Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Implicit sequence learning is thought to be preserved in aging when the to-be learned associations are first-order; however, when associations are second-order, older adults (OAs) have been shown to experience deficits as compared to young adults (YAs). Two experiments were conducted using a first (Experiment 1) and second-order (Experiment 2) serial-reaction time task. A between subject's manipulation was utilized in both experiments. Stimuli were presented at a constant rate of either 800 milliseconds (fast) or 1200 milliseconds (slow). Results indicate that both age groups learned first-order dependencies equally in both conditions. OAs and YAs also learned second-order dependencies, but learning only occurred for OAs in the slow condition, and for YAs in the fast condition. The sensitivity of implicit sequence learning to the flow of information, and not age, supports the idea that implicit learning is preserved across the lifespan.