The central theme of this dissertation concerns the nature of (implicit) perceptual-motor sequence learning as studied in the serial reaction time (SRT) task. Convincing support exists in the literature for three forms of serial learning: perceptual learning (S-S associations), response-based learning (R-R associations) and response-effect learning (R-S associations). In fact, the strong evidence for these multiple forms of serial learning has gradually caused a shift away from a long held oppositional view (mainly between perceptual and response-based learning), towards the notion that sequence learning in the SRT task is a distributed, multi-level phenomenon. In Chapter 2 of the current dissertation, this multiple level notion was made more explicit by reviewing the relevant literature, and linking the notion to an existing framework for sequence learning that is referred to as the dual system model (Keele, Ivry,Mayr, Hazeltine & Heuer, 2003). Most of the empirical chapters (i.e., Chapters 3-6) were based upon the notion that sequence learning develops also at the stimulus level, either through perceptual (S-S) or response-effect (R-S) associations. In Chapter 3, the effect on sequence performance of changing seemingly task-irrelevant features of the visual display was explored, in order to determine possible context dependencies in sequence learning. Next, it was explored whether sequence learning can be guided by tactile as opposed to visual stimuli (i.e., Chapters 4 and 5), and whether sequence learning benefits from the availability of multiple, congruent response cues (i.e., Chapters 5 and 6). In Chapter 7, the final empirical chapter, the focus shifted from the stimulus to the response selection level of information processing. Through manipulating the stimulus-to-response (S-R) mapping, it aimed at further exploring the involvement of the response selection stage in (implicit) sequence learning. Finally, in chapter 8 it was explored to what extent findings on the SRT task may provide practical recommendations for the optimization of training programs for perceptual-motor skills.
|Award date||28 Jan 2010|
|Place of Publication||Enschede|
|Publication status||Published - 28 Jan 2010|