Facilitative interactions of model- and experience-based processes: implications for type and flexibility of representation

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People are often taught using a combination of instruction and practice. In prior research, we have distinguished between model-based knowledge (i.e., acquired from explicit instruction) and experience-based knowledge (i.e., acquired from practice), and have argued that the issue of how these types of knowledge (and associated learning processes) interact has been largely neglected. Two experiments explore this issue using a dynamic control task. Results demonstrate the utility of providing model-based knowledge before practice with the task, but more importantly, suggest how this information improves learning. Results also show that learning in this manner can lead to "costs" such as slowed retrieval, and that this knowledge may not always transfer to new task situations as well as experientially acquired knowledge. Our findings also question the assumption that participants always acquire a highly specific "lookup" table representation while learning this task. We provide an alternate view and discuss the implications for theories of learning.

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Memory & cognition

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