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Routes to Actions and their Efficacy for Remembering

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Four experiments focused on the influence that different controls of actions have on memory for these actions. A verbal-to-action task in which subjects had to perform actions on verbal command was distinguished from a movement-to-action task in which subjects had to perform the same action that a model had shown (imitation). We expected free recall to be worse for the imitation condition than for the enactment-on-command condition. The following rank order of recall performances was observed: verbal learning << perceiving the model = imitating the watched model < performing on command = performing on command in addition to perceiving the model. The less pronounced effect of imitation on memory is explained by the fact that subjects in this condition could directly use the information provided by perception for enactment without selection and detailed planning of motor actions. In contrast, subjects in the command-to-action condition had to look up the ''motor program''. The inefficiency of using two modalities, i.e. perception and action, as compared to using only one is explained by the redundancy of encoded information in the visual and ''motor'' modality.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1996

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