Impacts of Skill Acquisition on Cognitive Processing


This paper discusses the essence of the skill acquisition and analyzes models as well as stages of this phenomenon, according to the scientific literature. The purpose of the essay is to provide an outline of the concept of skill acquisition and its impacts on the cognitive processing. The paper investigates the connections between skill acquisition and cognitive processing from a point of view of various theories and dwells on their strong and weak sides. Moreover, it debates on the influences of different factors and its impacts on the cognitive processing. Overall, the paper concludes that the skill acquisition is a diverse and complex phenomenon, which largely depends on cognitive processes and highly modifies the quality and outcomes of mental operations and brain functioning.


Acquisition of skills is an important aspect of human activities, which facilitates the performance of everyday actions. Moreover, it enables individuals with the mechanisms as well as tools for the appropriate problem-solving and decision-making tasks. The skill acquisition is largely a mechanical, physical and social phenomenon, which presupposes a direct involvement into the actual performance and the implementation of the learned knowledge on practice. However, at the same time, there is an enormous correlation between this concept and cognitive processing. In fact, the cognition plays a crucial role in the acquisition of new skills and their appropriate manifestation on practice. From this point of view, there is a need in investigating its models in regards to their influences on the cognitive processing. In fact, the skill acquisition strongly influences the cognitive processing, as it is responsible of affecting the mental operations and modifying the quality and speed of the brain functioning and cognitive procedures.


Stages of Skill Acquisition and Their Impacts on Cognitive Processing

The process of skill acquisition is viewed differently in the scientific literature. In my opinion, it is important to connect this issue with the cognitive performance and abilities of individuals, despite the fact that some researchers emphasize its autonomous and independent nature. Nevertheless, it is estimated that the process of skill acquisition undergoes three main stages. Thus, they directly influence the cognitive processing, performance and outcomes. In fact, the very division of skill acquisition into phases witnesses the complex essence of this phenomenon and points to its involvement into the logical and mnemonic processes.

The first stage is known as cognitive. This phase presupposes the individual identification of the skill to be acquired and indicating the methods and ways of its achievement. This stage deals mainly with the theoretical evaluation of the skill and outlines the cognitive models as well as patterns of its acquisition. The cognitive phase involves such processes as thinking, observing, analyzing, assessing, evaluating and visualizing. They assist in processing the information regarding a new skill. Moreover, the cognitive stage does not involve much practice or performance, as it copes primarily with an abstract and virtual assessment of the required information. Apparently, this phase highly influences the cognitive processing, as it directly refers to the logical, mnemonic and thinking processes of analyzing the data.

The cognitive stage of the skill acquisition calls for the extensive visualization and division of complex skills into meaningful, affordable and measurable units. The latter ones should facilitate the obtainment of the new knowledge. The authors emphasize the role of motivation and encouragement during the cognitive stage, as it is responsible for the prompt and optimal acquisition of the required skill. Therefore, this stage of skill acquisition directly points to the correlation between this process and human cognition. Moreover, it emphasizes the importance of mutual influences and influences. It also shows that the process of skill acquisition is not a mere autonomous mechanism. The latter one excludes the functions of the cognitive processing. Rather, the cognition helps to shape the way of skill acquisition and provides it with the required tools and means of evaluation.

The second stage is associative, which presupposes the formulation of strong links and connections between the theoretical background and its practical implementation. This phase marks the beginning of practice of a new skill, according to the previous theoretical imaginations and outlines. On this stage, the learners practice their new skills, involving mistakes, failures, and faults in their productivity. It is very important to satisfy an appropriate level of motivation, compensation and rewards to trigger the learners’ incentives and enthusiasm to perform. Additionally, it is essential to ascertain that this phase may take plenty of time due to the complexity of tasks and diverse nature of its implementation on practice.

The associative stage of the skill acquisition directly affects the cognitive processing and highly depends on it as well. Particularly, in this case, the cognitive processes enrich the skill acquisition with the needed attention, concentration, time and skill management, the formulation of strong associations and usage of personal imagery and fantasy. It means that the very process correlates with the capacities and opportunities of individual cognition. It applies to the same cognitive mechanisms and tools, being typical for other cognitive operations and procedures. In this light, the skill acquisition challenges the complexity of cognitive processing and leads to the creation of new links and associations in the brain.

The associative stage presupposes the mastering of new skills and synchronization of its repetitions in accordance with the mental images and expectations. The involvement of cognitive processing into this stage allows minimizing the errors and refining the skill acquisition. Thus, it is possible to conclude that it modifies the cognitive processing by enriching it with new stable associations and links between the mind images and practical physical movements and performance.

Finally, the autonomous stage of skill acquisition presupposes the fluent and automatic productivity of obtained skills, excluding the roles of any logical processes and advanced planning. This stage marks the complete acquisition of skills and individual capacity to perform it accordingly, despite any external factors and influences. Commonly, the autonomous stage presupposes that the level of skill acquisition is so high that its performance does not require any thinking, logical or attention mechanisms to be involved.

