Self-control of KR during acquisition does not always influence performance in retention, dual task, and transfer tests


This study examined the influence of participants' control over their own knowledge of results (KR) schedule during acquisition on tests of learning. Acquisition consisted of 90 trials performing a 5-key sequence with a goal time of 2550ms. Participants in the self-control group chose whether or not to receive KR (time in ms) following each trial. In the other group, each participant was yoked to a self-control participant, and followed the KR schedule chosen by that counterpart.  Three tests of learning were administered 10m and again 24h post-practice: a retention test (the task performed in acquisition), a dual-task test (the task performed in acquisition while concurrently performing a tone recognition and counting task), and a transfer test (a key-pressing sequence with a novel timing goal). No KR was provided for any of the learning tests. Those in the self-control group were predicted to 1) perform better on the transfer tests, indicative of a better-developed schema and 2) perform worse on the dual-task tests, indicative of greater use of working memory during acquisition than the yoked group. Performance on block nine was improved significantly from block one of acquisition. Test effects were present in tests of learning with participants producing significantly less error in retention than dual-task and transfer tests. No group differences were seen in acquisition or in tests of learning. These results suggest that neither practice condition created a more favourable training environment for developing a schema from which to extrapolate novel performances. The results suggest that both groups likely learned under explicit processes as both groups decreased in performance from retention to dual-task tests.  The lack of group differences, replicating previous work may be due to differences in chosen KR schedules or the inclusion of  the dual-task test.

Acknowledgments: This study was supported by NSERC