Incidental auditory category learning and visuomotor sequence learning do not compete for cognitive resources

Yafit Gabay, Michelle Madlansacay, Lori L. Holt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The environment provides multiple regularities that might be useful in guiding behavior if one was able to learn their structure. Understanding statistical learning across simultaneous regularities is important, but poorly understood. We investigate learning across two domains: visuomotor sequence learning through the serial reaction time (SRT) task, and incidental auditory category learning via the systematic multimodal association reaction time (SMART) task. Several commonalities raise the possibility that these two learning phenomena may draw on common cognitive resources and neural networks. In each, participants are uninformed of the regularities that they come to use to guide actions, the outcomes of which may provide a form of internal feedback. We used dual-task conditions to compare learning of the regularities in isolation versus when they are simultaneously available to support behavior on a seemingly orthogonal visuomotor task. Learning occurred across the simultaneous regularities, without attenuation even when the informational value of a regularity was reduced by the presence of the additional, convergent regularity. Thus, the simultaneous regularities do not compete for associative strength, as in overshadowing effects. Moreover, the visuomotor sequence learning and incidental auditory category learning do not appear to compete for common cognitive resources; learning across the simultaneous regularities was comparable to learning each regularity in isolation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-462
Number of pages11
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Binational Scientific Foundation (2015227) and the National Science Foundation-Binational Scientific Foundation (2016867, NSF BCS1655126) grants to authors LLH and YG and by the National Science Foundation grant (BCS1655126, BCS1950054) to LLH and the Israel Science Foundation grant (734/22) to YG.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Psychonomic Society, Inc.


  • Dual task
  • Incidental auditory category learning
  • Overshadowing
  • Statistical learning
  • Visuomotor sequence learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sensory Systems
  • Linguistics and Language


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