Melioration and the Transition from Touch-Typing Training to Everyday Use

By Yechiam, Eldad; Erev, Ido et al. | Human Factors, Winter 2003 | Go to article overview

Melioration and the Transition from Touch-Typing Training to Everyday Use


Yechiam, Eldad, Erev, Ido, Yehene, Vered, Gopher, Daniel, Human Factors


INTRODUCTION

Studies of typing behavior differentiate between two basic strategies: visually guided typing and touch-typing (Long, 1976a; Long, Nimmo-Smith, & Whitefield, 1982; West, 1969). The visually guided strategy tends to be less efficient, as it requires alternation of the gaze between the source text and the keyboard in order to see which keys to press. Touch-typing tends to be more efficient, as visual search of the keys is replaced by knowledge of key location and pro-prioceptive feedback. This mode of behavior thus enables simultaneous reading and typing. Interestingly, many typists (including the authors of the present paper) who use keyboards regularly and who have even participated in touch-typing training do not use touch-typing. Previous research suggests that one reason for this phenomenon is the difficult transition from touch-typing training to everyday use of the skill (Baddeley & Longman, 1978; Cooper, 1983). It appears that in many cases people who undergo touch-typing training do not continue to touch-type afterward but revert to their former visually guided typing style.

This observation is supported by studies that show a dramatic decrease in touch-typing ability soon after training (Baddeley & Longman, 1978; Larochelle, 1983). In the study conducted by Baddeley and Longman, trainees practiced touch-typing for 60 to 80 h. Retention of typing skills for trainees who had not used the typewriter following training was assessed after periods of 1, 3, or 9 months after training. The results showed a decrease of about 30% in words per minute (wpm), starting as early as 1 month after training. The main goal of the present research is to highlight one factor that may contribute to deterioration of touch-typing skill following training and to propose a method that addresses its influence.

The factor considered here is melioration (Herrnstein & Vaughan, 1980), the sensitivity of behavior to local rates of reinforcement. In many cases, melioration predicts the tendency to allocate behavior in the direction of alternatives that produce better immediate performance and to underweight delayed performance (see Herrnstein, Loewenstein, Prelec, & Vaughan, 1993). Although this effect has been known to psychologists for more than 100 years (e.g., see Hilgard & Marquis, 1940; Skinner, 1936) and has been extensively studied and modeled (see Davison & Nevin, 1999; Herrnstein et al., 1993; Herrnstein & Prelec, 1991), we feel that in the current context its contribution has been undervalued.

The paper is organized as follows: The first section discusses the two competing strategies of typing: touch-typing and visually guided typing. The second section presents a simple model of the effect of reinforcement on the transition from touch-typing training to everyday use. The model leads to the derivation of a simple manipulation, presented in the third section, which is expected to reduce the likelihood of transition failures. The last section contains an experiment that evaluates the suggested solution.

TOUCH-TYPING VERSUS VISUALLY GUIDED TYPING

One main distinction of the touch-typing strategy appears to be the ability to look at the screen while typing and to devote a minimal level of visual search to the keyboard (Cooper, 1983). This ability is gained through the memorization of key positions and finger trajectories, which makes touch-typing a difficult skill to acquire. Other differences between touch-typing and visually guided typing include touch typists' (a) use of all fingers of both hands, as opposed to the use of one hand of only some of the fingers; (b) fixed assignment of fingers to keys; (c) reduced arm movements; and (d) fixed locations of the palms (Crooks, 1964).

The performance of touch typists, relative to the performance of visually guided typists, is contingent on the level of touch-typing skill. For expert touch typists the ability to type without having to visually search for each key is the basis of their capacity to work on different keys simultaneously, thus increasing their typing speed (Cooper, 1983). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Melioration and the Transition from Touch-Typing Training to Everyday Use
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.