This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Role of Emotion in Computer Skill Acquisition




Corley, John

Type of Degree





In response to recent calls for researchers to identify the underlying causes of training effectiveness, this study investigated the role of emotion in computer skill acquisition (CSA). The current study introduced empathetic emotion as a behavior model training (BMT) intervention within the observational learning model (OLM) of CSA developed and validated by Yi and Davis (2003). Recent research studies indicate that emotion is an integral part of cognitive processing and decision making in humans because emotion focuses attention on stimuli that are relevant to needs and goals. Research also indicates that emotional arousal tends to increase human memory. Attention and memory are very similar to the attention and retention process dimensions in Yi and Davis’ (2003) OLM. Therefore, this study posited that an emotion-based training intervention would increase attention and memory thereby improving training outcomes. A training workshop, including a custom software simulation, was developed for the current research study. The software simulation recorded data related to training effectiveness and randomly assigned trainees to either a treatment group (receiving emotion-based performance feedback) or control group (receiving performance feedback void of emotion). Data related to individual differences, perceptions, and attitudes were collected using paper-based survey questions. Empirical testing of the proposed theoretical model and hypotheses was conducted using PLS-Graph, and multi-group comparisons were conducted using t-tests. The test results of the proposed model were favorable, but no significant differences were found between the training outcomes for the control and treatment groups. The findings of the empirical model indicate that emotion has a significant affect on learning processes, and highlights the need to better understand the role of emotion within the context of computer skill training.