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 James R. Schmidt

  Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté
  LEAD-CNRS UMR 5022 - Pôle AAFE
  11 Esplanade Erasme
  21000 Dijon, France
  E-mail: james.schmidt@u-bourgogne.fr
  Phone: +33 3 80 39 39 68
  Fax: +33 3 80 39 57 67

About Me

I am primarily a learning psychologist, also interested in neural networks and cognitive control. Some of my specific research interests include human contingency learning, temporal contiguity, temporal learning, the Stroop effect, computational modelling, cognitive control, conflict monitoring and adaptation, attention, episodic memory, unconscious processes, learning goals, evaluative learning, stimulus-response binding, switch costs, human reasoning ability, logic, and bilingualism. I completed my B.A. with high honours in psychology and a minor in philosophy at the University of Saskatchewan in 2005, supervised by Jim Cheesman. I obtained my Master’s in 2007 and my Ph.D. in 2009 in cognitive psychology at the University of Waterloo, supervised by Derek Besner. I then worked as a postdoc at Ghent University with Jan De Houwer. I am currently an associate professor of the Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté (UBFC) working in the Laboratoire d'Etude de l'Apprentissage et du Développement (LEAD) at the Université de Bourgogne. You can see my full CV here. Outside the office, I spend an embarrassing amount of time speedsolving twisty puzzles (mostly poorly). My current collection here.

Recent Publications

Braem, S., Bugg, J. M., Schmidt, J. R., Crump, M. J. C., Weissman, D. H., Notebaert, W., & Egner, T. (2019). Measuring adaptive control in conflict tasks. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 23, 769–783. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & De Houwer, J. (2019). Correction to Schmidt and De Houwer (2012). Experimental Psychology, 66, 255–256. [PDF]

Liefooghe, B., Hughes, S., Schmidt, J. R., & De Houwer, J. (in press). Stroop-like effects for derived stimulus-stimulus relations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & De Houwer, J. (2019). Cue competition and incidental learning: No blocking or overshadowing in the colour-word contingency learning procedure without instructions to learn. Collabra: Psychology, 5, Article 15. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R. (2019). Evidence against conflict monitoring and adaptation: An updated review. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 26, 753–771. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & Lemercier, C. (2019). Context-specific proportion congruent effects: Compound-cue contingency learning in disguise. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72, 1119–1130. [PDF]

Doctoral Students

2018-2021 – Šaban, Iva
2019-2022 – Iorio, Claudia

Stage Student

2019 – Jondot, Anna

Defense + Research Day

4 October 2019, MSH Amphithéâtre: announcement / program
9:30-12:00 – Habilitation à diriger des researches (defense)
13:15-17:45 – Research Day: Cognitive Psychology

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Learning

Learning Psychology

My main program of research focuses on basic processes in human contingency learning, binding, and temporal learning. In this work, I answer questions such as whether contingency awareness is required for contingency learning, how fast learning occurs, and the role of goals on learning. More generally, I am interested in determining how experienced stimuli, responses, and temporal (timing) information are bound together into episodes (i.e., mental representations of events), and how this trial information is stored in and retrieved from episodic memory. Contingency learning, temporal learning, binding, etc. are proposed to be the incidental result of such memory processes.

Another side of this research program is exploring how the ability of participants to easily pick up on regularities (whether consciously or unconsciously) and use this information to maximize performance often produces confounds in experiments aimed at studying wholly-unrelated mental processes. Quite frequently, experimenters introduce unintentional regularities into the task structure of experiments (e.g., covariations between stimuli and responses or differences in task pace across conditions). Participants are extremely adept at picking up on such regularities (often implicitly) and exploiting them. My goal is to understand the automatic influences of this memory retrieval on behaviour.

Related to this line of research, I developed the Parallel Episodic Processing (PEP) computational model. For more information, see the PEP Model tab.

