"Using the Wii will be a great way to recruit subjects," says Professor Marcia O'Malley of Rice University. "We can say, 'Hey, kids, come play some games!" Which, to me, sounds like a relatively harmless invitation compared to studying what's termed "cognitive modeling of human motor skill acquisition." Along with fellow Rice professor Michael Byrne, O'Malley is making use of the Nintendo Wii in order to codify learning systems in ways that can be used in a range of human endeavors, from sports to surgery.
Their studies will focus on three types of learners. "There are experts who learn at a slow, steady pace, but they get there," O'Malley said. "There are novices, who learn at a slow, steady pace, but sometimes they never get there. And then there are those who start off awful, but somewhere in the middle of training they suddenly 'get it.'" And what O'Malley and Byrne want to find out is if they can -- with the Wii -- have people "get it" at a quicker pace.
are available at the Rice University National Media Site.