specific reinvestment. They were then trained to a criterion level of proficiency on a fundamental laparoscopic skills task and were tested on a novel cross-handed technique. Completion times were recorded for early-learning, late-learning, and cross-handed trials. Results Propensity for movement self-consciousness but not conscious motor processing was a significant predictor of task completion times both early (p = 0.036) and late (p = 0.002) in learning, but completion times during the cross-handed trials were predicted by the propensity for conscious motor processing (p = 0.04) rather than movement self-consciousness (p = 0.21). Conclusion Higher propensity for movement self-consciousness is associated with slower performance times on novel and well-practiced laparoscopic tasks. For complex surgical techniques, however, conscious motor processing plays a more influential role in performance than movement self-consciousness. The findings imply that these 2 dimensions of movement-specific reinvestment have a differential influence in the learning and updating of laparoscopic skills.
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