If you're trying to master a skill, it may be best to practice with a partner, reports Medical News Today.

Researchers from the Imperial College of London and teams from two Japanese institutions asked 68 volunteers to operate a robotic joystick in order to track a moving target on a computer screen.

In several trials, the participants had to do the task on their own, but there were times when they were connected to a partner using a similar device by a “virtual elastic band.” Although they could feel the movements of their counterparts, they were not consciously aware of it.

According to the results, participants worked better with partners, and their skill master improved faster during collaborations than when they were left to their own devices.

“They say it takes two to tango and it seems that for physical tasks, practicing with a partner really does improve performance,” says researcher Dr. Etienne Burdet. “Our study is helping us to understand how touch plays a vital and very subtle role in helping people transmit information to one another. This was the case in our study even when people couldn't see their partner or feel their partner's skin.”

Scientists are now looking for new ways to apply these findings in rehabilitation efforts of individuals who have suffered stroke.


(Photo by Lida via Flickr Creative Commons)

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