CoActions Lab

Cognition and Actions Lab

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Sequence learning and chunking

sequence learning and chunkingThe ability to learn and to perform structured sequences is critical in most human behaviors, such as language, music, but also in skillful movements, that make humans so distinctive. Learning those sequences relies on “chunking”, which can be viewed as two distinct processes: a first chunking operation allows you to parse the sequence into shorter clusters (as when you learn a new phone number) and is called “segmentation”. The following chunking process is named “concatenation” and consists in assembling several short chunks into longer segments. Critically, chunking makes the processing and learning of sequences more efficient. This research project aims to determine the neural correlates of chunking. Indeed, the segmentation and concatenation processes could rely on different brain structures: the former would rely on a left fronto-parietal network, including Broca’s area, whereas the latter would be performed by the basal ganglia. However, so far, these conclusions are based on correlative functional imaging data and the causal role of the basal ganglia and Broca’s area in chunking still requires further empirical validation.

People involved:

  • From the lab: Solopchuk O, Duque J
  • Alumni: Zénon A, Olivier E, Alamia A
  • Collaborators: Alamia A, D'Ausilio A, Fadiga L, Van Bever V, Zénon A

Related publications:

  1. Solopchuk O, Alamia A, Dricot L, Duque J, Zénon A. cTBS disruption of the supplementary motor area perturbs cortical sequence representation but not behavioural performance. Neuroimage. 2017;163:34-40.
  2. Alamia A, Solopchuk O, Olivier E, Zenon A. Non-parametric Algorithm to Isolate Chunks in Response Sequences. Front Behav Neurosci. 2016;10:177.
  3. Solopchuk O, Alamia A, Zénon A. The Role of the Dorsal Premotor Cortex in Skilled Action Sequences. J Neurosci. 2016;36(25):6599-601.
  4. Solopchuk O, Alamia A, Olivier E, Zénon A. Chunking improves symbolic sequence processing and relies on working memory gating mechanisms. Learn Mem. 2016;23(3):108-12.
  5. Alamia A, Solopchuk O, D'Ausilio A, Van Bever V, Fadiga L, Olivier E, Zénon A. Disruption of Broca's Area Alters Higher-order Chunking Processing during Perceptual Sequence Learning. J Cogn Neurosci. 2016;28(3):402-17.


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