Training Specificity across Speeded Choice Tasks

Lynch, Casey (2014). Training Specificity across Speeded Choice Tasks Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Lynch, Casey
Thesis Title Training Specificity across Speeded Choice Tasks
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2014-10-08
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Paul Dux
Total pages 96
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary The capacity limits of the human attentional system are well documented. Such limits are reflected in the psychological refractory period (PRP) effect: the slowing in reaction time to a second data-unlimited target requiring a speeded response, the closer in time it appears to an initial data-unlimited, speeded response target. Fortunately, a growing body of evidence suggests that sensory motor training can attenuate the PRP. What remains unclear, however, is how task specific training has to be to enhance performance. I tested the extent to which training can transfer across five single speeded choice tasks with similar attentional requirements but with varying degrees of abstraction (visual and auditory stimuli as well as manual and vocal responses). Participants underwent baseline performance testing on each task, followed by a training regimen in which they trained at either one of the relevant tasks or an irrelevant visual search task (an active control group). Participants were then re-tested on the initial five tasks. Training-induced performance improvements were only evident for the relevant training group and only for the task that they trained on. That is, no transfer of training was observed for the other four tasks. This suggests that sensory motor training may be highly task specific. These results have implications for theories of cognitive training and information processing capacity limits in the brain. They also offer guidance for the design of training programs that are aimed at enhancing cognition.
Keyword training

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Created: Mon, 27 Apr 2015, 13:53:30 EST by Anita Whybrow on behalf of School of Psychology