Recent Example Works

Schmidt, J. R., & De Houwer, J. (2019). Cue competition and incidental learning: No blocking or overshadowing in the colour-word contingency learning procedure without instructions to learn. Collabra: Psychology, 5, Article 15. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., Augustinova, M., & De Houwer, J. (2018). Category learning in the colour-word contingency learning paradigm. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 25, 658–666. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & De Houwer, J. (2016). Time course of colour-word contingency learning: Practice curves, pre-exposure benefits, unlearning, and relearning. Learning and Motivation, 56, 15–30. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & De Houwer, J. (2016). Contingency learning tracks with stimulus-response proportion: No evidence of misprediction costs. Experimental Psychology, 63, 79–88. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R. (2016). Temporal learning and rhythmic responding: No reduction in the proportion easy effect with variable response-stimulus intervals. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, Article 634. [PDF]

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Cognitive Control

Cognitive Control

One of my main programs of research focuses on the cognitive and attentional control literatures. For instance, I have conducted considerable research on the proportion congruent and congruency sequence (aka Gratton) effects. These two phenomena are typically interpreted in terms of conflict adaptation (or conflict monitoring). The conflict adaptation account proposes that when participants experience conflict between stimuli (e.g., between the distracting word “blue” and the target colour red in a Stroop task), they dynamically adjust attention away from the distracting word and/or toward the target colour. However, effects such as the proportion congruent and congruency sequence effects might also be explained by the learning of task regularities unrelated to conflict. In particular, I have investigated the role of episodic memory biases (e.g., feature repetition, contingency learning, and temporal learning effects) that represent confounds in these tasks. Controlling for such confounds seems to eliminate the effects, suggesting that the supposed conflict adaptation is illusory.

I have recently expanded this research out to switch costs, that is, the finding that there is a performance cost when switching from one task to another. Switch effects, too, are generally interpretted in terms of higher-order control processes, such as task set reconfiguration or task set inertia. However, some of my recent work has demonstrated that feature integration biases explain the bulk of the switch cost. As such, higher-order cognitive control processes might play a substantially smaller role in switch costs than previously assumed.

Related to this line of research, I developed the Parallel Episodic Processing (PEP) computational model. For more information, see the PEP Model tab.

Recent Example Works

Braem, S., Bugg, J. M., Schmidt, J. R., Crump, M. J. C., Weissman, D. H., Notebaert, W., & Egner, T. (2019). Measuring adaptive control in conflict tasks. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 23, 769–783. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R. (2019). Evidence against conflict monitoring and adaptation: An updated review. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 26, 753–771. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & Lemercier, C. (2019). Context-specific proportion congruent effects: Compound-cue contingency learning in disguise. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72, 1119–1130. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R. (2017). Time-out for conflict monitoring theory: Preventing rhythmic biases eliminates the list-level proportion congruent effect. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71, 52–62. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & Liefooghe, B. (2016). Feature integration and task switching: Diminished switch costs after controlling for stimulus, response, and cue repetitions. PLOS ONE, 11, e0151188. [PDF]

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Neural Networks

Neural Networks

I have done a lot of work with neural networks, particularly with the Parallel Episodic Processing (PEP) model that I programmed. The PEP model learns via the storage and retrieval of episodic memories. At a conceptual level, it is similar to other episodic (or instance or exemplar) models (e.g., GCM, MINERVA 2, etc.), but the PEP model is designed for simulating performance in a variety of different tasks in which reaction times (in addition to error rates) are the typical dependent variable of interest, rather than for simulating memory effects proper (e.g., item recall or recognition).

On each trial, the model stores a memory of the stimuli that were presented, the response that was made, and the time it took to respond. On subsequent trials, memories are retrieved to the extent that they are similar to the input (e.g., the same stimulus). So far, the published version of the model can engage in both contingency learning (i.e., learning what to respond) and temporal learning (i.e., learning when to respond). These mechanisms were shown to account for practice curves, decreasing Stroop effects across blocks, contingency learning effects and acquisition curves, stimulus-response binding effects, mixing costs, and word reading and colour naming asymmetries. In addition, the model also successfully simulates several findings in the cognitive control literature, including item-specific proportion congruent effects, list-level proportion congruent effects, congruency sequence effects, asymmetric list shifting effects, and context-specific proportion congruent effects. Critically, the basic learning mechanisms in the model produce these effects without appealing to the notion of conflict adaptation. More recently, we have been applying the model to instruction following and task switching.

The Java source code is available here.

