The present study examined whether elderly use motor chunks after practicing discrete keying sequences, just like young adults, or whether they perhaps learn these movement patterns in a different way. To that end, elderly (75–88) and young adults (18–28) practiced as part of the discrete sequence production (DSP) task two fixed series of three and six key presses. The results demonstrate that elderly did improve with practice but this improvement was largely sequence-unspecific. Detailed analyses showed that, in contrast to young adults, most elderly did not use motor chunks, had little explicit sequence knowledge, and remained highly dependent on external stimuli. Still, elderly did show sequence-specific learning with a 6-key sequence that can be explained by an associative learning mechanism.
- Motor Skills
- Discrete sequence production task
- Keying sequences