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Knowing What to Respond in the Future Does Not Cancel the Influence of Past Events
Tubau Sala, Elisabet; López i Moliner, Joan
Universitat de Barcelona
Everyday tasks seldom involve isolate actions but sequences of them. We can see whether previous actions influence the current one by exploring the response time to controlled sequences of stimuli. Specifically, depending on the response-stimulus temporal interval (RSI), different mechanisms have been proposed to explain sequential effects in two-choice serial response tasks. Whereas an automatic facilitation mechanism is thought to produce a benefit for response repetitions at short RSIs, subjective expectancies are considered to replace the automatic facilitation at longer RSIs, producing a cost-benefit pattern: repetitions are faster after other repetitions but they are slower after alternations. However, there is not direct evidence showing the impact of subjective expectancies on sequential effects. By using a fixed sequence, the results of the reported experiment showed that the repetition effect was enhanced in participants who acquired complete knowledge of the order. Nevertheless, a similar cost-benefit pattern was observed in all participants and in all learning blocks. Therefore, results of the experiment suggest that sequential effects, including the cost-benefit pattern, are the consequence of automatic mechanisms which operate independently of (and simultaneously with) explicit knowledge of the sequence or other subjective expectancies.
Sistemes de pregunta i resposta
Disseny d'experiments
Anàlisi cost-benefici
Question-answering systems
Experimental design
Cost effectiveness
cc-by (c) Tubau Sala, Elisabet et al., 2009
Public Library of Science (PLoS)

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