Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Daniel Roenker, Sebastiano Fisicaro, John O'Connor

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


This study was conducted to determine the effects of task complexity on mental imagery and work decrement. A total of 180 right-handed undergraduates from Western Kentucky University were tested on the rotor pursuit apparatus. Task complexity was manipulated by eccentricity on the tracking target of the rotor pursuit (i.e., the more eccentric, the more complex). Three shapes of increasing eccentricity were used, and there were three practice conditions: rest, no-rest and control. Thus, nine treatment conditions existed. The rest group had a 5-min rest between practice and performance, the no-rest group went right from practice to performance without rest, and the control group received no practice. Performance was measured across nine trials which were averaged into three trial blocks for analysis.

An analysis of variance was used to determine significant differences between the groups on the performance measure (i.e., percent time-on-target). The results of the analysis revealed that effective mental imagery and work decrement did not occur. Previous research has demonstrated both of these phenomena. Therefore, the outcome of this study is deemed unreliable due to these findings. However, a significant difference between performance on the various elliptical shapes was found. This information may be valuable in future research.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

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