These results show that the temporal dynamics of apparently simultaneous learning processes differ. While high-order rule learning is acquired offline during short breaks, statistical learning is evidenced online.
Knowing when the brain learns is crucial for both the comprehension of memory formation and consolidation and for developing new training and neurorehabilitation strategies in healthy and patient populations. recently, a rapid form of offline learning developing during short rest periods has been shown to account for most of procedural learning, leading to the hypothesis that the brain mainly learns during rest between practice periods. nonetheless, procedural learning has several subcomponents not disentangled in previous studies investigating learning dynamics, such as acquiring the statistical regularities of the task, or else the high-order rules that regulate its organization. here we analyzed 506 behavioral sessions of implicit visuomotor deterministic and probabilistic sequence learning tasks, allowing the distinction between general skill learning, statistical learning, and high-order rule learning. our results show that the temporal dynamics of apparently simultaneous learning processes differ. while high-order rule learning is acquired offline, statistical learning is evidenced online. these findings open new avenues on the short-scale temporal dynamics of learning and memory consolidation and reveal a fundamental distinction between statistical and high-order rule learning, the former benefiting from online evidence accumulation and the latter requiring short rest periods for rapid consolidation.