This experiment extended previous findings on whether model characteristics affect attentional subprocesses and mediate performance changes in an observational learning setting. College women (N = 75) were randomly assigned to groups in a 2 x 2 (Cueing by Model Similarity) factorial design or to a no-model control group. To assess attentional differences, subjects were cued either prior to or subsequent to a demonstration as to model characteristics, and model similarity was manipulated by having subjects view a similar or dissimilar model. All subjects saw the same videotaped demonstration, only their perceptions of model characteristics were manipulated. Subjects performed 20 performance trials in Phase 1 with outcome knowledge of results (KR) and, after a 1-rnin rest period, were given 10 more performance trials without KR in Phase 2. The results from Phase 1 indicated that subjects performed better after watching a model they perceived to be similar than after one they perceived as dissimilar. Phase 2 data indicated that all subjects were performing similarly in terms of outcome scores but that the control group was using a different strategy than the demonstration groups. The investigation found support for performance differences dependent on model characteristics and pointed to the need to examine more than outcome scores when assessing observational learning effects.
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