Author (Your Name)

Richard Abramson, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Senior Scholars Paper (Open Access)


Colby College. Psychology Dept.




The acquisition and incorporation of physical skills are a necessary and desirable part of our everyday life. Requisite to our contact with children, students, patients, and adults in the teaching of physical skills is the ability to communicate effectively. Verbal instruction may often be very effective in teaching physical skills, but there is some significant evidence to indicate that children and slow learners do not always have the necessary verbal skil1s. Much of human behavior, including concept learning, has often been represented by a single unit S-R theory. For Kendler and Vineberg (1954), this single unit S-R theory is inappropriate with respect to how we as adults learn concepts. Instead, they suggest a "mediation mechanism" which assumes that "the external stimulus evokes an implicit response which produces an implicit cue that is connected to the overt response:" However, Kendler and Kendler (1962) have pointed out that the utilization of a mediational mechantsm is related to the childls chronologica1 age and level of functioning. For example, classified slow learners would utilize the single unit S-R analysis in solving a discrimination problem involving reversal and non-reversal shifts, while the fast learners would utilize the mediational S~R theory. In a reversal shift, the subject must learn to switch his responses to do the exact opposite of that which he has done previously. In a reversal shift, the subject must learn to choose the dimension which was previously irrelevant, e.g., making his choice on the basis of color rather than size.


Children with mental disabilities -- Education, Sports for children with mental disabilities, Swimming

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