This study investigated whether implicit learning of sequence by observation occurred in a serial reaction time task and whether the learning effects were modulated by model behavioral type. In Experiment 1, we let 20 participants perform a sequence for 12 blocks and chose the best and worst performance models based on reaction time and errors. In Experiment 2, new observers viewed a movie clip chosen from the following three: the best model performing the sequential task in the first (the first six blocks) or second session (the last six blocks), or the worst model performing the task in the first session. Then, the observers performed the observed sequence, a test sequence and awareness test. We found that (1) implicit sequential learning occurred by observation regardless of model behavior type, (2) the learning effects were not susceptible to model behavior type and (3) speed index reflecting reaction time became larger even in the test session when the observers viewed the best model performing the second session. Overall, observers developed general motor representations through action–observation. In addition, their responses were also contagious; if the model performed the sequence faster, the observer might be able to perform the sequence faster.
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