Integration of Temporal and Ordinal Information During Serial Interception Sequence Learning

Eric W. Gobel, Daniel J. Sanchez, Paul J. Reber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The expression of expert motor skills typically involves learning to perform a precisely timed sequence of movements. Research examining incidental sequence learning has relied on a perceptually cued task that gives participants exposure to repeating motor sequences but does not require timing of responses for accuracy. In the 1st experiment, a novel perceptual-motor sequence learning task was used, and learning a precisely timed cued sequence of motor actions was shown to occur without explicit instruction. Participants learned a repeating sequence through practice and showed sequence-specific knowledge via a performance decrement when switched to an unfamiliar sequence. In the 2nd experiment, the integration of representation of action order and timing sequence knowledge was examined. When either action order or timing sequence information was selectively disrupted, performance was reduced to levels similar to completely novel sequences. Unlike prior sequence-learning research that has found timing information to be secondary to learning action sequences, when the task demands require accurate action and timing information, an integrated representation of these types of information is acquired. These results provide the first evidence for incidental learning of fully integrated action and timing sequence information in the absence of an independent representation of action order and suggest that this integrative mechanism may play a material role in the acquisition of complex motor skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)994-1000
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Implicit memory
  • Integration
  • Motor control
  • Sequence learning
  • Timing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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