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Practice can change the nature and quality of a stimulus-response relationship. The current study observed the effects of repeated administration of the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT) in 12 healthy individuals, in an effort to establish distinct profiles associated with novel and practiced processing. Over four training sessions the mean number of correct responses on this demanding test of attention significantly improved and was approaching ceiling for most task conditions. Behavioural improvements were associated with significantly reduced amplitude of late Processing Negativity, a frontally distributed component of the event-related potential waveform associated with voluntary, limited-capacity activity within higher-order attentional systems. These results suggest that PASAT performance became more efficient as practice seemingly eased the strategic planning and coordination requirements the task places on frontally-mediated executive attention resources. The findings of the current study extend our understanding of the functional and behavioural mechanisms underlying the effects of practice.

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access

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Psychology Commons