Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 235, Issue 6, pp 1689–1700

Explicit instruction of rules interferes with visuomotor skill transfer

Research Article


In the present study, we examined the effects of explicit knowledge, obtained through instruction or spontaneous detection, on the transfer of visuomotor sequence learning. In the learning session, participants learned a visuomotor sequence, via trial and error. In the transfer session, the order of the sequence was reversed from that of the learning session. Before the commencement of the transfer session, some participants received explicit instruction regarding the reversal rule (i.e., Instruction group), while the others did not receive any information and were sorted into either an Aware or Unaware group, as assessed by interview conducted after the transfer session. Participants in the Instruction and Aware groups performed with fewer errors than the Unaware group in the transfer session. The participants in the Instruction group showed slower speed than the Aware and Unaware groups in the transfer session, and the sluggishness likely persisted even in late learning. These results suggest that explicit knowledge reduces errors in visuomotor skill transfer, but may interfere with performance speed, particularly when explicit knowledge is provided, as opposed to being spontaneously discovered.


Sequential learning Transfer Explicit Implicit Instruction 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Science and EngineeringWaseda UniversityShinjukuJapan
  2. 2.Research Center for Advanced Science and TechnologyThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Japan Society for the Promotion of ScienceTokyoJapan

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