Transfer of learned category-response associations is modulated by instruction

Cai S. Longman, Fraser Milton, Andy J. Wills, Frederick Verbruggen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Although instructions often emphasize categories (e.g., odd number → left hand response) rather than specific stimuli (e.g., 3 → left hand response), learning is often interpreted in terms of stimulus-response (S-R) bindings or, less frequently, stimulus-classification (S-C) bindings with little attention being paid to the importance of category-response (C-R) bindings. In a training-transfer paradigm designed to investigate the early stages of category learning, participants were required to classify stimuli according to the category templates presented prior to each block (Experiments 1–4). In some transfer blocks the stimuli, categories and/or responses could be novel or repeated from the preceding training phase. Learning was assessed by comparing the transfer-training performance difference across conditions. Participants were able to rapidly transfer C-R associations to novel stimuli but evidence of S-C transfer was much weaker and S-R transfer was largely limited to conditions where the stimulus was classified under the same category. Thus, even though there was some evidence that learned S-R and S-C associations contributed to performance, learned C-R associations seemed to play a much more important role. In a final experiment (Experiment 5) the stimuli themselves were presented prior to each block, and the instructions did not mention the category structure. In this experiment, the evidence for S-R learning outweighed the evidence for C-R learning, indicating the importance of instructions in learning. The implications for these findings to the learning, cognitive control, and automaticity literatures are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-167
Number of pages24
JournalActa Psychologica
Volume184
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Learning
Hand
Transfer (Psychology)
Stimulus
Experiment

Keywords

  • instructed learning
  • S-R learning
  • automaticity
  • cognitive control
  • categorization

Cite this

Longman, Cai S. ; Milton, Fraser ; Wills, Andy J. ; Verbruggen, Frederick. / Transfer of learned category-response associations is modulated by instruction. In: Acta Psychologica. 2017 ; Vol. 184. pp. 144-167.
@article{a78edfd4d9054f9b87d183409970c457,
title = "Transfer of learned category-response associations is modulated by instruction",
abstract = "Although instructions often emphasize categories (e.g., odd number → left hand response) rather than specific stimuli (e.g., 3 → left hand response), learning is often interpreted in terms of stimulus-response (S-R) bindings or, less frequently, stimulus-classification (S-C) bindings with little attention being paid to the importance of category-response (C-R) bindings. In a training-transfer paradigm designed to investigate the early stages of category learning, participants were required to classify stimuli according to the category templates presented prior to each block (Experiments 1–4). In some transfer blocks the stimuli, categories and/or responses could be novel or repeated from the preceding training phase. Learning was assessed by comparing the transfer-training performance difference across conditions. Participants were able to rapidly transfer C-R associations to novel stimuli but evidence of S-C transfer was much weaker and S-R transfer was largely limited to conditions where the stimulus was classified under the same category. Thus, even though there was some evidence that learned S-R and S-C associations contributed to performance, learned C-R associations seemed to play a much more important role. In a final experiment (Experiment 5) the stimuli themselves were presented prior to each block, and the instructions did not mention the category structure. In this experiment, the evidence for S-R learning outweighed the evidence for C-R learning, indicating the importance of instructions in learning. The implications for these findings to the learning, cognitive control, and automaticity literatures are discussed.",
keywords = "instructed learning, S-R learning, automaticity, cognitive control, categorization",
author = "Longman, {Cai S.} and Fraser Milton and Wills, {Andy J.} and Frederick Verbruggen",
year = "2017",
month = "4",
day = "25",
doi = "10.1016/j.actpsy.2017.04.004",
language = "English",
volume = "184",
pages = "144--167",
journal = "Acta Psychologica",
issn = "0001-6918",
publisher = "Elsevier B.V.",

}

Transfer of learned category-response associations is modulated by instruction. / Longman, Cai S.; Milton, Fraser; Wills, Andy J.; Verbruggen, Frederick.

In: Acta Psychologica, Vol. 184, 25.04.2017, p. 144-167.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Transfer of learned category-response associations is modulated by instruction

AU - Longman, Cai S.

AU - Milton, Fraser

AU - Wills, Andy J.

AU - Verbruggen, Frederick

PY - 2017/4/25

Y1 - 2017/4/25

N2 - Although instructions often emphasize categories (e.g., odd number → left hand response) rather than specific stimuli (e.g., 3 → left hand response), learning is often interpreted in terms of stimulus-response (S-R) bindings or, less frequently, stimulus-classification (S-C) bindings with little attention being paid to the importance of category-response (C-R) bindings. In a training-transfer paradigm designed to investigate the early stages of category learning, participants were required to classify stimuli according to the category templates presented prior to each block (Experiments 1–4). In some transfer blocks the stimuli, categories and/or responses could be novel or repeated from the preceding training phase. Learning was assessed by comparing the transfer-training performance difference across conditions. Participants were able to rapidly transfer C-R associations to novel stimuli but evidence of S-C transfer was much weaker and S-R transfer was largely limited to conditions where the stimulus was classified under the same category. Thus, even though there was some evidence that learned S-R and S-C associations contributed to performance, learned C-R associations seemed to play a much more important role. In a final experiment (Experiment 5) the stimuli themselves were presented prior to each block, and the instructions did not mention the category structure. In this experiment, the evidence for S-R learning outweighed the evidence for C-R learning, indicating the importance of instructions in learning. The implications for these findings to the learning, cognitive control, and automaticity literatures are discussed.

AB - Although instructions often emphasize categories (e.g., odd number → left hand response) rather than specific stimuli (e.g., 3 → left hand response), learning is often interpreted in terms of stimulus-response (S-R) bindings or, less frequently, stimulus-classification (S-C) bindings with little attention being paid to the importance of category-response (C-R) bindings. In a training-transfer paradigm designed to investigate the early stages of category learning, participants were required to classify stimuli according to the category templates presented prior to each block (Experiments 1–4). In some transfer blocks the stimuli, categories and/or responses could be novel or repeated from the preceding training phase. Learning was assessed by comparing the transfer-training performance difference across conditions. Participants were able to rapidly transfer C-R associations to novel stimuli but evidence of S-C transfer was much weaker and S-R transfer was largely limited to conditions where the stimulus was classified under the same category. Thus, even though there was some evidence that learned S-R and S-C associations contributed to performance, learned C-R associations seemed to play a much more important role. In a final experiment (Experiment 5) the stimuli themselves were presented prior to each block, and the instructions did not mention the category structure. In this experiment, the evidence for S-R learning outweighed the evidence for C-R learning, indicating the importance of instructions in learning. The implications for these findings to the learning, cognitive control, and automaticity literatures are discussed.

KW - instructed learning

KW - S-R learning

KW - automaticity

KW - cognitive control

KW - categorization

U2 - 10.1016/j.actpsy.2017.04.004

DO - 10.1016/j.actpsy.2017.04.004

M3 - Article

VL - 184

SP - 144

EP - 167

JO - Acta Psychologica

JF - Acta Psychologica

SN - 0001-6918

ER -