Explicit instruction of rules interferes with visuomotor skill transfer

Kanji Tanaka, Katsumi Watanabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In the present study, we examined the effects of explicit knowledge, obtained through instruction or spontaneous detection, on the transfer of visuomotor sequence learning. In the learning session, participants learned a visuomotor sequence, via trial and error. In the transfer session, the order of the sequence was reversed from that of the learning session. Before the commencement of the transfer session, some participants received explicit instruction regarding the reversal rule (i.e., Instruction group), while the others did not receive any information and were sorted into either an Aware or Unaware group, as assessed by interview conducted after the transfer session. Participants in the Instruction and Aware groups performed with fewer errors than the Unaware group in the transfer session. The participants in the Instruction group showed slower speed than the Aware and Unaware groups in the transfer session, and the sluggishness likely persisted even in late learning. These results suggest that explicit knowledge reduces errors in visuomotor skill transfer, but may interfere with performance speed, particularly when explicit knowledge is provided, as opposed to being spontaneously discovered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1689-1700
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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