Measures of awareness and of sequence knowledge

Jackson and Jackson (1995) argue that most current tests used to assess awareness of sequential material are flawed because of their emphasis on accuracy. They propose to distinguish two forms of sequence knowledge: Serial knowledge, that is, knowledge about the specific sequence that stimuli follow, which involves information about the statistical relationship between many sequence elements, and statistical knowledge, or knowledge about the probability of different transitions between adjacent sequence elements. Further, they suggest a new method to analyze generation performance, which involves considering the correlation between subjects' responses and the distribution of transition probabilities, regardless of the accuracy of generation performance. In this comment, we first suggest that the distinction between serial and statistical knowledge is unwarranted except in one case which is not addressed by Jackson and Jackson. We propose instead that all sequence knowledge is essentially statistical in nature. Second, we suggest that using probabilistic instead of deterministic sequences is a better way to approach the assessment of explicit knowledge, and illustrate this contention with empirical and simulated examples based on previous and current research (Cleeremans, 1993; Cleeremans and McClelland, 1991; Jimenez, Mendez and Cleeremans, 1996).
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