Date of Award

2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Craig Speelman

Second Advisor

Dr Murray Maybery

Abstract

Speelman's (\999) finding that performance of a skill is based to some extent on the conter.t in which it is performed, rather than simply on the acquired skill itself, is not accounted for by the basic skill acquisition theories like ACT -R Theory or Instance Theory. The purpose of the current experiment was to examine whether the degree of change in context influences the degree of reduction in transfer. Forty participants were trained on an algebraic task and then tested in two different transfer conditions. Condition one included one new item and condition two included two new items in the transfer phase. Reaction time, the dependent variable, was measured to find out whether the performance of a learned skill was influenced by the number of new items incorporated into the transfer phase. The results showed that, with an increased number of items changed in the task, the transfer of the previously acquired skill decreased. The findings, along with those of Speelman's (1999), challenge some of the basic underlying assumptions of current theories of skill acquisition and transfer.

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