Major Department



College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BS (Bachelor of Science)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2017

Honors Major Advisor

J. Toby Mordkoff

Thesis Mentor

R. Eliot Hazeltine


Objective: Rewarding feedback and variability of training schedule are known to have a positive effect on motor skill learning and retention, yet no previous research had examined the interaction between reward and variability. We designed a two-part study to investigate how could such interaction affect motor skill learning and retention. Method: A 2 x 2 design was used in the present study. Reward and variability each had two levels: reward or no reward, variable or blocked training schedule. The Maze Drawing Task, a computer task required participants to control the target cursor and stay in the maze for as long as they can, were designed and used. Each participant was assigned to one of the four conditions of the Maze Drawing Task. Four questionnaires were administered to measure possible influential factors such as handedness, duration and quality of sleep, and personality traits. Results: The results showed that rewarding feedback and variability of training schedule improved task performance, yet only reward led to a better learning effect. Neither of reward and variability enhanced motor skill retention. Conclusions: We propose that reward and variable training schedule are insufficient to affect motor skill retention, even though reward can improve learning effect.


reward, variability, motor skill learning, BIS/BAS Scales, retention

Total Pages

25 pages


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