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Human learning/Implicit learning

Sunday, October 02nd,   2011 [18:00 - 20:00]

PS_3.034 - Learning what, when, and where in an associative learning framework

Nelson, B. 1 , Navarro, A. 1 & P.Leon, S. 2

1 Basic Processes in Psychology. University of the Basque Country. San Sebastian, Spain.
2 Department of Psychology. University of Jaen. Jaen, Spain.

Associative learning goes well beyond “spit and twitch” autonomic responding and provides a framework for investigating how humans and animals learn about and represent their world. Three experiments were conducted to determine the extent to which knowledge about what events were to occur, when they were to occur, and where they would occur, could be assessed with a behavioral associative-learning paradigm in humans. A novel video-game task was used where behavioral responses were associated with the appearance of spaceships, and later those spaceships were predicted by sensors. The discussion of the resulting behavioral data elucidates how the data can be used to show that participants indeed learned what was about to occur in the presence of these signals as well as rich information about when it was about to occur. Eye-tracking, using a SensoMotoric Instruments system, revealed that participants also acquired knowledge of where the predicted event would occur in parallel with both “what” and “when.” Autonomic pupil responses appeared as conditioned responses along with these other response forms, but did not add any significant evidence of association formation over the other measures. Complex processes of learning in humans remain accessible without reliance on self-report.

PS_3.035 - Visual perceptual learning: Effects of pre-exposure schedule, task demand, and feedback

Vázquez, G. , Arriola, N. & Alonso, G.

University of the Basque Country

A series of experiments investigated the effect of pre-exposure schedule (concurrent, intermixed, and blocked) to two very similar visual stimuli (two coloured checkerboards) on the ability of human participants to discriminate between them in a “same/different” judgment task. When participants were also required to judge stimuli as same or different during pre-exposure, accuracy on the subsequent task was greater after concurrent and intermixed pre-exposure than blocked pre-exposure. Reaction time was lower after concurrent pre-exposure. This pattern was attenuated or disappeared when feedback was not given after performance during the task. These results are discussed in relation to the selective attention mechanism proposed for explaining perceptual learning. Acknowledgements: Grants from MICINN (PSI2008-00412) and the Basque Government (IT-276-07).

PS_3.036 - Multisensory statistical learning

Glicksohn, A. & Cohen, A.

Psychology. Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Jerusalem, Israel.

Statistical learning concerns detection of regularities distributed in space/time. Previous studies typically focused on unisensory learning. Here, we examine multisensory learning over time. In a preliminary experiment, subjects were familiarized with either a single visual stream composed of ‘triplets’ - reoccurring successive shapes, or a single auditory stream composed of ‘words’ - reoccurring syllables. Tests contrasting a triplet / word with random shapes / syllables revealed a similar rate of unisensory visual and auditory learning. In Experiments 2-3 subjects were familiarized with a combined Audio-Visual stream, where each shape appeared simultaneously with a syllable, and each triplet uniquely matched a word. When subjects were tested on separate visual and auditory tests (Experiment 2), they showed reduced learning, particularly in the auditory domain. However, when subjects were tested on a multisensory test contrasting a word-triplet combination with a triplet-random syllables or word-random shapes combination (Experiment 3), they showed a high rate of learning. Subsequent experiments revealed that the strongest learning occurs between simultaneous stimuli either within or across senses, and that it can mask learning regularities over time within modalities. Multisensory learning over time is minimal. We suggest that learning requires grouping cues, with simultaneous temporal cues dominating other within-modality grouping cues.

PS_3.037 - A probabilistic perspective for incremental learning in processing center-embedded structures

Lai, J. & Poletiek, F.

