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ERIC Number: EJ896337
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 36
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Loss of Cognitive Skill across Delays: Constraints for Theories of Cognitive Skill Acquisition
Wilkins, Nicolas J.; Rawson, Katherine A.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v36 n5 p1134-1149 Sep 2010
Mastering a cognitive skill requires many practice sessions, occurring over a period of days, weeks, months, or even years. Although a large body of research describes and explains gains made within a given practice session, few studies have investigated what happens to these gains across a delay, and none have examined effects of delays on item-general gains. Across 3 experiments, participants performed alphabet arithmetic verification in an initial practice session followed by a test session after a delay (from 0 to 30 days). All experiments included conditions yielding item-general practice gains; Experiments 2-3 also included an item-specific practice condition. Surprisingly, item-general gains were relatively well preserved across a delay (e.g., only 6.7% decrease in practice effects after 2 days), whereas item-specific gains showed sizeable losses across a delay (e.g., 25.9% loss after 2 days). Results provide important empirical constraints to theories of cognitive skill acquisition. (Contains 10 tables, 4 figures and 2 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio