On the neural mechanisms of sequence learning

PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 2 (1995)
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Nissen and Bullemer's serial reaction time task has proven to be a useful model task for exploring implicit sequence learning. Neuropsychological research indicates that SRT learning may depend on the integrity of the basal ganglia, but not on medial temporal and diencephalic structures that are crucial for explicit learning. Recent neuroimaging research demonstrates that motor cortical areas , prefrontal, and parietal cortex also may be involved. This paper reviews this neuropsychological and neuroimaging research, but finds it lacking specific links between structure and function. In order to promote better functional hypotheses, the second part of the paper examines the function of these brain areas from a broader perspective. Neuroimaging and neuropsychological research with human subjects, as well as neurophysiological and lesion research with animals, suggests a number component operations that these brain mechanisms may contribute to learning in the SRT task



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