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Measuring the Mind: Speed, control, and age$
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John Duncan, Louise Phillips, and Peter McLeod

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198566427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566427.001.0001

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Are automated actions beyond conscious access?

Are automated actions beyond conscious access?

Chapter:
(p.359) Chapter 15 Are automated actions beyond conscious access?
Source:
Measuring the Mind: Speed, control, and age
Author(s):

Peter McLeod

Peter Sommerville

Nick Reed

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566427.003.0015

Extensive practice leads to both expertise and automation of actions. Expertise implies knowledge of a skill but automation implies loss of conscious control. So, does practice lead to more or less ability to describe how the skill is performed? This chapter shows that despite their greater expertise at the skill, adults are less able than children to describe how they tie their shoelaces or to recognize the method that they use. Adults know the goals but not how they are achieved. The chapter also shows that adults are not able to explain how they know where to go to catch a ball, nor, in some cases, to describe what they are doing as they catch one. Expertise leads to some actions becoming beyond conscious access.

Keywords:   action automation, extensive practice, expertise, conscious control

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