Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Science

Faculty

Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science

First Advisor

Professor Craig Speelman

Abstract

Investigation into the influence of contextual information on performance of an automatic task has found inconsistent results. The majority of studies have investigated whether changing the context of a simple cognitive task can inhibit an automatic response, but do not review whether context can help the development of automatic responding. The current study examined whether bringing awareness to the context of a simple numerosity task could aid the development of automaticity. It also examined whether participants were aware of when automaticity developed for them via a post-test interview. The numerosity task used in this study was a simple counting task requiring a numerosity response to stimuli presented on a computer screen, like that used in Lassaline and Logan (1993). Thirty-four participants were divided into an experimental group (n=17) and a control group (n=17), and completed 30 blocks of 18 trials on the simple counting and numerosity task. The experimental group was provided with the information that the stimuli repeat many times over practice in the written instructions before beginning the task. The results showed no significant differences in the way automatic processing developed between groups. Similarly participants were not aware of when the transition from controlled to automatic processing developed. These results have theoretical and practical implications for instance theory and learning of basic mathematical skills

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