Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Three experiments are reported which investigate the role of contextual variety effects in motor skill acquisition. In Experiment 1, results revealed that despite previous methodological confoundings of contextual variety with response paradigm manipulations the critical retention advantage of random over blocked practice schedules was maintained. In Experiment 2 the inclusion of a group which combined attributes from random and blocked practice schedules produced evidence which implicated the role of event repetitions as the experimental variable from which contextual variety effects arise. By changing the task goals in Experiment 3 to emphasize the processing of error information as the cognitive activity most critical to performance, support for a problem-solving approach to event repetition effects was found. These findings were discussed in a theoretical framework which incorporates recently revamped notions of the role of cognition in motor skill acquisition.