St. Louis Cardinals slugger Pujols gets Babe Ruth test at Washington University

Daniel Stier / GQ, September 2006El Hombre vs. The BabeBaseball purists, especially those of Yankee allegiance, might argue that St. Louis Cardinals homerun-hitting superstar Albert Pujols is simply not in the same league as legendary New York Yankees slugger Babe Ruth. Science may never settle that argument, but researchers at Washington University in St. Louis can offer some sense of how Pujols stacks up to the Babe in terms of skills necessary to hit the long ball. Pujols visited WUSTL to take part in a series of lab tests similar to those conducted on Ruth in 1921.

Researchers find new learning strategy

In the Thoroughman laboratory, volunteers play games on a computer screeen using a robotic arm so that Thoroughman and his colleagues can study how people learn motor skills.Central to being human is the ability to adapt: We learn from our mistakes. Previous theories of learning have assumed that the size of learning naturally scales with the size of the mistake. But now biomedical engineers at Washington University in St. Louis have shown that people can use alternative strategies: Learning does not necessarily scale proportionally with error.

Biomedical engineer shows how people learn motor skills

Photo by David Kilper / WUSTL PhotoThoroughman (background) and Taylor tracked the moves that people make.Practice makes perfect when people learn behaviors, from baseball pitching to chess playing to public speaking. Biomedical engineers at Washington University in St. Louis have now identified how people use individual experiences to improve performance.