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Thana Hodge and Janice M. Deakin

This study used participants from the martial arts (karate) to examine the influence of context in the acquisition of novel motor sequences and the applicability of Ericsson, Krampe, and Tesch-Romer's (1993) theory of deliberate practice in this athletic domain. The presence of context did not benefit recall performance for the experts. The performance of the novice group was hindered by the presence of context. Evaluation of the role of deliberate practice in expert performance was assessed through retrospective questionnaires. The findings related to the relationship between relevance and effort, and relevance and enjoyment diverged from Ericsson et al.'s (1993) definition of deliberate practice, suggesting that adaptations should be made if it is to be considered general theory of expertise.

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Janice M. Deakin, Janet L. Starkes, and Digby Elliott

The influence of exercise-induced arousal on the processing of visual information by three age groups was tested. Subjects were required to perform the Treisman visual detection task both at rest and during a steady-state walk at 75% of their maximum heart rate. The expected age differences in perceptual performance were apparent. The detection performance of 8-year-olds was poorer than that of 11-year-olds and adults. Detection of conjoined feature targets, with increases in the array size, showed a decrement in comparison to single feature targets. Subjects responded more quickly at all levels of distraction when a target was present while they were exercising. The results supported certain elements of Treisman's feature integration theory. This study has provided evidence that an exercise stress equivalent to 75 % of maximum heart rate had a positive effect on the visual perceptual performance of all groups tested. Both array size and feature conditions interacted with age. This suggests that children are not able to avoid irrelevant information as effectively as adults. In addition, children are differentially affected by different target characteristics in the detection task.

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Janet L. Starkes, Janice M. Deakin, Susan Lindley, and Freda Crisp

Two experiments investigated the role of motor performance, and the role of music in the retention and recall of ballet sequences by young expert dancers. Experiment 1 examined 11-year-old expert (N=8) and novice (N=8) dancers, to determine the influence of motor performance in the recall of ballet steps. Subjects were presented with two conditions, either structured choreographed or unstructured sequences. All sequences consisted of eight steps or elements. Subjects recalled both types of sequences motorically by simply performing the steps. Verbal recall was also assessed for structured sequences. Results from analyses of variance indicated main effects of skill, recall condition, and serial position across elements. Experts recalled more than novices, structured sequences were recalled better than nonstructured, and the last sequence element was recalled less. An interaction of Skill X Recall Condition x Serial Position revealed that although experts and novices performed the same on unstructured trials, their performances differed for motor versus verbal structured trials, particularly on the last elements. Experiment 2 examined only expert dancers (i¥=8) on structured sequences and determined whether the presence of music at time of recall aided retention. Correlated t tests revealed that with music, recall was maintained across all eight elements; without music, recall of the last element suffered.