Acquisition and Retention of a Letter-Detection Skill
Rept. for Aug 1986-Jul 1990,
COLORADO UNIV AT BOULDER INST OF COGNITIVE SCIENCE
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This article reports on two experiments examining the acquisition and retention of a letter detection skill with a consistent mapping procedure. In the first experiment, subjects were trained in from 0 to 4 sessions to detect the letter H in displays containing random letters. Retesting was done after one month. Performance improved, and in some cases became more automatic, and the performance level was maintained over the retention interval. When tested with a prose passage, the high error rate on the word the was eliminated after training, and after the retention interval as well, regardless of the amount of training. In the second experiment, two subjects were given 12 sessions of training, followed by a retention test six months later. One subject also received a retention test 15 months after acquisition. Performance improved dramatically with training, and substantial but not quite complete automaticity was achieved. Performance on the retention tests was close to the final acquisition level. The surprising lack of forgetfulness in the study was contrasted the substantial forgetfulness typically found in studies of verbal learning.
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