Age‐related differences in sequence learning: Findings from two visuo‐motor sequence learning tasks

Kristi Urry, Nicholas R. Burns, Irina Baetu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Serial Reaction Time Task (SRTT) is thought to assess implicit learning, which seems to be preserved with age. However, the reaction time (RT) measures employed on implicit-like tasks might be too unreliable to detect individual differences. We investigated whether RT-based measures mask age effects by comparing the performance of 43 younger and 35 older adults on SRTT and an explicit-like Predictive Sequence Learning Task (PSLT). RT-based measures (difference scores and a ratio) were collected for both tasks, and accuracy was additionally measured for PSLT. We also measured fluid abilities. The RT-difference scores indicated preserved SRTT and PSLT performance with age and did not correlate with fluid abilities, while ratio RT and the accuracy-based measures indicated age-related decline and correlated with fluid abilities. Therefore, RT-difference scores might mask individual differences, which compromises the interpretation of previous studies using SRTT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)830-849
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
Volume109
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • ageing
  • implicit learning
  • reaction time
  • sequence learning
  • serial reaction time

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