Contextual Dependencies during Perceptual-motor Skill Acquisition: Gone but Not Forgotten!


The development and resiliency of contextual dependencies developed during perceptual-motor skill acquisition was assessed. Incidental aspects of the stimulus used to instigate the production of previously practised typing sequences were manipulated during either an immediate or delayed retention test. The findings from the immediate test offered further support for the existence of contextual-dependent performance for perceptual-motor responding. However, the dependency was attenuated by using a delayed retention test. Experiment 2 pursued two alternative explanations for the diminished dependency effect revealed in Experiment 1. In Experiment 2 some subjects were explicitly encouraged to reinstate aspects of the incidental contextual information that was present during training prior to administration of a delayed test. The dependency present only in the immediate test in Experiment 1 reemerged after contextual reinstatement. The present data are discussed with respect to the inclusion of incidental contextual stimuli as part of the long-term sensorimotor memory representation.

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