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PLOS ONE  2013 

Working Memory and Its Relation to Deterministic Sequence Learning

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056166

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Abstract:

Is there a relation between working memory (WM) and incidental sequence learning? Nearly all of the earlier investigations in the role of WM capacity (WMC) in sequence learning suggest no correlations in incidental learning conditions. However, the theoretical view of WM and operationalization of WMC made strong progress in recent years. The current study related performance in a coordination and transformation task to sequence knowledge in a four-choice incidental deterministic serial reaction time (SRT) task and a subsequent free generation task. The response-to-stimulus interval (RSI) was varied between 0 ms and 300 ms. Our results show correlations between WMC and error rates in condition RSI 0 ms. For condition RSI 300 ms we found relations between WMC and sequence knowledge in the SRT task as well as between WMC and generation task performance. Theoretical implications of these findings for ongoing processes during sequence learning and retrieval of sequence knowledge are discussed.

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