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The Effect of Cognitive Conflict on the Development of a Motor Sequence

Moll, Benjamin (2013) The Effect of Cognitive Conflict on the Development of a Motor Sequence.

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Abstract:Research has shown that automatic processes can have a positive influence on cognitive control. We investigated whether this effect is also valid in the reverse direction. The present study examines the effect of cognitive conflict on the development of a motor sequence. 48 participants completed a combination of the Stroop task and a discrete sequence production task. The responses to the Stroop stimuli formed two motor sequences that participants learned over the course of six training blocks. Participants were assigned to one of three conditions with varying amounts of conflict: a neutral condition, a low conflict condition and a high conflict condition. We looked for differences in the improvement of the reaction times over the course of six training blocks between the three conflict conditions. A faster decrease in reaction times would indicate a faster learning of the motor sequences. After the training blocks, two test blocks were conducted. In one of the test blocks, the same sequences as in the training blocks were used, whereas in the other test block, two new sequences were used. All conditions completed the same test blocks with a high amount of cognitive conflict. Although no significant proof was found to support our hypothesis that cognitive control does have influence on the development of a motor sequence, there was a difference in the improvement of reaction time between the low and the high conflict condition in the training blocks. The reaction times decreased faster for participants in the high conflict condition compared to the low conflict condition. This indicates that cognitive conflict can have an influence on the development of a motor sequence. Although the difference between the three conflict conditions was not large enough to be considered significant, our observations went in the by our hypothesis expected direction and so it seems promising to further investigate the relationship between cognitive conflict and motor learning.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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