Skill transfer specificity shapes perception and action under varying environmental constraints

Ludovic Seifert*, Léo Wattebled, Dominic Orth, Maxime L'Hermette, Jérémie Boulanger, Keith Davids

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Using an ecological dynamics framework, this study investigated the generality and specificity of skill transfer processes in organisation of perception and action using climbing as a task vehicle. Fluency of hip trajectory and orientation was assessed using normalized jerk coefficients exhibited by participants as they adapted perception and action under varying environmental constraints. Twelve recreational climbers were divided into two groups: one completing a 10-m high route on an indoor climbing wall; a second undertaking a 10-m high route on an icefall in a top-rope condition. We maintained the same level of difficulty between these two performance environments. An inertial measurement unit was attached each climber's hips to collect 3D acceleration and 3D orientation data to compute jerk coefficient values. Video footage was used to record the ratio of exploratory/performatory movements. Results showed higher jerk coefficient values and number of exploratory movements for performance on the icefall route, perhaps due to greater functional complexity in perception and action required when climbing icefalls, which involves use of specific tools for anchorage. Findings demonstrated how individuals solve different motor problems, exploiting positive general transfer processes enabling participants to explore the pick-up of information for the perception of affordances specific to icefall climbing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-141
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Movement Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Affordances
  • Ecological dynamics
  • Perception and action
  • Tool use
  • Transfer


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