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Theory of reinvestment

The Theory of Reinvestment (Master & Maxwell, 2008) is based on the Conscious Processing Hypothesis (CPH) (Masters, 1992). This theory proposes that when a skilled performer is motivated to perform and experiences cognitive anxiety, particularly preservative cognitions associated with pressured performances, they have a tendency to focus on the process of the performance to try to ensure a successful performance (Jackson, Ashford, & Norsworthy, 2006; Masters, 1992). This focus is known as reinvestment, which Masters and Maxwell (2004) defined as the

manipulation of conscious explicit rule based knowledge by working memory, to control the mechanics of one's movements during motor input.

(p. 208)

This reinvested explicit knowledge of the already mastered skill causes individuals to revert to an earlier stage of learning (Fitts & Posner, 1967). In addition, the reinvested thoughts consume valuable working memory resources away from other task-relevant cues. Consequently, a drop in performance is likely to ensue as the unconscious, faster, automatic action (implicit knowledge) is inhibited by the slower conscious action (explicit knowledge), resulting in an uncoordinated movement. This breakdown comes from two potential sources. Select each method to reveal more information.

The interference is a result of an individual trying to consciously control the skill execution.

Masters (1992)

The interference is caused to individuals monitoring the step-by-step execution of the tasks.

Beilock & Carr (2001)

Indeed, Jackson et al. (2006) suggest that trying to control the action, rather than monitoring the action, will have greater detrimental implications on performance. Particularly, in order to gain conscious control individuals, individuals must break down the continuous automatic processes, into smaller separate units (Masters, 1992). These separate units then require explicit knowledge to activate, slowing down performance and allowing for the opportunity of performance errors to occur that would not occur during automatic movements (Wilson, Smith, & Holmes, 2007).

In reality, this model can explain why a lot of parents struggle with teaching their teenage children how to drive. As this skill for a parent is autonomous, they struggle to break the movement down into different segments, which is required for someone who is in the cognitive phase and therefore requires more detail.