Negative correlations between control performance and verbalizable knowledge: indicators for implicit learning in process control tasks?
Buchner, A., Funke, J. and Berry, D. C. (1995) Negative correlations between control performance and verbalizable knowledge: indicators for implicit learning in process control tasks? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A Human Experimental Psychology, 48 (1). pp. 166-187. ISSN 0272-4987
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/14640749508401383
Negative correlations between task performance in dynamic control tasks and verbalizable knowledge, as assessed by a post-task questionnaire, have been interpreted as dissociations that indicate two antagonistic modes of learning, one being “explicit”, the other “implicit”. This paper views the control tasks as finite-state automata and offers an alternative interpretation of these negative correlations. It is argued that “good controllers” observe fewer different state transitions and, consequently, can answer fewer post-task questions about system transitions than can “bad controllers”. Two experiments demonstrate the validity of the argument by showing the predicted negative relationship between control performance and the number of explored state transitions, and the predicted positive relationship between the number of explored state transitions and questionnaire scores. However, the experiments also elucidate important boundary conditions for the critical effects. We discuss the implications of these findings, and of other problems arising from the process control paradigm, for conclusions about implicit versus explicit learning processes.