The stuff that motor chunks are made of: Spatial instead of motor representations?
In order to determine how participants represent practiced, discrete keying sequences in the discrete sequence production task, we had 24 participants practice two six-key sequences on the basis of two pre-learned six-digit numbers. These sequences were carried out by fingers of the left (L) and right (R) hand with between-hand transitions always occurring between the second and third, and the fifth and sixth responses. This yielded the so-called LLRRRL and RRLLLR sequences. Early and late in practice, the keypad used for the right hand was briefly relocated from the front of the participants to 90° at their right side. The results indicate that after 600 practice trials, executing a keying sequence relies heavily on a spatial cross-hand representation in a trunk- or head-based reference frame that after about only 15 trials is fully adjusted to the changed hand location. The hand location effect was not found with the last sequence element. This is attributed to the application of explicit knowledge. The between-hand transitions appeared to induce initial segmentation in some of the participants, but this did not consolidate into a concatenation point of successive motor chunks.