References

Schmidt, J. R. (2018). Best not to bet on the horserace: A comment on Forrin and MacLeod (2017) and a relevant stimulus-response compatibility view of colour-word contingency learning asymmetries. Memory & Cognition, 46, 326–335. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R. (2016). Context-specific proportion congruency effects: An episodic learning account and computational model. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, Aticle 1806. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., De Houwer, J., & Rothermund, K. (2016). The Parallel Episodic Processing (PEP) model 2.0: A single computational model of stimulus-response binding, contingency learning, power curves, and mixing costs. Cognitive Psychology, 91, 82–108. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R. (2016). Proportion congruency and practice: A contingency learning account of asymmetric list shifting effects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 42, 1496–1505. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & Weissman, D. H. (2016). Congruency sequence effects and previous response times: Conflict adaptation or temporal learning? Psychological Research, 80, 590–607. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R. (2013). Temporal learning and list-level proportion congruency: Conflict adaptation or learning when to respond? PLOS ONE, 8, e0082320. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R. (2013). The Parallel Episodic Processing (PEP) model: Dissociating contingency and conflict adaptation in the item-specific proportion congruent paradigm. Acta Psychologica, 142, 119–126. [PDF]

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Publications

Habilitation à diriger des récherches

Schmidt, J. R. (2019). Experimental and neural network investigations in learning, attention, and cognitive control (HDR thesis). [PDF]

in press

Liefooghe, B., Hughes, S., Schmidt, J. R., & De Houwer, J. (in press). Stroop-like effects for derived stimulus-stimulus relations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. [PDF]

2019

Braem, S., Bugg, J. M., Schmidt, J. R., Crump, M. J. C., Weissman, D. H., Notebaert, W., & Egner, T. (2019). Measuring adaptive control in conflict tasks. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 23, 769–783. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & De Houwer, J. (2019). Correction to Schmidt and De Houwer (2012). Experimental Psychology, 66, 255–256. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R. (2019). Evidence against conflict monitoring and adaptation: An updated review. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 26, 753–771. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & Lemercier, C. (2019). Context-specific proportion congruent effects: Compound-cue contingency learning in disguise. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72, 1119–1130. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & De Houwer, J. (2019). Cue competition and incidental learning: No blocking or overshadowing in the colour-word contingency learning procedure without instructions to learn. Collabra: Psychology, 5, Article 15. [PDF]

2018

Schmidt, J. R., Augustinova, M., & De Houwer, J. (2018). Category learning in the colour-word contingency learning paradigm. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 25, 658–666. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R. (2018). Best not to bet on the horserace: A comment on Forrin and MacLeod (2017) and a relevant stimulus-response compatibility view of colour-word contingency learning asymmetries. Memory & Cognition, 46, 326–335. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., Hartsuiker, R. J., & De Houwer, J. (2018). Interference in Dutch-French bilinguals: Stimulus and response conflict in intra- and interlingual Stroop. Experimental Psychology, 65, 13–22. [PDF]

2017

Schmidt, J. R. (2017). Time-out for conflict monitoring theory: Preventing rhythmic biases eliminates the list-level proportion congruent effect. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71, 52–62. [PDF]

Lemercier, C., Simoës-Perlant, A., Schmidt, J. R., & Boujon, C. (2017). Stroop interference and development: Influence of expectation on color-naming response times. European Review of Applied Psychology, 67, 43–50. [PDF]

2016

Schmidt, J. R. (2016). Context-specific proportion congruency effects: An episodic learning account and computational model. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, Aticle 1806. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., De Houwer, J., & Rothermund, K. (2016). The Parallel Episodic Processing (PEP) model 2.0: A single computational model of stimulus-response binding, contingency learning, power curves, and mixing costs. Cognitive Psychology, 91, 82–108. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & De Houwer, J. (2016). Time course of colour-word contingency learning: Practice curves, pre-exposure benefits, unlearning, and relearning. Learning and Motivation, 56, 15–30. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R. (2016). Proportion congruency and practice: A contingency learning account of asymmetric list shifting effects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 42, 1496–1505. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & Weissman, D. H. (2016). Congruency sequence effects and previous response times: Conflict adaptation or temporal learning? Psychological Research, 80, 590–607. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & De Houwer, J. (2016). Contingency learning tracks with stimulus-response proportion: No evidence of misprediction costs. Experimental Psychology, 63, 79–88. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R. (2016). Temporal learning and rhythmic responding: No reduction in the proportion easy effect with variable response-stimulus intervals. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, Article 634. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & Liefooghe, B. (2016). Feature integration and task switching: Diminished switch costs after controlling for stimulus, response, and cue repetitions. PLOS ONE, 11, e0151188. [PDF]

