Effects of contextual interference and age on acquisition, retention, and transfer of motor skill

Tal Jarus, Yael Goverover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This experiment was designed to investigate the varying conditions of contextual interference within three age groups. 40 5-yr.-olds, 40 7-yr.-olds, and 40 11-yr.-olds practiced the task of throwing beanbags under either low contextual interference (blocked practice), high contextual interference (random practice), or medium contextual interference (combined practice). All subjects performed 30 acquisition trials, 12 retention trials and 6 transfer trials. Analysis indicated that only the 7-yr.-old subjects differed in their performance in the various practice groups. As hypothesized and suggested by developmental theories, the combined and blocked practice groups acquired the task better. On the other hand, the 5- and 11-yr.-olds did not differ in performance in the different practice groups. Whether this is associated with difficulty of the task or the length of practice can be assessed in further study. Contextual interference in different age groups needs further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-447
Number of pages11
JournalPerceptual and motor skills
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1999


  • contextual interference
  • acquisition of motor skill
  • motor skills
  • retention of motor skills
  • transfer of motor skills
  • effects of age

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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