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Mem Cognit. 2001 Dec;29(8):1111-9.

Nonconscious temporal cognition: learning rhythms implicitly.

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Department of Psychology, Stanford University, California 94305, USA.


Two experiments demonstrate that people can implicitly learn rhythms. Participants responded to a series of fast-paced beeps by pressing a key as soon as possible after each beep. They were not told that the duration (180, 450, or 1,125 msec) between each keypress and the next beep was specified by a repeating sequence. In both experiments, participants responded significantly faster to predictable, sequenced timing than to random timing but did not show more knowledge of the sequence than did control participants on explicit memory measures. This dissociation was obtained even with an explicit memory test in Experiment 2 that maintained the same context and response metric as the implicit task to maximize the transfer of relevant knowledge. Implications for temporal cognition are discussed.

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