Performing New Tasks with Old Skills: Is Prediction Possible?
This research evaluated the extent to which power functions can predict performance on a task when performance context has been altered. Since power functions reliably describe performance improvements during practice, an assumption implicit in some theories of skill acquisition and transfer is that transfer performance will continue to improve as an extrapolation of the practice power function. In the training phase of the current experiment, 120 participants practiced solving simple problems from the six times table. In the transfer phase, these same problems were presented again, intermixed with problems from one of six conditions differing in various respects to the target problems. With the exception of two of these six conditions, performance on the target problems was slower than was predicted by training phase power function extrapolations. These findings are discussed in relation to theories of skill acquisition and the role played by a task’s conceptual context in transfer performance.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2011