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Flashcards in Problem 7 Deck (49)
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Refers to an ability that can improve over time through practice


Perceptual motor skill

Refer to learned MOVEMENT patterns guided by sensory inputs

--> depends on physical abilities/dexterity
--> more likely to be learned implicitly

ex.: dancing, drinking out of a glass


Cognitive skill

Refer to skills that require PROBLEM SOLVING or the application of strategies

--> depends on intellectual prowess

ex.: budgeting money, taking tests


Skill memories

Are long lasting + can be improved by repeated experiences

--> can't always be verbalized
--> nondeclarative/implicit memories


Closed skills

Refers to a skill that involves performing predefined movements that, ideally, never vary

ex.: gymnastics/dance choreography


Open skills

Refers to a skill that requires the individual to respond based on predictions about the changing demands of the environment

ex.: soccer players in a soccer match


Which comes first ? Cognitive or perceptual-motor skill memory ?

Perceptual motor skill memories provide the foundation for learning cognitive skills

--> many cognitive skills are difficult/impossible to acquire without first learning basic perceptual motor skills

ex.: must learn how to produce speech before able to read


Can Nonhumans have cognitive skill memories ?

There is evidence that animals in the wild can teach themselves to use tools

--> this is an ability which often involves perceptual motor + cognitive skills

BUT: Not all animals are equally capable of learning complex cognitive + perceptual motor skills


Is Repetition/Practice sufficient to improve performance when it comes to skill learning ?

No, other important factors are

1. Knowledge of results

2. Observational learning
--> which overpowers the power law

3. Gradual + spaced training
--> takes more time + less effort = better results


Knowledge of results

Refers to the FEEDBACK of performance, which is critical to the effectiveness of practice

--> not all feedback is equally helpful
--> one must therefore discover which kinds are helpful through trial + error


Power law of practice

States that the degree to which a practice trial improves performance diminishes after a certain point

--> learning occurs quickly at first, then slows down


Observational learning

By observing one forms memories of the observed performance techniques that one can later use to improve ones own performance

--> overpowers power law of practice


Massed practice

Refers to a continuous + concentrated practice of skill

--> produces better performance in SHORT TERM


Spaced practice

Refers to practice of a skill that is spread out over several sessions

--> often leads to better retention in the LONG RUN


Constant practice

Consists of repeatedly practicing the same skill

--> involves a constrained set of materials + skills

ex.: repeatedly throwing dart at bulls eye under fixed lightening conditions


Variable practice

Consist of practicing a skill in a wider variety of conditions

--> involves more varied materials + skills
--> leads to better performance in tests

ex.: throwing dart at different numbers under various levels of light


Explicit learning

Refers to learning a skill consciously + being able to verbalize how the skills is performed/done

--> creates explicit memories


Implicit learning

Refers to learning a skill unconsciously + not able to verbalize these skills

--> creates implicit memories


Serial reaction time task

1. Participants are asked to press 1 of 4 keys as soon as a visual cue indicates which key to press

2. After a certain amount of time one begins to get a feel for the repeating SEQUENTIAL patterns

3. Therefore one anticipates which key to press next as reflected by FASTER reaction time

--> used to study implicit skill learning in people


Motor programs/

Refer to sequences of movements that an organism can perform automatically + with minimal attention

--> either inborn or learned
--> reflexes can only be inborn !


Paul Fitts 3 stages of skill learning

1. Cognitive stage

2. Associative stage

3. Autonomous stage


Cognitive stage

The individual has to exert some effort to ENCODE the skill on the basis of info gained through

a) observation
b) instruction
c) trial + error

--> understanding + following instructions


Associative stage

The individual begins USING STEREOTYPED ACTIONS when performing a skill + relies less on actively recalled memories

--> remembering + reenacting previously performed actions


Autonomous stage

Skills or subcomponents of the skills have become MOTOR PROGRAMS

--> thinking too much about skill might impair performance
--> it is now impossible to verbalize them



Refers to a persons genetically endowed ability to perform a skill better than most

--> the more practice people have, the more performances differ due to genetic differences


Transfer specificity

Refers to the restricted applicability of learned skills to specific situations

--> not all learned skills can be applied to every situation


Identical elements theory

States that the transfer of learned abilities to novel situations depends on the number of elements in the new situation that are identical to those in the original situation


Learning set formation

Acquiring the ability to learn novel tasks rapidly based on frequent experiences with similar tasks

--> generalizing learned skills depends on the similarity between the conditions during retrieval + conditions experience while learning the skill

ex.: knowing how to a open a door due to previous encounters with doors


Skill decay

Refers to a loss of skill because of non-use

--> is like learning the skill in reverse
--> occurs quickly at first then gets slower


What will elicit retrieval interference of skills ? Why ?

1. Reviewing a recently learned skill before beginning to practice a new one

2. Practicing 2 skills on the same day

--> there is an intimate relationship between skill acquisition + skill recall

--> newly acquired memories are fragile