Cognitive and noncognitive determinants and consequences of complex skill acquisition

Integration of multiple perspectives on the determinants of individual differences in skill acquisition is provided by examination of a wide array of predictors: ability (spatial, verbal, mathematical, and perceptual speed), personality (neuroticism, extroversion, openness, conscientiousness, and agreeableness), vocational interests (realistic and investigative), self-estimates of ability, self-concept, motivational skills, and task-specific self-efficacy. Ninety-three trainees were studied over the course of 15 hr (across 2 weeks) of skill acquisition practice on a complex, air traffic controller simulation task (Terminal Radar Approach Controller; TRACON; Wesson International; Austin, TX). Across task practice, measures of self-efficacy, and negative and positive motivational thought occurrence were collected to examine prediction of later performance and communality with pretask measures. Results demonstrate independent and interactive influences of ability tests and self-report measures in predicting training task performance. Implications for the selection process are discusses in terms of communalities observed in the predictor space.






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