Dissociation between two types of skill learning tasks: The differential effect of divided attention

Eli Vakil, Yaakov Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The proposed distinction between perceptual and conceptual skill-learning tasks was tested. Eighty participants were administered a cued recall task and two priming tasks, one perceptual (partial word-identification) and one conceptual (category production). Two skill-learning tasks were administered as well, one putative perceptual (mirror reading) and the other putative conceptual (Tower of Hanoi puzzle). Each task was performed by half of the participants under a full attention condition, and by the other half under a divided attention condition. Consistent with previous reports in the literature, divided attention did not interfere with the perceptual priming task, but did interfere with the conceptual priming and cued recall tasks. Dissociation was also observed for the skill-learning tasks. Divided attention did not affect either baseline performance or learning rate on the mirror reading task. However, on the Tower of Hanoi puzzle, divided attention did interfere with baseline performance, but contrary to prediction it did not interfere with learning rate. The differential effect of divided attention on the baseline performance in these two tasks was interpreted as supporting the distinction between conceptual and perceptual skill-learning tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-666
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2004


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