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Functional localization and mechanisms of sequential effects in serial reaction time tasks

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Ines Jentzsch, W Sommer

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Reaction times (RTs) to randomly ordered stimuli are influenced in various ways by the sequence of preceding events. Depending on the response-stimulus interval and stimulus-response compatibility, cost-only or cost-benefit patterns can be observed. In order to localize these effects within the information-processing system, different sequential patterns were induced in overt performance. RTs and amplitude developments of the lateralized readiness potential (LRP) across several trials indicated the accumulation of residual traces as a possible mechanism underlying sequential effects. Analysis of LRP onsets indicated two possible loci of action of such traces. Whereas in motoric stages trace accumulation appeared to produce processing advantages only for continued event repetitions, without corresponding costs for discontinuations, cost-benefit patterns were consistently observed in premotoric stages.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1169-1188
Number of pages20
JournalPerception and Psychophysics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2002

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