The cognitive and neural architecture of sequence representation

Psychol Rev. 2003 Apr;110(2):316-39. doi: 10.1037/0033-295x.110.2.316.


The authors theorize that 2 neurocognitive sequence-learning systems can be distinguished in serial reaction time experiments, one dorsal (parietal and supplementary motor cortex) and the other ventral (temporal and lateral prefrontal cortex). Dorsal system learning is implicit and associates noncategorized stimuli within dimensional modules. Ventral system learning can be implicit or explicit It also allows associating events across dimensions and therefore is the basis of cross-task integration or interference, depending on degree of cross-task correlation of signals. Accordingly, lack of correlation rather than limited capacity is responsible for dual-task effects on learning. The theory is relevant to issues of attentional effects on learning; the representational basis of complex, sequential skills; hippocampal-versus basal ganglia-based learning; procedural versus declarative memory; and implicit versus explicit memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology
  • Memory / physiology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Reaction Time