Oculomotor and manual indexes of incidental and intentional spatial sequence learning during middle childhood and adolescence

Canan Karatekin, David J. Marcus, Tonya White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

The goal of this study was to examine incidental and intentional spatial sequence learning during middle childhood and adolescence. We tested four age groups (8-10 years, 11-13 years, 14-17 years, and young adults [18+ years]) on a serial reaction time task and used manual and oculomotor measures to examine incidental sequence learning. Participants were also administered a trial block in which they were explicitly instructed to learn a sequence. Replicating our previous study with adults, oculomotor anticipations and response times showed learning effects similar to those in the manual modality. There were few age-related differences in the sequence learning indexes during incidental learning, but intentional learning yielded differences on all indexes. Results indicate that the search for regularities and the ability to learn a sequence rapidly under incidental conditions are mature by 8 to 10 years of age. In contrast, the ability to learn a sequence intentionally, which requires cognitive resources and strategies, continues to develop through adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-130
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Volume96
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for the study was provided by a McKnight Land Grant Professorship from the University of Minnesota, a Young Investigator (Wodecroft Investigator) Award from the National Alliance for Schizophrenia and Depression, a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (1 RO3 MH063150-01A2), and a grant from the University of Minnesota Center for Neurobehavioral Development. We thank Sanford Weisberg and Michael Harwell for their comments on data analyses, and Cacy Miranda, M. A., Bonnie Houg, M. A., Kathryn McGraw-Schuchman, M. A., L. P., and Angie Guimaraes, M. A. for their help with the diagnostic assessments.

Keywords

  • Anticipatory responses
  • Development
  • Eye movements
  • Incidental learning
  • Intentional learning
  • Sequence learning
  • Serial reaction time (SRT)
  • Visual-spatial attention

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