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18-02-2016 | Original Article | Uitgave 2/2017

Psychological Research 2/2017

An interpolated activity during the knowledge-of-results delay interval eliminates the learning advantages of self-controlled feedback schedules

Psychological Research > Uitgave 2/2017
Michael J. Carter, Diane M. Ste-Marie


The learning advantages of self-controlled knowledge-of-results (KR) schedules compared to yoked schedules have been linked to the optimization of the informational value of the KR received for the enhancement of one’s error-detection capabilities. This suggests that information-processing activities that occur after motor execution, but prior to receiving KR (i.e., the KR-delay interval) may underlie self-controlled KR learning advantages. The present experiment investigated whether self-controlled KR learning benefits would be eliminated if an interpolated activity was performed during the KR-delay interval. Participants practiced a waveform matching task that required two rapid elbow extension-flexion reversals in one of four groups using a factorial combination of choice (self-controlled, yoked) and KR-delay interval (empty, interpolated). The waveform had specific spatial and temporal constraints, and an overall movement time goal. The results indicated that the self-controlled + empty group had superior retention and transfer scores compared to all other groups. Moreover, the self-controlled + interpolated and yoked + interpolated groups did not differ significantly in retention and transfer; thus, the interpolated activity eliminated the typically found learning benefits of self-controlled KR. No significant differences were found between the two yoked groups. We suggest the interpolated activity interfered with information-processing activities specific to self-controlled KR conditions that occur during the KR-delay interval and that these activities are vital for reaping the associated learning benefits. These findings add to the growing evidence that challenge the motivational account of self-controlled KR learning advantages and instead highlights informational factors associated with the KR-delay interval as an important variable for motor learning under self-controlled KR schedules.

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