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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effects of massed and distributed practice upon motor performance and learning in groups of different initial ability Pouliot, Jacques


An investigation was conducted to determine if the performance and learning of a pursuit rotor skill was a function of practice schedule and initial ability level. Two groups of 30 subjects each were given two consecutive days of practice, with 22 and 20 trials respectively, on the pursuit rotor under different schedules of practice. The performance score of the massed practice group (30 secs. work, 5 secs. rest) was found to be significantly lower than that of the distributed practice group (30 secs. work, 30 secs. rest) on the first day of practice. However, after 24 hours of interpolated rest, both groups were statistically equal in terms of the amount learned. A further analysis of the first day's performance scores of the 10 high initial ability and the 10 low initial ability subjects from each of the two main groups found no differential effect of practice schedule attributable to initial ability level. Further, there was no significant ability levels by practice schedules interaction for learning. However, reminiscence was found to be related to ability level as low ability subjects reminisced significantly more than high ability subjects.

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