Date of Award

1999

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Craig Speelman

Abstract

The plethora of research into the area of skill acquisition and transfer has resulted in conflicting conclusions regarding the nature of transfer. Some researchers have found skill transfer to be specific to the items experienced during training (Logan, I 988, alphabet-arithmetic task; Masson, 1986, reverse reading task). Others have found transfer to be general (Speelman & Kirsner, I 997, syllogism task) or both general and specific in the same task (Greig & Speelman, 1999, algebra task). This study investigated the assumption that the task involved dictates the specific nature of skill acquisition and transfer. Sixty participants drawn from the Edith Cowan School of Psychology volunteer register were randomly assigned to four groups, with each group performing one of the afore mentioned tasks. In phase 1, learning was determined by the decreased Reaction Time (RT) for each participant from block 1 to block 8. Phase 2 involved participants being trained on a different task using one set of items and then in the transfer phase (3) participants performed the same task but with new items. Comparing RT data from block 1 phase 2 and block 1 phase 3 and from block 1 phase 3 to block 10 phase 2 assessed transfer. The syllogism task resulted in the most skill transfer due to the generalisability of the strategy employed in solving the syllogisms. This was followed by the algebra task, the alphabet-arithmetic task, and the reversed reading task. The results confirmed the a priori predictions that the nature of transfer is a function of the task involved.

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