Title page for ETD etd-09252006-134408

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Prattini, Robert
Author's Email Address rpratt3@lsu.edu
URN etd-09252006-134408
Title Knowledge Representation Acquired in a Dynamic Process Control Task
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Robert Mathews Committee Chair
Sean Lane Committee Member
Tracey Rizzuto Committee Member
  • knowledge representation
  • implicit learning
  • process control
Date of Defense 2006-05-18
Availability unrestricted
The dissociation between explicit and implicit knowledge has been shown in a number of previous studies utilizing the process control task, where participants would learn to control the system well, but not be able to verbally articulate their knowledge (Berry & Broadbent, 1984; Berry & Broadbent, 1988; Mathews, Buss, Stanley, Blanchard-Fields, Cho, & Druhan, 1989; Roussel, 1999; Sun & Mathews, 2005). This study attempts to advance this basic research in the area of implicit learning by examining the type of mental knowledge representation acquired in implicitly learned tasks, and also assess the transfer of that knowledge to conceptually similar tasks. Participants controlled a simulated nuclear reactor version of the process control task by inputting a selected number of fuel pellets to maintain a desired temperature on several tests over 2 one-hour sessions after receiving either instructions to perform the task through visual means, memorizing exemplars, receiving hints about how the task operates, or receiving no instruction. Results show that participantsí performance improves with experiential practice, even after memorizing the best responses on standard tests. Results from transfer tests (i.e., a novel target level and a different scale than previously practiced) suggest that explicit knowledge is less transferable than the implicit knowledge acquired through practice in this task. This study did not support that the process control task is normally learned through visual recognition of patterns of inputs and outputs across trials- however, the results neither support that the task is normally learned by the storage of exemplars in the form of a look-up table (Dienes & Fahey, 1995).

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