An investigation of the factor-analytic approach to the determination of abilities involved in psychomotor learning

  • Adrian Atkinson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This research began with an attempt to solve a practical problem, namely, the prediction of the rate at which an operator will learn a task. From a review of the literature, communications with researchers in this area and the study of psychomotor learning in factories it was concluded that a more fundamental approach was required which included the development of a task taxonomy. This latter objective had been researched for over twenty years by E. A. Fleishman and his approach was adopted. Three studies were carried out to develop and extend Fleishman's approach to the industrial area. However, the results of these studies were not in accord with FIeishman's conclusions and suggested that a critical re-assessment was required of the arguments, methods and procedures used by Fleishman and his co-workers. It was concluded that Fleishman's findings were to some extent an artifact of the approximate methods and procedures which he used in the original factor analyses and that using the more modern computerised factor analytic methods a reliable ability taxonomy could be developed to describe the abilities involved in the learning of psychomotor tasks. The implications for a changing-task or changing-subject model were drawn and it was concluded that a changing task and subject model needs to be developed.
Date of AwardNov 1981
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorE. Edwards (Supervisor)


  • ability taxonomy
  • factor analysis
  • psychomptor tasks
  • learning skills

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