Analogy Learning and the Performance of Motor Skills under Pressure

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

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Wing Kai LamUniversity of Hong Kong

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Jon P. MaxwellUniversity of Hong Kong

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Richard MastersUniversity of Hong Kong

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The efficacy of analogical instruction, relative to explicit instruction, for the acquisition of a complex motor skill and subsequent performance under pressure was investigated using a modified (seated) basketball shooting task. Differences in attentional resource allocation associated with analogy and explicit learning were also examined using probe reaction times (PRT). Access to task-relevant explicit (declarative) knowledge was assessed. The analogy and explicit learning groups performed equally well during learning and delayed retention tests. The explicit group experienced a drop in performance during a pressured transfer test, relative to their performance during a preceding retention test. However, the analogy group's performance was unaffected by the pressure manipulation. Results from PRTs suggested that both groups allocated equal amounts of attentional resources to the task throughout learning and test trials. Analogy learners had significantly less access to rules about the mechanics of their movements, relative to explicit learners. The results are interpreted in the context of Eysenck and Calvo's (1992) processing efficiency theory and Masters's (1992) theory of reinvestment.

Lam is now with the Sports Conditioning and Health unit of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong. Maxwell is deceased. Masters is with the Institute of Human Performance, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

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