The role of awareness in anticipation and recall performance in the Hebb repetition paradigm: implications for sequence learning
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Sequence learning has notably been studied using the Hebb repetition paradigm (Hebb, 1961) and the serial reaction time (SRT) task (Nissen & Bullemer, Cognitive Psychology 19:1-32, 1987). These two paradigms produce robust learning effects but differ with regard to the role of awareness: Awareness does not affect learning a repeated sequence in the Hebb repetition paradigm, as is evidenced by recall performance, whereas in the SRT task, awareness helps to anticipate the location of the next stimulus. In this study, we examined the role of awareness in anticipation and recall performance, using the Hebb repetition paradigm. Eye movements were monitored during a spatial reconstruction task where participants had to memorize sequences of dot locations. One sequence was repeated every four trials. Results showed that recall performance for the repeated sequence improved across repetitions for all participants but that anticipation increased only for participants aware of the repetition.
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