Document Type : Research Paper I Open Access I Released under CC BY-NC 4.0 license


1 Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz

2 University of Tehran


Learning motor tasks is one of the fundamental attributes of mankind's
experiences and is a collection of sensitive, cognitive and motor processes. Many
of complex motor behaviors are performed based on a type of order or sequence.
In the present study, the developmental differences in motor sequence learning
were examined in three groups of children (age range 7,8,10 yr) and one control
group of adults. For this purpose, the professional software of sequential stimuli,
time record and response error was designed in C++. 48 right-handed participants
(3 groups of 12 children and 1 group of 12 adults) who were healthy in their
nervous system and had no prior experience of the mentioned task participated in
this study. The intervention included 10 stages (8 stages for acquisition and 2
stages for retention). Performance was assessed by examining changes in accuracy
and response coordination. The data were analyzed with factor analysis of
variance and Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. The results showed a developmental
progression in motor sequence learning in all groups. Interestingly, different
developmental trajectories were observed in response accuracy and coordination.
There was a significant difference in response accuracy between 7,8-year-old
groups and adults and 10-year-old groups in the acquisition phase but no
significant difference was observed between adults and 10-year-old-group. For
response coordination, adults responded to the stimuli more synchronously than all
children and 10-year-old group responded more quickly than 6-year-old group. In
the retention test, for response accuracy, 10-year-old group's performance was
similar to adults and for response coordination, adults performed more 
synchronously than all groups but 7-year-old group had a delay in response
coordination compared to the other groups. Overall, the differences observed in
response accuracy and coordination was consistent with the hypothesis that
accuracy may rely on cortical pathways that show their greatest maturation
between ages of 7 and 10 whereas coordination may rely on subcortical pathways
that continue to develop into young adulthood. The findings suggested that in one
hand, various aspects of motor development influence motor learning and on the
other hand during the learning of different components of a task, parameters that
are more difficult with regard to motor control ( for example response
coordination) are acquired and maintained in a longer process.