Feature Overlap in Action Sequence


This study determined if features of an action plan held in working memory are activated equally (consistent with serial memory theories) or in a gradient (consistent with theories that assume serial order is imposed before response selection). Two visual events occurred sequentially. Participants planned an action (3-key sequence) to the first event (Action A) maintaining this action in working memory while executing a speeded response to the second event (Action B). Afterwards, participants executed Action A. We manipulated whether Action B overlapped with the first, second or final feature of Action A, and examined the pattern of correct, Action B RTs at the different overlap locations by finger (index, middle, ring), as well as error rates of both Action A and Action B. Results indicate that sequences were not activated equally or in a gradient. Instead, activation reflected a serial position curve or reverse serial position curve dependent on finger.

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