Contextual interference effect on acquisition and retention of pistol shooting skills

The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152-3480, USA.
Perceptual and Motor Skills (Impact Factor: 0.66). 09/2006; 103(1):241-52. DOI: 10.2466/PMS.103.5.241-252
Source: PubMed


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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    • "In contrast, for ecologically valid instructional settings, several studies found support for CI only at RET and transfer (e.g., Goode and Magill, 1986; French et al., 1991; Wrisberg and Liu, 1991; Bortoli et al., 1992; Keller et al., 2006; Travlos, 2010), or reported no support for CI at acquisition specifically (French et al., 1990; Hebert et al., 1996; Brady, 1997; Jones and French, 2007). "
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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. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00598 · 2.99 Impact Factor
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    • "Previous work has shown a performance advantage during retention and transfer for those who have practiced using a random schedule (Shea and Morgan, 1979; Del Rey et al., 1983; Lee and Magill, 1983; Young et al., 1993; Lee and Simon, 2004; Keller et al., 2006; Brydges et al., 2007; Choi et al., 2008; Menayo et al., 2010; Porter and Magill, 2010; Travlos, 2010). The increase in CI due to random presentation of trials of varying speeds in the current study was not powerful enough to improve performance accuracy during retention or transfer; however, random practice participants were able to decrease timing variability compared to those that practiced in blocked conditions, regardless of whether or not feedback delivery was controlled by the learner. "
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    ABSTRACT: We examined the impact of self-controlled knowledge of results on the acquisition, retention, and transfer of anticipation timing skill as a function of random and blocked practice schedules. Forty-eight undergraduate students were divided into experimental groups that practiced under varying combinations of random or blocked as well as self-controlled or yoked practice conditions. Anticipation timing performance (5, 13, and 21 mph) was recorded during acquisition and during a short term no-feedback retention test. A transfer test, administered 24 h after the retention test, consisted of two novel anticipation timing speeds (9, 17 mph). Absolute error (AE) and variable error (VE) of timing served as the dependent measures. All participants improved their accuracy and consistency across acquisition blocks; however, those who practiced under blocked rather than random conditions had greater accuracy (lower AE) regardless of feedback delivery. During retention and transfer, those who practiced under random conditions showed greater consistency (lower VE) compared to their blocked counterparts. Finally, participants who controlled their feedback schedule were more accurate (lower AE) and less variable (lower VE) during transfer compared to yoked participants, regardless of practice scheduling. Our findings indicate that practicing under a random schedule improves retention and transfer consistency, while self-control of feedback is advantageous to both the accuracy and consistency with which anticipation timing skill transfers to novel task demands. The combination of these learning manipulations, however, does not improve skill retention or transfer above and beyond their orthogonal effects.
    Frontiers in Psychology 12/2012; 3:503. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00503 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "Examination of previous studies comparing low, moderate and high interference practice schedules reveals that a number of different moderate interference schedules have been used. More specifically, moderate interference protocols have included alternating (Landin, et al., 2003; Wrisberg and Liu, 1991), blocked followed by random practice (French et al., 1990; Jarus and Goverover, 1999; Wegman, 1999), increasing interference (Porter and Magill, 2004; Porter and Magill, 2010; Porter and Saemi, 2010), randomized-blocks (Jones and French, 2007), serial (Bortoli, et al., 1992; Goode and Magill, 1986; Keller et al., 2006; Landin and Hebert, 1997), and serial-with-high-interference (Bortoli, et al., 1992). In addition to having different types of moderate protocols, the number of repetitions for block conditions and changes for random conditions were also different across studies for the same type of moderate interference. "
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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.
    Journal of sports science & medicine 06/2012; 11(2):304-311. · 1.03 Impact Factor
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