When Forgetting Benefits Motor Retention
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Recent research (Lee & Weeks, 1987; Weeks, Lee, & Elliott, 1987) investigating the processes responsible for the contextual interference phenomenon has used a modified short-term motor retention paradigm to support the reconstruction explanation (Lee & Magill, 1985; Magill, 1989; Magill & Hall, 1990). The present experiment was an extension of these experiments in which forgetting of an acquisition task was induced through performance of either a similar or dissimilar distractor task during the intertrial interval. The effects of an extra practice trial with the acquisition task as well as no activity during the intertrial interval were also investigated. In addition, forgetting of the acquisition task was assessed prior to a reconstruction trial, which immediately preceded a 2-min filled retention interval. Both similar and dissimilar distractor tasks caused equivalent amounts of forgetting of the acquisition task prior to the reconstruction trial. However, retention of the acquisition task was significantly improved if its reconstruction occurred following forgetting due to interference from performance of a similar distractor task. These findings suggest forgetting and subsequent reconstruction alone are not sufficient for improved retention. These processes must occur in the context of a similar task for improved retention.
author list (cited authors)
Shea, J. B., & Wright, D. L.