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Representation of memory for order of mental operations in cognitive tasks.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
The American journal of psychology
Publication Date
Volume
115
Issue
2
Pages
251–274
Identifiers
PMID: 12041011
Source
Medline

Abstract

Recent research shows that people learning a cognitive task acquire a memory for the order of operations applied, independent of the data to which those operations were applied. We designed two experiments to show how this sequence memory is represented. Experiment 1 compared predictions based on 3 possible sequence representation methods: composition, dyad transition, and associative chain. Latency and error results from a simple sequential task supported the associative chain representation. The associative links between operations presumably enhance performance by priming subsequent operations but do not operate in an all-or-none fashion. Experiment 2 explored whether transfer items that matched the first 2 rules and first 3 elements of a training item could bias participants toward executing a composed production learned during training. Latency and undetected error results were consistent with an associative chain representation but not with additional predictions made by the composition representation. These two experiments support the representation of operation sequences in memory as an associative chain.

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