Abilities and skill acquisition: A latent growth curve approach

The relationship between abilities and skill acquisition has been the subject of numerous controversies in psychology. However,while most researchers implicitly or explicitly accept the idea that abilities and skill acquisition should be related, empirical research has failed to provide evidence for a consistently strong correlation between the two constructs. Based on the reanalysis of a study on skill acquisition using the air traffic controller task TRACON [Ackerman, P. L., Kanfer, R., and Goff, M. (1995).Cognitive and Noncognitive Determinants and Consequences of Complex Skill Acquisition. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Applied, 1(4), 270–304], it will be shown how latent growth curve modeling can help to gain a better understanding of the relationship between human abilities and skill acquisition. A brief introduction into the basic concepts of latent growth curve modeling will be given, particularly with regard to the advantages for the analysis of skill acquisition and its determinants. The goal is thereby to provide evidence for a much closer association than commonly assumed and to offer a new, differential, perspective formerly obscured by traditional between-subject analyses.