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Title: Context–outcome associations mediate context-switch effects in a human predictive learning task
Authors: León, Samuel P.
Abad, María J. F.
Rosas, Juan M.
Abstract: Four experiments explored the role of contexts in information retrieval after different levels of acquisition training in human predictive learning. Participants were trained where cue (X) was followed by an outcome in context A while a different cue (Y) was followed by the absence of the outcome in context B. When 4 training trials with each cue were conducted, testing the stimuli in the alternative contexts decreased predictive judgments to X and increased predictive judgments to Y. These effects disappeared both when training was increased up to 18 trials (Experiments 1a and 1b), and when the outcome was presented in both contexts A and B (Experiments 2 and 4). When the outcome was presented in both contexts, the nonreinforced cue Y, trained in the presumably excitatory context B, became a conditioned inhibitor (Experiment 3). Additional experience with one of the contexts, but not with both, made the context-switch effect reappear (Experiment 4). These results suggest that irrelevant contexts may enter into direct associations with the outcome before prolonged training leads participants to discard them as predictors.
Keywords: Associative learning; Attention; Context-switch effect; Human predictive learning; Training level
Issue Date: Feb-2011
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: León, S. P., Abad, M. J. F., & Rosas, J. M. (2011). Context-Outcome associations mediate context-switch effects in a human predictive learning task. Learning and Motivation, 42, 84-98.
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