The serial RT task: indications for components with different learning rates.

Willem B. Verwey, Benjamin A. Clegg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


At least five earlier studies could not find effector-dependent learning in the keying version of the serial reaction time (RT) task. Experiment 1 examined whether effector-dependent learning occurs when participants practice the serial RT task with three fingers of one hand for about 1,300 sequence repetitions instead of the more common 50–100 repetitions. The results confirm that, following extended practice, sequence learning produces an effector-dependent component. Specifically, an unpracticed hand executed a practiced sequence slower than a practiced hand. However, Experiment 2 showed that effector-dependent sequence learning develops only when fingers of one hand are used, suggesting that effector-dependent sequence learning involves adjustment to the mechanical interactions between the fingers of one hand. In addition, when sequences had been practiced with one hand, mirror versions of the practiced sequences in both experiments showed moderate transfer. But when practiced with two hands no transfer to a mirrored version of the sequence was observed. This suggests that only practice with one hand produces a representation that facilitates the execution of mirror sequences. Generally, the same results were found in more or less aware participants, congruent with the idea that the effector-dependent representation and the representation allowing transfer to mirror sequences are implicit.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)242-251
JournalPsychological research = Psychologische Forschung
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • METIS-224278
  • IR-52625

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