A cognitive framework for explaining serial processing and sequence execution strategies. Academic Article uri icon


  • Behavioral research has produced many task-specific cognitive models that do not say much about the underlying information-processing architecture. Such an architecture is badly needed to better understand how cognitive neuroscience can benefit from existing cognitive models. This problem is especially pertinent in the domain of sequential behavior where behavioral research suggests a diversity of cognitive processes, processing modes and representations. Inspired by decades of reaction time (RT) research with the Additive Factors Method, the Psychological Refractory Period paradigm, and the Discrete Sequence Production task, we propose the Cognitive framework for Sequential Motor Behavior (C-SMB). We argue that C-SMB accounts for cognitive models developed for a range of sequential motor tasks (like those proposed by Keele et al., Psychological Review, 110(2), 316-339, 2003; Rosenbaum et al., Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 9(1), 86-102, 1983, Journal of Memory and Language, 25, 710-725, 1986, Psychological Review, 102, 28-67, 1995; Schmidt, Psychological Review, 82(4), 225-260, 1975; Sternberg et al., 1978, Phonetica, 45, 177-197, 1988). C-SMB postulates that sequence execution can be controlled by a central processor using central-symbolic representations, and also by a motor processor using sequence-specific motor representations. On the basis of this framework, we present a classification of the sequence execution strategies that helps researchers to better understand the cognitive and neural underpinnings of serial movement behavior.

published proceedings

  • Psychon Bull Rev

author list (cited authors)

  • Verwey, W. B., Shea, C. H., & Wright, D. L.

citation count

  • 84

complete list of authors

  • Verwey, Willem B||Shea, Charles H||Wright, David L

publication date

  • February 2015