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Title: Information reduction - all, nothing, or somewhere in-between? : an exploration of the information reduction strategy in practice learning
Author: Rowell, Nancy Ellen
ISNI:       0000 0004 5991 5707
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2016
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Practice leads to performance gains in speed and accuracy. Investigations have indicated these may occur due to use of cognitive strategies. One such strategy, previously investigated with an Alphabet Verification task, is called Information Reduction (Haider and Frensch, 1996). It involves attending to and processing only information relevant to the task in hand. Information Reduction has been proposed to be consciously and abruptly adopted and applied consistently. However, it has been observed that not everyone makes use of this strategy. This could be due to the nature of the task, the conditions under which learning takes place or characteristics of the participants. Using new tasks developed for this study, plus post-testing questionnaires, further investigations were carried out. These confirmed Information Reduction is not a task-specific phenomenon, but demonstrated that the instructions and feedback given have considerable effects on whether irrelevant information in the stimuli is ignored. When instructed that a shortcut could improve performance, only one-third of participants could verbalise Information Reduction use, although another third adopted it, apparently without awareness. Using Information Reduction without awareness is at odds with Haider and Frensch's hypothesis about the mechanism. However, experiments testing transfer to other stimuli where the same regularity occurs or with similar stimuli obeying a slightly different rule suggested that conscious knowledge may be required for transfer to be successful. One notable result from all experiments is that Information Reduction is often not used consistently. Whilst this may seem to be in line with the idea that it is consciously applied, it is not with other aspects of the proposed mechanism. Overall it does seem to be less robust than has been suggested and there seems to be some way to go before an adequate theory to explain Information Reduction can be developed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral