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26-06-2019 | Original Article | Uitgave 8/2020

Psychological Research 8/2020

Asymmetrical effects of control on the expression of implicit sequence learning

Psychological Research > Uitgave 8/2020
Joaquín M. M. Vaquero, Juan Lupiáñez, Luis Jiménez
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As an automatic process, implicit learning effects have been characterized as inflexible and largely tied to the reinstatement of the acquisition context. However, implicit learning transfer has been observed under certain conditions, depending on the changes introduced between training and transfer. Here, we assess the hypothesis that transfer is specifically hindered by those changes that increase the control demands required by the orienting task with respect to those faced over training. Following on previous results by Jiménez et al. (J Exp Psychol Learn Memory Cognit 32(3):475–490, 2006), which showed that the learning acquired over a standard serial reaction time task was not transferred to conditions requiring a more demanding search task, we explored the impact of symmetrical training and transfer conditions, and showed that sequence learning survived such transfer. Four additional experiments designed to assess transfer to either lower or higher control demands confirmed that the expression of learning was selectively hindered by those transfer conditions requiring higher levels of control demands. The results illustrate how implicit sequence learning can be indirectly subjected to cognitive control.

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