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Esser S, Haider H (2017) The emergence of explicit knowledge in a serial reaction time task: the role of experienced fluency and strength of representation. Frontiers in Psychology, 8:502    
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Abstract
The Serial Reaction Time Task (SRTT) is an important paradigm to study the properties of unconscious learning processes. One specifically interesting and still controversially discussed topic are the conditions under which unconsciously acquired knowledge becomes conscious knowledge. The different assumptions about the underlying mechanisms can contrastively be separated into two accounts: single system views in which the strengthening of associative weights throughout training gradually turns implicit knowledge into explicit knowledge, and dual system views in which implicit knowledge itself does not become conscious. Rather, it requires a second process which detects changes in performance and is able to acquire conscious knowledge. In a series of three experiments, we manipulated the arrangement of sequential and deviant trials. In an SRTT training, participants either received mini-blocks of sequential trials followed by mini-blocks of deviant trials (22 trials each) or they received sequential and deviant trials mixed randomly. Importantly the number of correct and deviant transitions was the same for both conditions. Experiment 1 showed that both conditions acquired a comparable amount of implicit knowledge, expressed in different test tasks. Experiment 2 further demonstrated that both conditions differed in their subjectively experienced fluency of the task, with more fluency experienced when trained with mini-blocks. Lastly, Experiment 3 revealed that the participants trained with longer mini-blocks of sequential and deviant material developed more explicit knowledge. Results are discussed regarding their compatibility with different assumptions about the emergence of explicit knowledge in an implicit learning situation, especially with respect to the role of metacognitive judgements and more specifically the Unexpected-Event Hypothesis