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01-01-2014 | Original Article | Uitgave 1/2014

Psychological Research 1/2014

Evidence for graded central processing resources in a sequential movement task

Psychological Research > Uitgave 1/2014
Willem B. Verwey, Elger L. Abrahamse, Elian De Kleine, Marit F. L. Ruitenberg


In the present experiment, we examined slowing of the individual key presses of a familiar keying sequence by four different versions of a concurrent tone counting task. This was done to determine whether the same cognitive processor that has previously been assumed by the dual processor model (DPM) to initiate familiar keying sequences and assist in their execution, is involved also in the central processes of a very different task (viz. identifying tones and counting target tones). The present results confirm this hypothesis. They also suggest that in this particular situation the central processing resources underlying the cognitive processor can be distributed across the central processes of different tasks in a graded manner, rather than that they continue to behave like a single, central processor that serially switches between the central processes of the concurrently performed tasks. We argue that the production of highly practiced movement sequences can be considered automatic in the sense that execution of familiar movement sequences can continue without cognitive control once they have been initiated.

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