However, it does not mean that the cognitive processing does not take part in it. On the contrary, an increased level of skill acquisition and capacity to perform it independently witnesses the high level of cognitive evaluation and procession of data. Evidently, the very formation of new skills means the qualitative changes in the cognition and appearance of new mental links and correlations in the mind. From this perspective, the autonomous stage of this concept is the confirmation of mutual correlations between the cognitive processes and mechanisms of obtaining skills. The correlations affect both the quality and speed of the skill acquisition as well as the capacities and opportunities of cognition and functions of mind operations.

Correlations between Skill Acquisition Models and Cognitive Processing

In my opinion, the awareness of the connection between the skill acquisition and cognitive processing also calls for the analysis of different models of its performance and implementation. It is possible to view the correlation between this phenomenon and cognitive processing from different points of view. The two different models investigate some changes in the cognitive processes under the influence of the skill acquisition and define the efficiency or inefficiency of those impacts. In my opinion, it is rational to stick to the first model. According to it, the correlations between skill acquisition and cognitive processing can be explained through the changes in the speed of practical activities. The background of this template states that individuals tend to increase the speed and productivity of cognitive processing in case they are dealing with the problems, the solutions to which are already known. In other words, the resemblance between different problems facilitates the problem-solving skills and increases the speed of making a final decision or implementing a relevant practical activity. It means that the speed of cognitive processing and skill acquisition depends on the complexity of problems and individual awareness of potential solutions.

The above mentioned phenomenon is known as the practice-related speedup, which occurs in case of the deliberate and international concertation of individuals on the solutions of separate parts of the task. For instance, the awareness of the problem allows individuals dividing the issue into meaningful units. Moreover, it helps concentrating their consciousness and attention on the simultaneous solutions of the separate duties. Under such circumstances, the speed of the cognitive procession tends to increase. Besides, the quality and productivity of the skill acquisition raises. In these terms, the better skill acquisition positively affects the speed of cognitive processing and ameliorates the outcomes of the practical performance.

Moreover, the other argument for the above mentioned model points to the role of mnemonic processes in the skill acquisition. It states that the solution of similar problems activates the long-term memory and evokes the suitable solutions for new situations. As a result, individuals are able to solve the new issues with the minimum time and effort expenses. Therefore, the availability of the previous experience and functioning of the long term memory contributes to the fruitfulness of the skill acquisition and its positive impacts of cognitive processing.

On the contrary, the second model emphasizes the correlations between the practical performance and brain processes. According to this model, the practical activities are capable of triggering the cognitive processes and amplifying the work of the brain. As a result, the skill performance evokes mind activities and brain operations as well as facilitates the involvement of memory, attention, thinking, and evaluation into the process of skill acquisition. Since every practical movement triggers different parts of the brain, each skill is responsible for creating unique associations and links in the human mind. Apparently, this model admits that skill acquisition favorably influences the cognitive processing through the direct involvement into practical activities and movements.

Relationships between Skill Acquisition and Cognitive Conditions

The skill acquisition as a complex process depends on many factors and influences. They are not limited to cognitive and mental processes. The research informs about the combination of various factors, which affect the skill acquisition. Therefore, they modify their outcomes on mental and practical processes. Particularly, a great role in the development and formation of skills belongs to the endogenous attributes, among which personal motivation, emotional background, feelings, memory and subjective interests, as well as values should be considered. In other words, the skill acquisition process should include the analysis of endogenous influences for the sake of maximizing their positive effects on the cognition and practical performance.

All of these factors are capable of either improving or deteriorating the outcomes of the skill acquisition and modifying their influence in the course of cognitive processes. For instance, a favorable emotional background, a proper level of long-term memory, and a quick adaptation to new situations promote the skill acquisition and formation of new associations on the cognitive level. However, the poor emotional health and difficulties with memorizing create significant difficulties for this phenomenon and relevant functioning of mental processes. Therefore, awareness of endogenous factors allows reducing the risks of the poor skill performance and improving the involvement of cognitive processing.

The advantages of this theory include the consideration of a wide variety of factors. These attributes are responsible for the identification of the skill acquisition process and its role in the cognitive processing. It is true that the concept is a diverse process, which includes a range of impacts and factors. The latter ones correlate its quality and outcomes. However, the weak side of this theory is the limitations in the discussion of all factors, as it is virtually impossible to analyze their influence and define the role of each in the skill acquisition, as well as its impacts on the cognitive processing. In this light, the first theory seems more reliable and valid, as it refers to the evident facts and explain the nature of skill acquisition through the measurable conditions and apparent statements. From this point of view, the second model of skill acquisition might encounter difficulties in tracing the direct correlation between the skill acquisition and cognitive processing.


To sum up, the skill acquisition should not be viewed as a merely physiological, practical or unconscious repetition of learned algorithms of behavior and problem-solving tasks. On the opposition, it highly involves the functioning of cognitive activities and brain operations. The analysis of the stages of skill acquisition shows that this phenomenon strongly depends on the individual cognitive capacities and influences their quality and outcomes. Moreover, the overview of the models of this concept points to the mutual relationships between the skill acquisition and cognitive processing. From this perspective, it is essential to regard the individual cognitive abilities and capacities for the sake of effective and productive skill acquisition and their practical performance. Moreover, the awareness of this connection allows maximizing the effects of this phenomenon by triggering the relevant cognitive processes and training the required mental operations.

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