Do you think that improvement in implicit learning tasks such as the serial reaction time task in the ZAP is due to cognitive factors (learning a rule), or to getting faster at carrying out the motor component of the task?
The easiest way to explain the difference between implicit and explicit types of learning is to think of the latter as active learning and of the former – as passive one (Bruneau, n. d.). The experiment at ZAP website focuses on implicit learning and stimulates the learners to think about the mechanisms that facilitate it. The question is whether it is our mind or body that works as an agent in implicit learning. During the experiment with the sequence of circles, implicit learning occurred due to exposure to a practical task.
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In implicit learning no instructions as to the rule are provided, the learner gets to sort and process the new information on their own (Jenkins, 2012). In my opinion, reactions to the same sequence of circles over time minimize because our body memorizes the motions. As a result, it works like muscle memory (an examinee’s hand, eyes, and other muscles involved catch the pattern and follow it). This way, crossing one’s hands and repeating the same test with the same sequence shows slower results because a new hand needs to be trained to recognize and follow the sequence of circles all over again.
Why should using digits (numbers) typically yield the largest memory span, over that of letters, words, or nonsense syllables?
Sequences of numbers are easier to memorize than nonsense syllables, words, and letters because they contain universal meaning, whereas words and syllables have individual meanings that are specific from a person to a person. To improve one’s ability to memorize letters, it is best to break them into groups that would turn them into homogenous chunks (Pinola, 2012). In other words, adding some meaning to the meaningless sequences makes them easier to remember. Regular practice of memorizing strings of numbers may improve one’s memory and also help them raise overall mental abilities and become a better worker, student, professional (Goldberg, 2011).
Bruneau, E. (n.d.). Implicit vs. Explicit Learning Activity. Web.
Goldberg, J. G. (2011). How Increasing Your Brain’s ‘Digit Span’ Can Improve Overall Function. Web.
Jenkins, B. (2012). Implicit vs. Explicit Instruction: Which is Better for Word Learning?. Web.
Pinola, M. (2012). Improve Your Memory with The Chunking Technique. Web.