Influence of practice schedules and attention on skill development and retention

Louisa D. Raisbeck, Alison Regal, Jed A. Diekfuss, Christopher K. Rhea, Paul Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Focus of attention during dual-tasks and practice schedules are important components of motor skill performance and learning; often studied in isolation. The current study required participants to complete a simple key-pressing task under a blocked or random practice schedule. To manipulate attention, participants reported their finger position (i.e., skill-focused attention) or the pitch of an auditory tone (i.e., extraneous attention) while performing two variations of a dual-task key-pressing task. Analyses were conducted at baseline, 10 min and 24 h after acquisition. The results revealed that participants in a blocked schedule, extraneous focus condition had significantly faster movement times during retention compared to a blocked schedule, skill focus condition. Furthermore, greatest improvements from baseline to immediate and delayed retention were evident for an extraneous attention compared to the skill-focused attention, regardless of practice schedule. A discussion of the unique benefits an extraneous focus of attention may have on the learning process during dual-task conditions is presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-106
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Movement Science
Early online date3 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015


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