Eberhardt, Katharina (2015). What are the basic modules of implicit sequence learning? A feature-based account. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.


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According to the Theory of Event Coding (TEC; Hommel et al., 2001), action and perception are represented in a shared format in the cognitive system by means of feature codes. In implicit sequence learning research, it is still common to make a conceptual difference between independent motor and perceptual sequences. This supposedly independent learning takes place in encapsulated modules (Keele et al., 2003) which process information along single dimensions. These dimensions have remained underspecified so far. It is especially not clear whether stimulus- and response characteristics are processed in separate modules. In this thesis, it is suggested that features as they are described in the TEC should be viewed as the basic modules of implicit learning. This means that the modules process all stimulus- and response information related to a certain feature of the perceptual environment. By means of a serial reaction time task, the nature of the basic units of implicit learning will be investigated with the exemplary learning type of location sequence learning. In Experiments 1-3, it is shown that a stimulus location sequence and a response location sequence cannot be learnt without interference unless one of the sequences can be coded via an alternative, non-spatial dimension. These results support the notion that location is one module of the implicit learning system and consequently, that there are no separate processing units for stimulus locations vs. response locations. In Experiments 4 and 5, it is shown that learning of a stimulus location sequence can lead to facilitating transfer to a response location sequence relying on the same location feature codes. These findings give further evidence that inside an implicit learning module, all stimulus- and response information relying on the same feature code get simultaneously activated. Taken together, the experiments suggest that implicit learning processes rely on the same mechanisms postulated in the TEC (Hommel et al., 2001) for action coding on a trial-to-trial basis. Most importantly, stimulus- and response characteristics of a sequence are not processed or learnt independently from each other. This can lead to both interference and facilitation effects.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
Eberhardt, Katharinakat_eberhardt@hotmail.comUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-67021
Subjects: Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:
implicit learningEnglish
sequence learningEnglish
Faculty: Faculty of Human Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Human Sciences > Department Psychologie
Language: English
Date: 12 October 2015
Date of oral exam: 5 February 2016
NameAcademic Title
Haider, HildeProf.Dr.
Koch, IringProf.Dr.
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/6702


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