separate stages. It is concerned with how individuals gain knowledge about the world, and how they use that language to make decisions and perform effective actions. In essence, it allows students of motor behavior to infer and measure mental processes that they cannot see. In this way it provides the player, teacher, and coach with information about the cognitive aspects of skilled acts that are often neglected. Nevertheless, despite the broad appeal of the information- processing framework, its contribution has been somewhat narrow, focusing primarily on the analysis of specific experimental situations. If the trend continues, the danger is that the information-processing framework will be fragmented into pockets of isolated and competitive subdisciplines, where research ideas or situations become ends in themselves. If the information-processing model is to contribute to our understanding of the functioning of the learner outside the experimental situation, it must attempt to place cumulative findings in a broader perspective that stresses biological and psychological determinants.
As emphasized also in Chapter 1, students of motor behavior must resist the temptation of extreme reductionism and move toward a multidisciplinary course of study. The basic reason for such a reorientation is that the human organism presents a highly complex, multilayered system. Unless we use diverse approaches that encompass a variety of concepts and methods, our own insights will not go beyond some narrow province in the area. It is perhaps too early to evaluate the theoretical advances achieved by information-processing models-- the scientific community will do that in time--but at least these models have exerted a potent energizing influence in the field. They have generated new research techniques for the exploring of cognitive activities that are much more complex than had been considered possible by investigators within the framework of earlier "black-box" theories.
Appreciation and a sincere thanks to Virginia Diggles for her background work and editorial assistance in preparing this chapter.
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