Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Jeffrey T. Fairbrother

Committee Members

Leslee A. Fisher, Rebecca A. Zakrajsek


Research in the motor learning domain regarding the underlying mechanism of self-controlled feedback has speculated that learners who are given the option to control their feedback schedule may engage in deeper levels of information processing, yet no study has measured information processing during a self-controlled protocol. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of self-controlled feedback on information processing during the learning of a sequential timing task. Little known about the underlying mechanism of the self-control benefit. Participants were randomly assigned to self-control (SC) (n = 10) and yoked (YK) (n = 10) groups. SC participants were allowed to request feedback in the form of knowledge of results (KR) regarding their planning time (PT), segment times (ST), and overall movement times (MT) following any trial while YK participants received KR according to the schedule created by their SC counterparts. The acquisition phase consisted of six 10-trial blocks. Participants practiced a sequential key-pressing task similar to the one used by Chiviacowsky and Wulf (2002, 2005). Retention and transfer tests each consisted of 10 trials and were administered approximately 24 hours after acquisition. Retention procedures were identical to those used during acquisition, except no feedback was administered to either group. Transfer used the same procedures as retention with the exception of the task, which required different segment times. Results indicated that the SC group produced significantly longer PT and was significantly more accurate in meeting the MT goal during acquisition and retention (p < .05). The observation of longer PT for the SC group was consistent with information processing accounts of self-control effects.

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