The influence of symbolic and motor rehearsal in observational learning

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The experiment investigated the effects of the mode and patterning of rehearsal on the acquisition and retention of modeled activities varying in organizational complexity. Subjects observed a filmed model construct two configurations, containing high or low organizational requirements. Immediately after exposure they rehearsed the modeled activities either mentally, motorically, mentally and then motorically, motorically and then mentally, or engaged in a distracting activity that prevented rehearsal of what they had see. Performance tests were conducted immediately after the rehearsal phase and again 1 week later. Subjects who rehearsed the modeled behaviors symbolically, whether singly or in conjunction with motor practice, reproduced both configurations more accurately than those who rehearsed motorically or not at all. Motor rehearsal increased speed on the organizationally simple task, but did not enhance response acquisition over and above observation alone. The overall results are interpreted as supporting the social learning view that modeled behaviors are best acquired when demonstrated activities are first organized symbolically and then refined on the basis of performance feedback.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-127
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1976
Externally publishedYes

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