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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

November 2018, Vol. 30, No. 11, Pages 1620-1629
(doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_01305)
© 2018 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Scope of Planning Serial Actions during Typing
Article PDF (1.37 MB)
Human activities consisting of multiple component actions require the generation of ordered sequences. This study investigated the scope of response planning in highly serial task, typing, by means of ERPs indexing motor response preparation. Specifically, we compared motor-related ERPs yielded by words typed using a single hand against words that had all keystrokes typed with a single hand, except for a deviant one, typed with the opposite hand. The deviant keystroke occurred either early in the typed sequence, corresponding to the second or third letters, or late, corresponding to the penultimate or last letter. Motor-related ERPs detected before response onset were affected only by deviant keystrokes located at the beginning of the sequence, whereas deviant keystrokes located at the end yielded ERPs that were undistinguishable from unimanual responses. These results impose some constraints on the notion of parallel processing of component actions.