Temporal Structure Modulates ERP Correlates of Visual Sequential Learning


Sequential learning (SL) refers to the ability to learn the temporal and ordinal patterns of one’s environment. The current study examines the effects of synchronous and asynchronous temporal patterns on visual sequential learning. We hypothesize that entrainment allows for better processing of the ordinal structure of sequential events. Twenty healthy adult participants performed two versions (synchronous and asynchronous) of a visual sequential learning paradigm while event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded. Reaction time data demonstrated that learning occurred in both temporal conditions. On the other hand, the mean ERP amplitudes between 350 and 750ms post-predictor onset in the posterior regions of interest revealed that learning of the statistical contingencies between stimuli was disrupted for the asynchronous temporal condition but intact for the synchronous condition. These neurophysiological data suggest that the brain processes regular and irregular timing events differently, with statistical learning of ordinal patterns being improved by a synchronous temporal structure.

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