The world around us is replete with stimuli that unfold over time. When we hear an auditory stream like music or speech or scan a texture with our fingertip, physical features in the stimulus are concatenated in a particular order. This temporal patterning is critical to interpreting the stimulus. To explore the capacity of mice and humans to learn tactile sequences, we developed a task in which subjects had to recognise a continuous modulated noise sequence delivered to whiskers or fingertips, defined by its temporal patterning over hundreds of milliseconds. GO and NO-GO sequences differed only in that the order of their constituent noise modulation segments was temporally scrambled. Both mice and humans efficiently learned tactile sequences. Mouse sequence recognition depended on detecting transitions in noise amplitude; animals could base their decision on the earliest information available. Humans appeared to use additional cues, including the duration of noise modulation segments.
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