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Title:Exploration and the acquisition of skill
Author(s):McDonald, Paul Vernon
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Newell, Karl M.
Department / Program:Kinesiology and Community Health
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Physical
Education, Educational Psychology
Psychology, Experimental
Abstract:The two goals pursued in this study were a description of the process of exploration in acquiring a novel perceptual-motor skill, and an evaluation of the impact of this acquisition process on the perceptual-motor workspace. The process of learning a novel perceptual-motor skill entails a search for solutions to the task. This process of exploratory behavior reflects the layout of the perceptual-motor workspace which is described in terms of attractors and separatrices. The perceptual-motor workspace emerges from the constraints arising from the task, the learner, and the environment. This study reports a single investigation of 6 subjects learning a novel rhythmical task which was designed to prompt some form of adaptation of the well documented bistable workspace layout underlying dual-limb coordination.
Generally, subjects initially utilized pre-existing coordination modes to perform the task. Of considerable interest was the predominant use of the more unstable of the available modes which is consistent with other two-limb coordination data, and holds implications for future investigations of exploration and learning. In particular, the evaluation of the relative stability of available modes of action will provide important information regarding the potentially preferable exploratory strategies. The workspace did change with respect to preferred oscillation period, but not in terms of relative phase. The implication is that substantial work that remains to be conducted to establish a satisfactory test of transfer effects. The evaluation of transfer effects may be a multi-dimensional exercise involving tests of the stability of pre-existing modes in the workspace; the location and form of inter-modal boundaries, and modifications of global and local relaxation dynamics.
In conclusion, while the diversity and richness of the adaptive learning capabilities of humans were barely stretched in this experiment, the theoretical framework pursued in this study seems well suited for future, more taxing, investigations. The utility of firmly establishing a priori the constraints on perception and action becomes apparent in a description of the perceptual-motor workspace. This subsequently leads one toward the establishment of an appropriate frame of reference, a long standing problem in behavioral research.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 McDonald, Paul Vernon
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9236538
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9236538

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