Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

, Volume 76, Issue 1, pp 162–171

What skilled typists don’t know about the QWERTY keyboard

  • Kristy M. Snyder
  • Yuki Ashitaka
  • Hiroyuki Shimada
  • Jana E. Ulrich
  • Gordon D. Logan
Article

DOI: 10.3758/s13414-013-0548-4

Cite this article as:
Snyder, K.M., Ashitaka, Y., Shimada, H. et al. Atten Percept Psychophys (2014) 76: 162. doi:10.3758/s13414-013-0548-4

Abstract

We conducted four experiments to investigate skilled typists’ explicit knowledge of the locations of keys on the QWERTY keyboard, with three procedures: free recall (Exp. 1), cued recall (Exp. 2), and recognition (Exp. 3). We found that skilled typists’ explicit knowledge of key locations is incomplete and inaccurate. The findings are consistent with theories of skilled performance and automaticity that associate implicit knowledge with skilled performance and explicit knowledge with novice performance. In Experiment 4, we investigated whether novice typists acquire more complete explicit knowledge of key locations when learning to touch-type. We had skilled QWERTY typists complete a Dvorak touch-typing tutorial. We then tested their explicit knowledge of the Dvorak and QWERTY key locations with the free recall task. We found no difference in explicit knowledge of the two keyboards, suggesting that typists know little about key locations on the keyboard, whether they are exposed to the keyboard for 2 h or 12 years.

Keywords

AutomaticityCognitive controlAutomaticityImplicit/explicit memory

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristy M. Snyder
    • 1
    • 3
  • Yuki Ashitaka
    • 2
  • Hiroyuki Shimada
    • 2
  • Jana E. Ulrich
    • 1
  • Gordon D. Logan
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Kobe UniversityHyogoJapan
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA