The STEP Model: Characterizing Simultaneous Time Effects on Practice for Flight Simulator Performance Among Middle-Aged and Older Pilots
Lazzeroni, Laura C.
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Understanding the possible effects of the number of practice sessions (practice) and time between practice sessions (interval) among middle-aged and older adults in real world tasks has important implications for skill maintenance. Prior training and cognitive ability may impact practice and interval effects on real world tasks. In this study, we took advantage of existing practice data from five simulated flights among 263 middle-aged and older pilots with varying levels of flight expertise (defined by FAA proficiency ratings). We developed a new STEP (Simultaneous Time Effects on Practice) model to: (1) model the simultaneous effects of practice and interval on performance of the five flights, and (2) examine the effects of selected covariates (age, flight expertise, and three composite measures of cognitive ability). The STEP model demonstrated consistent positive practice effects, negative interval effects, and predicted covariate effects. Age negatively moderated the beneficial effects of practice. Additionally, cognitive processing speed and intra-individual variability (IIV) in processing speed moderated the benefits of practice and/or the negative influence of interval for particular flight performance measures. Expertise did not interact with either practice or interval. Results indicate that practice and interval effects occur in simulated flight tasks. However, processing speed and IIV may influence these effects, even among high functioning adults. Results have implications for the design and assessment of training interventions targeted at middle-aged and older adults for complex real world tasks.
The article of record as published may be found at http://doi.org/10.1037/pag0000043
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