Cognitive Psychology, Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands

Hierarchical center-embedded structures, such as AnBn, cause difficulties for language learners due to their complexity (Bach, Brown & Marslen-Wilson, 1986; Chomsky, 1957; Corballis, 2007). Recent artificial grammar learning (AGL) studies (Lai & Poletiek, 2011) demonstrated a starting small (SS) effect. In particular, sufficient exposure to zero-level-of-embedding exemplars and a staged-input were the critical conditions in learning AnBn structures. The present 2 AGL experiments aim to replicate the SS effect and test another possible facilitating effect of the input, i.e. the frequency distribution of the input stimuli. Participants were exposed to a set of non-words consisting of CV syllables generated by a hierarchical recursive grammar, and were required to deliver grammaticality judgments over novel items. We propose that learning is facilitated most when SS works under other conditional cues, such as a skewed frequency distribution with simple stimuli being more numerous than complex ones (Poletiek & Chater, 2006)

PS_3.038 - A battle over implicit resources - does it affect modus operandi in AGL?

Roczniewska, M. , Sterczyński, R. & Popławska, A.

Faculty in Sopot. Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities. Sopot, Poland.

Since the discovery of the implicit learning phenomenon (Reber, 1967), the mechanism of learning described by concurrent hypotheses still invites inquiry. To tackle this problem, we decided to adopt dual task paradigm, developed as a tool designed to test competition over resources. In this procedure, participants are asked to perform two tasks simultaneously; a decrease in performance (as compared to single-task) is interpreted as a result of the competition. As the learning in AGL task is deemed implicit, the second task is implicit as well. In our experiments, participants are exposed to a second tacit rule while performing regular AGL tasks. In three experiments conducted, we have observed: a decrease in classification accuracy when second tacit rule was present (first experiment) and no change in classification accuracy but in strategy used to distinguish regular from irregular strings (second and third experiment). Namely, participants included regular strings into grammatical category more often than excluded irregular strings from this category (classification for regular items was significantly more efficient than for irregular), but only in the group with a second implicit rule. We discuss these results in the light of the role of the resources determining the effectiveness of learning process.

PS_3.039 - External feedback on performance in a serial reaction time task

Homble, K. , Vandenbossche, J. , Soetens, E. & Deroost, N.

Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

It is generally assumed that providing feedback on task outcome will enhance performance. Most studies on this subject have been conducted in the field of motor learning, by providing subjects with knowledge of results (KR) about the outcome of their performance. Yet, little research exists whether the use of external feedback can have beneficial effects in cognitive tasks. Therefore, we examined the effect of different types of KR-feedback on implicit learning in an exploratory study. In a serial reaction time (SRT) task, in which participants incidentally acquire sequential regularity, we manipulated the amount and timing of external feedback based on KR-learning principles. Subjects received either trial-by trial feedback, summary feedback, both or no feedback on their performance. Results will be discussed at the presentation.

PS_3.040 - Regularity killed the cat - when too complex rules impair implicit learning

Sterczyński, R. , Roczniewska, M. & Popławska, A.

Faculty in Sopot. Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities. Sopot, Poland.

In our studies we aim to verify whether implicit rules consume resources and how this phenomenon affects performance of participants. In two experiments conducted we decided to adopt sequence learning paradigm by using D2 Test of Attention (Brickenkamps, 1998). The task of the participant is to cross out signal letters among distracters in 14 rows, 20 seconds per line. Since in the original tool the exact same arrangement of letters is repeated every three rows, this task shares the features of sequence learning. To test the effect of such regularity on participants' performance, the orignal (regular) and modified (irregular) version of D2 Test was used. Unexpectedly, we observed better performance in irregular condition. The results lead to a supposition that such complex rule overloaded the processor and debilitated performance. In experiment 2 the test was presented in three conditions - without regularity, with 1-line regularity repeated in every three rows, with regularity in 3-line blocks. Moreover, the semantical vs perceptual nature of signal was taken into account. The results showed that a) perceptual signals were easier to detect than semantical; b) the 3-line blocks debilitated performance in both conditions; c) semantical signal impaired performance in one-line regularity only.

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