Abstraction of covariations in incidental learning and covariation bias


Journal Article


Perruchet, P., Pacteau, C., Gallego, J.




Abstraction of covariations in incidental learning and covariation bias

Journal / Livre / Conférence

British Journal of Psychology


Experiment 1 was devised to distinguish, in a given set of features composing drawn robots, those whose variations were related a priori for participants from those whose variations were a priori independent. In Expt 2, correlations were experimentally induced between a priori-related features for one group of participants (pre-primed up), and between a priori-independent features for another group (arbitrary group), in incidental learning conditions. A subsequent transfer phase revealed that participants' performances were sensitive to experimentally induced correlations in both groups. However, only the performances of the pre-primed group accurately matched the predictions of a statistical model devised by It. Richardson (e.g. Richardson & Carthy, 1990), postulating the acquisition of genuine knowledge of the correlational structure. Participants' sensitivity to arbitrary correlations appeared to be a by-product of the memory of specific study exemplars. These results demand the reinterpretation of some prior experimental evidence for covariation abstraction, and more generally, are consonant with a current view of implicit learning which emphasizes the role of specific prior episodes in complex learning situations.






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