University of Twente Student Theses


Context-dependent learning in a SRT task

Annema, J-H (2006) Context-dependent learning in a SRT task.

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Abstract:For years it has been recognized that retrieval from memory in a recall task is context dependent (Godden & Baddeley, 1975; Smith, 1985) In Wright en Shea (1989) the examination of contextual dependency was extended to memory for perceptual-mototr responses. Subjects performed a series of typing sequences, in which each sequence was consistently mapped with incidental context (background colour, shape of key designation, position of key designation and tone). During retention trials the context of sequences was switched, resulting in an increase in error percentage. In a follow-up experiment context dependency fot motor skill acquisition was also found using reaction times as the dependent variable (Shea & Wright, 1995) It could be theorized that context asserts a greater effect on retention of implicitly learned skills. Implicit learning has been found to play a role in sequential learning. In this experiment the development of contextual dependencies during motor skill acquisition will be examined using a serial reaction time task (SRT). Contextual dependencies will be examined by changing the background colour of the screen, the shape of the key designators, and position of the key designators between the acquisition and testing blocks. In the present experiment the question whether perceptual-motor skill acquisition can be context-dependent was addressed. The experiment was conducted in a static environment. This means the irrelevant stimuli did not co-vary with the task relevant stimuli. The serial reaction-time task paradigm (SRT, Nissen & Bullemer, 1987) was used. Effects on performance were assessed of three changes in perceptual context properties between acquisition and testing. These three changes were a change in background colour of the display, in shape of the possible stimulus locations and in position on the display of the possible stimuli locations. The extent to which awareness of the sequence in the SRT influences the development of contextual dependencies, was also examined. The results suggest that perceptual-motor skill acquisition can be context-dependent in the examined situation, but that the effect depends on which context property is changed. A detrimental effect was found on performance when shape was changed, but not when background colour or position were. No results were found that would suggest that the extent to which participants were aware of the sequence in the SRT had an influence on the development of contextual dependencies
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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