Strategies in Performance: What Is This Thing Called Learning?



The model of pursuit-rotor performance that we presented in the last chapter was a radical departure from previous neo-Hullian models, since all Hull’s concepts such as reactive inhibition, conditioned inhibition, and involuntary rest pauses were abandoned in favor of the single factor of consolidation. However, in another, and perhaps more important, sense this new model was very much within Hull’s tradition. For, as in Hull’s models of behavior, there is nothing in our explanation of pursuit-rotor performance that relates specifically to the task being performed. There is nothing in the model to tell us that it applies to the tracking of targets and not to the learning of poetry. Thus we do not know what is learned, merely that this learning improves performance. Hull was justified in such an approach since he believed that all learning was fundamentally the same. However, as we have seen in previous chapters, much evidence has accumulated indicating that different tasks require different learning models. In this chapter we shall consider the problem of reminiscence from a very different angle that places a major emphasis on the exact nature of the pursuit-rotor task. We may contrast the two approaches as follows. The first approach, based on Hull, attempts to derive a set of hypothetical variables which would account for observed courses of learning and performance. The second approach, based on applied, engineering psychology, attempts to design a blueprint for a machine that would perform the task under study.


Fast Component Motor Program Tracking Task Vigilance Task Elemental Movement 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LondonLondonEngland

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