Contextual interference effect on acquisition and retention of pistol-shooting skills.
ABSTRACT The effects of contextual interference on learning pistol-shooting skills in a natural training environment were examined. The shooting skills consisted of three "stages" with different requirements for the skill variations commonly used in the field. 12 participants were randomly assigned into one of two practice conditions, blocked vs serial. Following a 20-min. safety and skill instructional session, Blocked group practiced 10 trials in a row at each stage, while Serial group performed 5 trials in a row for each of the three stages and then repeated the cycle. Both groups completed a total of 30 practice trials over the three stages. A 10-min. rest interval was provided prior to a retention test which included 9 trials (3 trials at each stage in a blocked format). Results based on the data of Stage III, the most complex skill among the three stages, showed a pattern consistent with previous findings that practicing in the serial schedule depressed performance during initial training but maintained the performance better at retention, relative to the blocked practice.
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ABSTRACT: Variability of Practice (VOP) refers to the acquisition of a particular target movement by practicing a range of varying targets rather than by focusing on fixed repetitions of the target only. VOP has been demonstrated to have beneficial effects on transfer to a novel task and on skill consolidation. This study extends the line of research to musical practice. In a task resembling a barrier-knockdown paradigm, 36 music students trained to perform a wide left-hand interval leap on the piano. Performance at the target distance was tested before and after a 30-min standardized training session. The high-variability group (VAR) practiced four different intervals including the target. Another group (FIX) practiced the target interval only. A third group (SPA) performed spaced practice on the target only, interweaving with periods of not playing. Transfer was tested by introducing an interval novel to either group. After a 24-h period with no further exposure to the instrument, performance was retested. All groups performed at comparable error levels before training, after training, and after the retention (RET) interval. At transfer, however, the FIX group, unlike the other groups, committed significantly more errors than in the target task. After the RET period, the effect was washed out for the FIX group but then was present for VAR. Thus, the results provide only partial support for the VOP hypothesis for the given setting. Additional exploratory observations suggest tentative benefits of VOP regarding execution speed, loudness, and performance confidence. We derive specific hypotheses and specific recommendations regarding sample selection and intervention duration for future investigations. Furthermore, the proposed leap task measurement is shown to be (a) robust enough to serve as a standard framework for studies in the music domain, yet (b) versatile enough to allow for a wide range of designs not previously investigated for music on a standardized basis.Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 08/2014; 8:598. · 2.91 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Procedural learning refers to the ability to learn new perceptual, motor or cognitive skills. While many studies have explored procedural learning abilities in patients with different types of brain damage, the cognitive mechanisms involved in the acquisition of a new skill are still not well understood. The present review focuses on the conditions that optimise skill acquisition, and more specifically on the contextual interference effect (CIE), which refers to the advantage of a 'random' over a 'blocked' practice condition in skill learning tasks. According to both the 'elaboration' and 'reconstruction' hypotheses, the CIE can be explained by the fact that the random schedule requires more cognitive activity than the blocked one. However, if the CIE has been consistently demonstrated in laboratory studies, it is not so clear in field-based studies. We discuss this 'laboratory and field dilemma', and suggest that two main factors - task complexity and individual variables - may explain the discrepancy between the two types of studies.Psychologica Belgica 01/2011; 51(1):15-48. · 0.47 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To overcome the weakness of the contextual interference (CI) effect within applied settings, Brady, 2008 recommended that the amount of interference be manipulated. This study investigated the effect of five practice schedules on the learning of three field hockey skills. Fifty-five pre-university students performed a total of 90 trials for each skill under blocked, mixed or random practice orders. Results showed a significant time effect with all five practice conditions leading to improvements in acquisition and learning of the skills. No significant differences were found between the groups. The findings of the present study did not support the CI effect and suggest that either blocked, mixed, or random practice schedules can be used effectively when structuring practice for beginners. Key pointsThe contextual interference effect did not surface when using sport skills.There appears to be no difference between blocked and random practice schedules in the learning of field hockey skills.Low (blocked), moderate (mixed) or high (random) interference practice schedules can be used effectively when conducting a multiple skill practice session for beginners.Journal of sports science & medicine 01/2012; 11(2):304-11. · 0.89 Impact Factor