Implicit sequence learning and conscious awareness

Consciousness and Cognition 17 (1):185-202 (2008)
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This paper uses the Process Dissociation Procedure to explore whether people can acquire unconscious knowledge in the serial reaction time task [Destrebecqz, A., & Cleeremans, A. . Can sequence learning be implicit? New evidence with the Process Dissociation Procedure. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 8, 343–350; Wilkinson, L., & Shanks, D. R. . Intentional control and implicit sequence learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 30, 354–369]. Experiment 1 showed that people generated legal sequences above baseline levels under exclusion instructions. Reward moved exclusion performance towards baseline, indicating that the extent of motivation in the test phase influenced the expression of unconscious knowledge. Experiments 2 and 3 revealed that even with reward, adding noise to the sequences or shortening training led to above-baseline exclusion performance, suggesting that task difficulty and the amount of training also affected the expression of unconscious knowledge. The results help resolve some current debates about the role of conscious awareness in sequence learning



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