METHODS: This study used a single-blind randomized experimental design. Forty healthy male (n = 26) and female (n = 14) chiropractic student volunteers with no formal training in spinal manipulative therapy participated. Biomechanical parameters of an L4 mammillary push spinal manipulation procedure performed by novice operators were quantified. Participants were randomly assigned to 2 groups and paired. One group received visual feedback from load-time histories of their performance compared with a criterion standard before a repeat performance. Participants then performed a 10-minute distractive exercise consisting of National Board of Chiropractic Examiners review questions. The second group received no feedback. An independent rating of performance was conducted for each participant by his/her partner. Results were analyzed separately for biomechanical parameters for partner ratings using the Student t test with levels of significance (P < .01) adjusted for repeated testing.
RESULTS: Expressed in percent change for each individual, visual feedback was associated with change in the biomechanical performance of group 2, a minimum of 14% and a maximum of 32%. Statistical analysis rating of the performance favored the feedback group on 4 of the parameters (fast, P < .0008; force, P < .0056; precision, P < .0034; and composite, P < .0016).
CONCLUSION: Quantitative feedback, based on a tangible conceptualization of the target performance, resulted in immediate and significant improvement in all measured parameters. Newly developed skills were retained at least over short intervals even after distractive tasks. Learning what to do with feedback on one's own performance may be more important than the classic teaching of how to do it.
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