Sequential Dependencies in Human Behavior Offer Insights into Cognitive Control

Michael C. Mozer*, Sachiko Kinoshita, Michael Shettel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter presents a perspective on cognitive control that is motivated by an examination of sequential dependencies in human behavior. A sequential dependency is an influence of one incidental experience on subsequent experience. Sequential dependencies arise in psychological experiments when individuals perform a task repeatedly or perform a series of tasks, and one task trial influences behavior on subsequent trials. Sequential dependencies are viewed as reflecting the fine tuning of cognitive control to the structure of the environment. Sequential dependencies reflect cortical adaptation operating on the timescale of seconds, not-as one usually imagines when discussing learning-days or weeks. Sequential dependencies are robust and nearly ubiquitous across a wide range of experimental tasks. This chapter presents a catalog of sequential dependency effects, spanning a variety of components of the cognitive architecture, including perception, attention, language, stimulus-response mapping, and response initiation. It also introduces a model that accounts for sequential effects of response repetition in a simple choice task.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntegrated Models of Cognitive Systems
EditorsWayne D. Gray
Place of PublicationOxford; New York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780199847457
ISBN (Print)9780195189193, 0195189191
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2007

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    Mozer, M. C., Kinoshita, S., & Shettel, M. (2007). Sequential Dependencies in Human Behavior Offer Insights into Cognitive Control. In W. D. Gray (Ed.), Integrated Models of Cognitive Systems (pp. 180-193). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.