We investigated the role of response selection in sequence learning in the serial reaction time (SRT) task, by manipulating stimulus-response compatibility. Under conditions in which other types of learning, like perceptual, response-based, and response-effect learning, were unaffected, sequence learning was better with an incompatible than with a compatible stimulus-response mapping. Stimulus discriminability, on the other hand, had no influence on the amount of sequence learning. This indicates that the compatibility effects cannot be accounted for by a different level of task difficulty. Relating our results to the dimensional overlap model (Kornblum, Hasbroucq, & Osman, 1990), which assumes that incompatible stimulus-response mappings require more controlled response selection than do compatible stimulus-response mapping, we suggest that sequence learning in the SRT task is particularly effective when response selection occurs in a controlled way.
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