Dexterity and Its Development

By Mark L. Latash; Michael T. Turvey et al. | Go to book overview

Essay 6
On Exercise and Motor Skill

HOW WE SHOULD NOT THINK ABOUT MOTOR SKILL

Since ancient times, one of the specific features of human beings (and some closely related animals) has attracted the attention of intelligent people. Machines and tools deteriorate with use; they wear out, loosen up, and generally become worse. The best machines are those that do not require repair for long periods of time. The situation with the "human machine" is the opposite. The longer a human participates in a certain activity, the better he or she performs it. A living organism not only does not deteriorate during work but, quite the opposite, becomes stronger, quicker, more enduring, more adroit and dexterous, particularly with respect to the type of activity that has been performed. This feature of living organisms has been termed exercisability.

Frequently, it is harder to explain a phenomenon than to notice it and to use it in practice. This is true for exercisability, which happens to be a widespread phenomenon. After discovering it in animals, humans started to tame them, that is, to train and exercise them in helpful skills. However, the nature and essence of this basic difference between living beings and machines was difficult to discover.

Since long ago, physicians held tenaciously to a superstition, one they have just now begun to give up--the idea that live nature differs from "dead" nature by the presence of a so-called "vital force." Many phenomena were in need of explanation, an explanation that required the introduction of the notion of a "vital force." Everywhere one could see how living organisms energetically strug

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Dexterity and Its Development
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Resources for Ecological Psychology ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Resources for Ecological Psychology ix
  • Series Dedication x
  • Part I on Dexterity and Its Development 1
  • Introduction 3
  • Essay 1 What Is Dexterity? 9
  • Essay2 on Motor Control 25
  • Essay3 on the Origin of Movements 45
  • Essay 4 on the Construction of Movements 97
  • Essays 5 Levels of Construction of Movements 115
  • Essay 6 on Exercise and Motor Skill 171
  • Essay 7 Dexterity and Its Features 207
  • From the Author 237
  • Part II Commentaries 245
  • N. A. Bernstein: the Reformer of Neuroscience 247
  • References 275
  • The Bernstein Problem: How Does the Central Nervous System Make Its Choices? 277
  • On the Biomechanical Basis of Dexterity 305
  • Dynamics of Bernstein's Level of Synergies 339
  • Dexterity in Cascade Juggling 377
  • Change in Movement and Skill: Learning, Retention, and Transfer 393
  • Further Reading 429
  • The Primacy of Action in Development 431
  • References 450
  • Author Index 453
  • Subject Index 457
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