Memory & Cognition

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 95–110 | Cite as

Effects of presentation rate and individual differences in short-term memory capacity on an indirect measure of serial learning



In three experiments, we studied the relation between degree of implicit learning and two aspects of short-term memory: (l) the activation level of the to-be-learned information, and (2) individual differences in short-term memory capacity. In all the experiments, we used the Nissen and Bullemer (1987) serial reaction time paradigm or a modification thereof. The effects of activation level were assessed by experimentally manipulating the rate of presentation. Individual differences in short-term memory capacity were assessed via traditional span measures. The experiments demonstrated that the rate of presentation reliably affected an indirect measure of learning (i.e., response time) under both incidental and intentional task instructions and under both single-task and dual-task conditions. Short-term memory span was reliably related to the indirect measure of learning only in some experimental conditions. The findings represent important constraints for models of implicit serial learning and are discussed within a general framework for understanding implicit learning and memory.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MissounColumbia

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