Cognitive sequence knowledge: What is learned?

Jay L. Wenger, Richard A. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In 4 experiments, participants performed running-arithmetic tasks. These tasks involved a sequential ordering of individual operations and a structure of subgoals that defined how calculations fit together in purpose. Consistent transitions between adjacent steps facilitated performance only when subgoal structures were relatively simple. When subgoal structures were more complex, consistent mapping of operations to serial locations produced a slight benefit. Consistency of subgoal structure produced a substantial benefit in both speed and accuracy, and some knowledge of subgoal structure integrated with knowledge of the sequence of operations. Apparently, a task's subgoal structure imposes demands that either facilitate or obscure benefits of sequence consistencies. The benefits are attributed to increased efficiency in using working memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-619
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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