Contextual interference effect on perceptual-cognitive skills training

David P. Broadbent, Joe Causer, Paul Ford, A. Mark Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Contextual interference (CI) effect predicts that a random order of practice for multiple skills is superior for learning compared to a blocked order. We report a novel attempt to examine the CI effect during acquisition and transfer of anticipatory judgments from simulation training to an applied sport situation. Method: Participants were required to anticipate tennis shots under either a random practice schedule or a blocked practice schedule. Response accuracy was recorded for both groups in pretest, during acquisition, and on a 7-d retention test. Transfer of learning was assessed through a field-based tennis protocol that attempted to assess performance in an applied sport setting. Results: The random practice group had significantly higher response accuracy scores on the 7-d laboratory retention test compared to the blocked group. Moreover, during the transfer of anticipatory judgments to an applied sport situation, the decision times of the random practice group were significantly lower compared to the blocked group. Conclusion: The CI effect extends to the training of anticipatory judgments through simulation techniques. Furthermore, we demonstrate for the first time that the CI effect increases transfer of learning from simulation training to an applied sport task, highlighting the importance of using appropriate practice schedules during simulation training.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1243-1250
Number of pages8
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

This is a non-final version of an article published in final form in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 47(6):1243-1250


  • anticipatory judgment
  • perceptual learning
  • practice structure
  • transfer of learning
  • video simulation


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