Analogy learning in Parkinson's disease: A proof-of-concept study

Li-Juan Jie, Victoria Goodwin, Melanie Kleynen, Susy Braun, Michael Nunns, Mark Wilson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Web of Science)


Background/Aims: Analogy learning is a motor learning strategy that uses biomechanical metaphors to chunk together explicit rules of a to-be-learned motor skill. This proof-of-concept study establishes the feasibility and potential benefits of analogy learning in enhancing stride length regulation in people with Parkinson's disease. Methods: Walking performance of thirteen individuals with Parkinson's disease was analysed using a Codamotion analysis system. An analogy instruction: 'following footprints in the sand' was practised over eight walking trials. Single-and dual-task (motor and cognitive) conditions were measured before training, immediately after training and 4 weeks post training. Finally, an evaluation form was completed to examine the intervention's feasibility. Findings: Data from 12 individuals (6 females and 6 males, mean age 70, Hoehn and Yahr grade I-III) were analysed; one person withdrew due to back problems. In the single-task condition, statistically and clinically relevant improvements were obtained. A positive trend towards reducing dual-task costs after the intervention was demonstrated, supporting the relatively implicit nature of the analogy. Participants reported that the analogy was simple to use and became easier over time. Conclusions: Analogy learning is a feasible and potentially implicit (i. e. reduced working memory demands) intervention to facilitate walking performance in people with Parkinson's disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-130
JournalInternational Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Analogy
  • Gait
  • Implicit motor learning
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Rehabilitation

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