2015

Schmidt, J. R., & Weissman, D. H. (2015). Contingent attentional capture triggers the congruency sequence effect. Acta Psychologica, 159, 61–68. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., Notebaert, W., & Van Den Bussche, E. (2015). Is conflict adaptation an illusion? Frontiers in Psychology, 6, Article 172. [PDF]

2014

Schmidt, J. R. (2014). Contingency and congruency switch in the congruency sequence effect: A reply to Blais, Stefanidi, and Brewer (2014). Frontiers in Psychology, 5, Article 1405. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., De Schryver, M., & Weissman, D. H. (2014). Removing the influence of feature repetitions on the congruency sequence effect: Why regressing out confounds from a nested design will often fall short. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 40, 2392–2402. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., Lemercier, C., & De Houwer, J. (2014). Context-specific temporal learning with non-conflict stimuli: Proof-of-principle for a learning account of context-specific proportion congruent effects. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, Article 1241. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & Weissman, D. H. (2014). Congruency sequence effects without feature integration or contingency learning confounds. PLOS ONE, 9, e0102337. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R. (2014). Contingencies and attentional capture: The importance of matching stimulus informativeness in the item-specific proportion congruent task. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, Article 540. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R. (2014). List-level transfer effects in temporal learning: Further complications for the list-level proportion congruent effect. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 26, 373–385. [PDF]

2013

Schmidt, J. R. (2013). Temporal learning and list-level proportion congruency: Conflict adaptation or learning when to respond? PLOS ONE, 8, e0082320. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R. (2013). Questioning conflict adaptation: Proportion congruent and Gratton effects reconsidered. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 20, 615–630. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., Cheesman, J., & Besner, D. (2013). You can’t Stroop a lexical decision: Is semantic processing fundamentally facilitative? Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 67, 130–139. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R. (2013). The Parallel Episodic Processing (PEP) model: Dissociating contingency and conflict adaptation in the item-specific proportion congruent paradigm. Acta Psychologica, 142, 119–126. [PDF]

2012

Schmidt, J. R., & De Houwer, J. (2012). Learning, awareness, and instruction: Subjective contingency awareness does matter in the colour-word contingency learning paradigm. Consciousness and Cognition, 21, 1754–1768. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & De Houwer, J. (2012). Contingency learning with evaluative stimuli: Testing the generality of contingency learning in a performance paradigm. Experimental Psychology, 59, 175–182. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & De Houwer, J. (2012). Adding the goal to learn strengthens learning in an unintentional learning task. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 19, 723–728. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & De Houwer, J. (2012). Does temporal contiguity moderate contingency learning in a speeded performance task? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65, 408–425. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R. (2012). Human contingency learning. In N. M. Seal (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the sciences of learning (pp. 1455–1456). New York: Springer. [PDF]

2011

Schmidt, J. R., & De Houwer, J. (2011). Now you see it, now you don’t: Controlling for contingencies and stimulus repetitions eliminates the Gratton effect. Acta Psychologica, 138, 176–186. [PDF]

2010

Schmidt, J. R., De Houwer, J., & Besner, D. (2010). Contingency learning in the blink of an eye: A resource dependent process. Consciousness and Cognition, 19, 235–250. [PDF]

2008

Schmidt, J. R., & Besner, D. (2008). The Stroop effect: Why proportion congruent has nothing to do with congruency and everything to do with contingency. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 34, 514–523. [PDF]

Schmidt, J. R., & Thompson, V. A. (2008). “At least one” problem with “some” formal reasoning paradigms. Memory & Cognition, 36, 217–229. [PDF]

2007

Schmidt, J. R., Crump, M. J. C., Cheesman, J., & Besner, D. (2007). Contingency learning without awareness: Evidence for implicit control. Consciousness and Cognition, 16, 421–435. [PDF]

2006

Risko, E. F., Schmidt, J. R., & Besner, D. (2006). Filling a gap in the semantic gradient: Color associates and response set effects in the Stroop task. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 13, 310–315. [PDF]

2005

Schmidt, J. R., & Cheesman, J. (2005). Dissociating stimulus-stimulus and response-response effects in the Stroop task. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59, 132–138. [PDF]

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