The Relationship between Skill Learning and Repetition Priming: Experimental and Computational Analyses

Russell A. Poldrack, Scott L. Selco, Jason E. Field, Neal J. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Skill learning and repetition priming are considered by some to be supported by separate memory systems. The authors examined the relationship between skill learning and priming in 3 experiments using a digit entering task, in which participants were presented with unique and repeated 5-digit strings with controlled sequential structure. Both skill learning and priming were observed across a wide range of skill levels. Performance reflected the effects of learning at 3 different levels of stimulus structure, calling into question a binary dichotomy between item-specific priming and general skill learning. Two computational models were developed which demonstrated that previous dissociations between skill learning and priming can occur within a single memory system. The experimental and computational results are interpreted as suggesting that skill learning and priming should be viewed as 2 aspects of a single incremental learning mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-235
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language

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