Serial Step Learning of Cognitive Sequences

David H. Lundy, Jay L. Wenger, R. James Schmidt, Richard A. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Tasks that require performing a series of cognitive steps may vary (a) in the goal structures they imply and (b) in the relationships among the inputs and outputs of component steps. In 3 experiments the authors tested the role of these characteristics in determining the benefits of practicing with a consistent sequence of component steps. When subjects solved simple mathematical equations by using either a hierarchical or a flat goal structure, the results showed a benefit of a consistent sequence in both goal structure conditions. In another experiment, the main manipulation was whether the components steps were cascaded, requiring the output of a step to be used as input to a subsequent step. The results showed a greater benefit of a consistent sequence for the cascaded task than for a task that encapsulated each step. These results suggest that knowledge acquired from serial step learning is incorporated in the representation of each component step.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1183-1195
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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