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OS_27. Learning

Saturday, October 01st,   2011 [16:20 - 17:20]


OS_27.1 - Awareness and intentional control in evaluative learning

Balas, R. 1, 2 & Sweklej, J. 1

1 Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities
2 Institute of Psychology Polish Academy of Sciences

Evaluative conditioning (EC) is a process of changing the evaluation of initially neutral stimulus (conditioned stimulus - CS) due to its repeated exposure with either positive or negative stimulus (unconditioned stimulus - US). There is no consensus whether EC requires subject’s awareness of CS-US contingencies as well as awareness of stimuli themselves. The presented research examines whether EC is possible without perceptual and contingency awareness. First two studies examined whether EC is possible with subliminal presentation of the stimuli. To assess contingency awareness a 4 Picture Recognition Test was used. This test requires participants to select an US that was presented together with a CS at the time of conditioning. The third study adopted dissociation logic in contingency awareness check as well as in evaluation. We asked participants to select the item that DID NOT accompany the CS or exclude the possible influence of conditioning on CS evaluations. We found EC effects independent of awareness in all studies. This suggests that affective learning might proceed with no perceptual access to the stimuli. However, we also show that intentional control over responses elicited by conditioned stimulus is to some extent possible thanks to the awareness of responses not CS-US contingencies.

OS_27.2 - The Stroop task and false recognition: evidence for incidental associative learning of colored items during color-naming

Lemercier, C.

CLLE-LTC, University of Toulouse, Toulouse, France

Longer RTs in incongruent Stroop color naming have recently been explained by referring to an associative learning mechanism. Participants are supposed to incidently learn word/color association while they name their color. To evaluate this hypothesis, which stresses the role of episodic traces being created, we carried out two experiments using the Deese Roediger & MacDermott paradigm. In Experiment 1, participants either performed a color identification task (CI) or made a judgment of pleasantness (JP) on colored words presented list-by-list, with each word being printed in one particular color. JP led to better recognition performances, but false recognition on critical lures was equivalent across the two study conditions. In Experiment 2, all the study lists were presented randomly in the same global list. Words were printed in color, with all words associated with the same critical unstudied word being printed in the same color (i.e., all the words associated with “sleep” were printed in blue). Color therefore provided the only associative link between words. As expected, a decrease in false recognition was observed for the JP condition. Inversely, a significant increase in false recognition was observed in the CI condition. These results support the incidental associative learning hypothesis.

OS_27.3 - The interplay between implicit learning and cognitive control: an assessment of Stroop interference in implicit sequence learning

Deroost, N. , Vandenbossche, J. , Zeischka, P. , Coomans, D. & Soetens, E.

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

In a series of three experiments, we investigated the interplay between implicit sequence learning and cognitive control. In Experiment 1, we observed an interaction between conflict and learning in a sequential Stroop task. Greater sequence learning was observed in the incongruent than in the congruent trials. Yet, the results could also be explained by reduced Stroop interference in sequenced as compared to random trials. In two additional experiments, we therefore further unraveled the direction of the effect. In Experiment 2, we showed that participants with sequence knowledge where no better at resolving conflict than participants without sequence knowledge. Thus, sequence learning does not enhance conflict resolution. In Experiment 3, we demonstrated that the amount of conflict does not enhance sequence learning either, but it does improve the expression of learning as most knowledge was expressed in conflict trials. These results show that implicit sequence learning processes can be recruited to cope with high cognitive demands.

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