An egocentric frame of reference in implicit motor sequence learning

Jessica K. Witt, James Ashe, Daniel T. Willingham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We investigated which frame of reference is evoked during implicit motor sequence learning. Participants completed a typical serial reaction time task. In the first experiment, we isolated egocentric and allocentric frames of reference and found that learning was solely in an egocentric reference frame. In a second experiment, we isolated hand-centered space from other egocentric frames of reference. We found that for a one-handed sequencing task, the sequence was coded in an egocentric reference frame but not a hand-centered reference frame. Our results are restricted to implicit learning of novel sequences in the early stages of learning. These findings are consistent with claims that the neural mechanisms involved in motor skill learning operate in egocentric coordinates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-552
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by National Institute of Health grants R01 MH065598-01A1, R01 NS040106-05, and R01 AG 24106-01A1 to Daniel T. Willingham.


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