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    Long-term adaptation to change in implicit contextual learning

    Zellin, M. and von Mühlenen, A. and Muller, Hermann J. and Conci, M. (2014) Long-term adaptation to change in implicit contextual learning. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 21 (4), pp. 1073-1079. ISSN 1069-9384.

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    The visual world consists of spatial regularities that are acquired through experience in order to guide attentional orienting. For instance, in visual search, detection of a target is faster when a layout of nontarget items is encountered repeatedly, suggesting that learned contextual associations can guide attention (contextual cuing). However, scene layouts sometimes change, requiring observers to adapt previous memory representations. Here, we investigated the long-term dynamics of contextual adaptation after a permanent change of the target location. We observed fast and reliable learning of initial context–target associations after just three repetitions. However, adaptation of acquired contextual representations to relocated targets was slow and effortful, requiring 3 days of training with overall 80 repetitions. A final test 1 week later revealed equivalent effects of contextual cuing for both target locations, and these were comparable to the effects observed on day 1. That is, observers learned both initial target locations and relocated targets, given extensive training combined with extended periods of consolidation. Thus, while implicit contextual learning efficiently extracts statistical regularities of our environment at first, it is rather insensitive to change in the longer term, especially when subtle changes in context–target associations need to be acquired.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): implicit learning, attention, visual search, contextual cuing
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2015 14:04
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:19


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