In two experiments, we investigated the impact of spatial attributes on the representation acquired during a serial reaction time task. Two sequences were used, in which structural regularities occurred either in the horizontal or in the vertical locations of successive stimuli. After training with the dominant hand, participants were required to respond with the non-dominant hand to either the original sequence or to a mirror-ordered version of the original sequence that required finger movements homologous to those used during training. We observed that a difference in reaction times between the two transfer conditions was smaller in the vertical sequence than in the horizontal sequence. This pattern of results was independent of whether three fingers (Experiment 1) were used or only one finger (Experiment 2) was used for responding. This result suggests that perceptual and motor learning mechanisms may be weighted differently depending on the context in which the stimulus is presented.
Keywords: serial reaction time task, sensorimotor learning, intermanual transfer