Cue Competition in Human Associative Learning
Cognitive Science Society
There is a question as to whether cue competition effects can be observed in incidental learning paradigms in humans. The SRT and other location prediction tasks fall into that group often considered to show associative learning under incidental conditions. We used a standard SRT task in which the preceding two trials of a run of three predicted the third 2/3 of the time, and added another predictive cue, a colored square, which could also stochastically predict the next response required. The question was to what extent would these two cues compete in terms of incidental learning to make the next response faster and more accurate than controls? We assessed this by comparing the dual cue group to a color only control and a sequence only control. Our results showed that all three groups learned, and that the dual group learned about both cues at least as well as the individual controls, but that when switched to a test phase where each cue could be assessed independently, the dual group showed a marked decline in performance relative to the color control. We interpret this as evidence for overshadowing occurring between the two predictive cues in the dual group, such that when combined their performance is equivalent or superior to either control, but when assessed independently, the color cue actually has a weaker association to the outcome than the equivalent cue in the control group.
This research was supported by an ESRC grant to IPL McLaren and FW Jones
CogSci 2013 - 35th annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Berlin, Germany, 31 July - 3 August 2013
Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society