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  1. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Compared to blocked practice, interleaved practice of different tasks leads to superior long-term retention despite poorer initial acquisition performance. This phenomenon, the contextual interference effect, is well documented in various domains but it is not yet clear if it persists in the absence of explicit knowledge in terms of fine motor sequence learning. Additionally, while there is some evidence that interleaved practice leads to improved transfer of learning to similar actions, transfer of implicit motor sequence learning has not been explored. The present studies used a serial reaction time task where participants practiced three different eight-item sequences that were either interleaved or blocked on Day 1 (training) and Day 2 (testing). In Experiment 1, the retention of the three training sequences was tested on Day 2 and in Experiment 2, three novel sequences were performed on Day 2 to measure transfer. We assessed whether subjects were aware of the sequences to determine whether the benefit of interleaved practice extends to implicitly learned sequences. Even for participants who reported no awareness of the sequences, interleaving led to a benefit for both retention and transfer compared to participants who practiced blocked sequences. Those who trained with blocked sequences were left unprepared for interleaved sequences at test, while those who trained with interleaved sequences were unaffected by testing condition, revealing that learning resulting from blocked practice may be less flexible and more vulnerable to testing conditions. These results indicate that the benefit of interleaved practice extends to implicit motor sequence learning and transfer. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    To efficiently learn and retain motor skills, we can introduce contextual interference through interleaved practice. Interleaving tasks or stimuli initially hinders performance but leads to superior long-term retention. It is not yet clear if implicitly learned information also benefits from interleaving and how interleaved practice changes the representation of skills. The present study used a serial reaction time task where participants practiced three 8-item sequences that were either interleaved or blocked on Day 1 (training) and Day 2 (testing). An explicit recall test allowed us to post-hoc sort participants into two groups of learners: implicit learners recalled less items than did explicit learners. Significant decreasing monotonic trends, indicating successful learning, were observed in both training groups and both groups of learners. We found support for the benefit of interleaved practice on retention of implicit sequence learning, indicating that the benefit of interleaved practice does not depend on explicit memory retrieval. A Bayesian Sequential Learning model was adopted to model human performance. Both empirical and computational results suggest that explicit knowledge of the sequence was detrimental to retention when the sequences were blocked, but not when they were interleaved, suggesting that contextual interference may be a protective factor of interference of explicit knowledge. Slower learning in the interleaved condition may result in better retention and reduced interference of explicit knowledge on performance. 
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