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J Mot Behav. 2005 Nov;37(6):465-74.

Transfer, control, and automatic processing in a complex motor task: an examination of bounce juggling.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3, Canada.


The authors evaluated the hypothesis that controlled and automatic processes are opposite ends of a continuum of learning (e.g., R. M. Shiffrin & W. Schneider, 1977) vs. an alternative, concurrent emergence hypothesis (e.g., J. M. Bebko et al., 2003; G. Logan, 1989). The authors also measured potential positive transfer effects of learning from one motor task to another. Four experienced cascade jugglers and 5 novices learned to bounce juggle, practicing regularly for 5 weeks. The experienced jugglers showed positive transfer of learning, maintaining a lead of approximately 6-10 days over the novices, even as both groups automatized the new skill. Measures of automatic and controlled processing were positively correlated, indicating that those processes emerge concurrently. The authors present a model in which controlled and automatic processes emerge orthogonally.

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