Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/101374
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Type: Journal article
Title: Accuracy-based measures provide a better measure of sequence learning than reaction time-based measures
Author: Urry, K.
Burns, N.
Baetu, I.
Citation: Frontiers in Psychology, 2015; 6:1158-1-1158-14
Publisher: Frontiers Media
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 1664-1078
1664-1078
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Kristi Urry, Nicholas R. Burns, Irina Baetu
Abstract: The Serial Reaction Time Task (SRTT) was designed to measure motor sequence learning and is widely used in many fields in cognitive science and neuroscience. However, the common performance measures derived from SRTT—reaction time (RT) difference scores—may not provide valid measures of sequence learning. This is because RT-difference scores may be subject to floor effects and otherwise not sufficiently reflective of learning. A ratio RT measure might minimize floor effects. Furthermore, measures derived from predictive accuracy may provide a better assessment of sequence learning. Accordingly, we developed a Predictive Sequence Learning Task (PSLT) in which performance can be assessed via both RT and predictive accuracy. We compared performance of N = 99 adults on SRTT and PSLT in a within-subjects design and also measured fluid abilities. The RT-difference scores on both tasks were generally not related to fluid abilities, replicating previous findings. In contrast, a ratio RT measure on SRTT and PSLT and accuracy measures on PSLT were related to fluid abilities. The accuracy measures also indicated an age-related decline in performance on PSLT. The current patterns of results were thus inconsistent across different measures on the same tasks, and we demonstrate that this discrepancy is potentially due to floor effects on the RT difference scores. This may limit the potential of SRTT to measure sequence learning and we argue that PSLT accuracy measures could provide a more accurate reflection of learning ability.
Keywords: serial reaction time task, methodology, implicit learning, sequence learning, reaction time, fluid abilities
Rights: Copyright © 2015 Urry, Burns and Baetu. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
RMID: 0030034170
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01158
Grant ID: http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DE140100750
Appears in Collections:Psychology publications

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