Allgemeine Psychologie und Neuropsychologie

Abgeschlossene Projekte

SNF-Projekt: Determining the necessary and sufficient conditions for incidental learning with a task sequence learning paradigm

SNF Forschungsprojekt 100014-120580/130104


  • Prof. Dr. B. Meier


  • Dr. Josephine Cock
  • Lic. Phil Brigitte Weiermann

Informationen zum Projekt

Much of our everyday behaviour and observations follow some kind of sequence, even if they are not of our own deliberate making. In fact, often people are not even aware of these sequential regularities, but nevertheless they profit from them. To study incidental learning of this kind experimentally, a serial reaction time task is generally used. In the standard sequence learning paradigm, a sequence of correct response-key presses follows the sequence of designated target locations (cf., Nissen & Bullemer, 1987). Unbeknownst to participants, the order of target locations follows a sequence predetermined by the experimenter. With practice, performance gets faster compared to a randomised control condition. If the sequence is switched to random, performance is slowed again. These changes are usually taken as evidence of incidental sequence learning. Although there has been considerable effort to explain what kind of mental representation drives incidental sequence learning, there is still no consensus on what is involved. This may be related to the fact that there is an inevitable correlation (i.e., isomorphism) between the sequence of locations at which the stimulus appears and the sequence of motor/keyboard responses that the participant must make. Similarly, when sequences of tasks are performed in everyday life, typically the sequences consist of correlated streams of information, for example sequences of stimuli and responses. In fact the correlation of two streams of information may provide the basis on which incidental sequence learning rests. The goal of the present project is to further investigate this hypothesis.