EFFECTS OF PHYSIOLOGICAL RHYTHMS ON PERFORMANCE.
Final rept., 1966-67,
NORTH STAR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT INST MINNEAPOLIS MINN
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A series of four studies was completed to determine the effect of time of day on learning and retention of skills. The four studies covered 1 performance of well-learned skills, 2 learning and retention of simple perceptual-motor skills, 3 learning and retention of simple verbal skills, and 4 stimulus generalization. The results obtained were incorporated into the Hullian learning theory framework. The results indicate that there is a 24-hour cycle of activation or arousal that has a general effect on learning and retention of skills this effect is similar to the effect of the drive variable postulated by Hull. For subjects pursuing their usual daily routine, drive level is lowest in the early morning and increases until noon. Drive level declines in the early afternoon with recovery late in the afternoon, then rises until early evening. The effect of this 24-hour variation in drive level is particularly pronounced on conditioned autonomic responses. Internal stimulus cues also change systematically on a 24-hour cycle. These cues make up a sufficient portion of the total stimulus to which responses are learned so that they affect the ability of the external stimulus components to elicit the learned response the response tendency is different when tested at the same time of day that learning took place than when tested at other times of day. Author
- Anatomy and Physiology