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The impact of implicit and explicit suggestions that ‘there is nothing to learn’ on implicit sequence learning

Luc Vermeylen (UGent) , Elger Abrahamse (UGent) , Senne Braem (UGent) and Davide Rigoni (UGent)
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Abstract
We can sometimes efficiently pick up statistical regularities in our environment in the absence of clear intentions or awareness, a process typically referred to as implicit sequence learning. In the current study, we tried to address the question whether suggesting participants that there is nothing to learn can impact this form of learning. If a priori predictions or intentions to learn are important in guiding implicit learning, we reasoned that suggesting participants that there is nothing to learn in a given context should hamper implicit learning. We introduced participants to random contexts that indicated that there was nothing to learn, either implicitly (i.e., by presenting blocks of random trials in "Experiment1"), or explicitly (i.e., by explicitly instructing them in "Experiment2"). Next, in a subsequent learning phase, participants performed an implicit sequence learning task. We found that these implicit or explicit suggestions that 'there was nothing to learn' did not influence the emergence of implicit knowledge in the subsequent learning phase. Although these findings seem consistent with simple associative or Hebbian learning accounts of implicit sequence learning (i.e., not steered by predictions), we discuss potential limitations that should inform future studies on the role of a priori predictions in implicit learning.
Keywords
Experimental and Cognitive Psychology, Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous), Developmental and Educational Psychology, General Medicine, AGE-DIFFERENCES, ADULT AGE, EXPECTANCY

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MLA
Vermeylen, Luc, et al. “The Impact of Implicit and Explicit Suggestions That ‘there Is Nothing to Learn’ on Implicit Sequence Learning.” PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH-PSYCHOLOGISCHE FORSCHUNG, 2020, doi:10.1007/s00426-020-01385-2.
APA
Vermeylen, L., Abrahamse, E., Braem, S., & Rigoni, D. (2020). The impact of implicit and explicit suggestions that “there is nothing to learn” on implicit sequence learning. PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH-PSYCHOLOGISCHE FORSCHUNG. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-020-01385-2
Chicago author-date
Vermeylen, Luc, Elger Abrahamse, Senne Braem, and Davide Rigoni. 2020. “The Impact of Implicit and Explicit Suggestions That ‘there Is Nothing to Learn’ on Implicit Sequence Learning.” PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH-PSYCHOLOGISCHE FORSCHUNG. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-020-01385-2.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Vermeylen, Luc, Elger Abrahamse, Senne Braem, and Davide Rigoni. 2020. “The Impact of Implicit and Explicit Suggestions That ‘there Is Nothing to Learn’ on Implicit Sequence Learning.” PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH-PSYCHOLOGISCHE FORSCHUNG. doi:10.1007/s00426-020-01385-2.
Vancouver
1.
Vermeylen L, Abrahamse E, Braem S, Rigoni D. The impact of implicit and explicit suggestions that “there is nothing to learn” on implicit sequence learning. PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH-PSYCHOLOGISCHE FORSCHUNG. 2020;
IEEE
[1]
L. Vermeylen, E. Abrahamse, S. Braem, and D. Rigoni, “The impact of implicit and explicit suggestions that ‘there is nothing to learn’ on implicit sequence learning,” PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH-PSYCHOLOGISCHE FORSCHUNG, 2020.
@article{8671788,
  abstract     = {We can sometimes efficiently pick up statistical regularities in our environment in the absence of clear intentions or awareness, a process typically referred to as implicit sequence learning. In the current study, we tried to address the question whether suggesting participants that there is nothing to learn can impact this form of learning. If a priori predictions or intentions to learn are important in guiding implicit learning, we reasoned that suggesting participants that there is nothing to learn in a given context should hamper implicit learning. We introduced participants to random contexts that indicated that there was nothing to learn, either implicitly (i.e., by presenting blocks of random trials in "Experiment1"), or explicitly (i.e., by explicitly instructing them in "Experiment2"). Next, in a subsequent learning phase, participants performed an implicit sequence learning task. We found that these implicit or explicit suggestions that 'there was nothing to learn' did not influence the emergence of implicit knowledge in the subsequent learning phase. Although these findings seem consistent with simple associative or Hebbian learning accounts of implicit sequence learning (i.e., not steered by predictions), we discuss potential limitations that should inform future studies on the role of a priori predictions in implicit learning.},
  author       = {Vermeylen, Luc and Abrahamse, Elger and Braem, Senne and Rigoni, Davide},
  issn         = {0340-0727},
  journal      = {PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH-PSYCHOLOGISCHE FORSCHUNG},
  keywords     = {Experimental and Cognitive Psychology,Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous),Developmental and Educational Psychology,General Medicine,AGE-DIFFERENCES,ADULT AGE,EXPECTANCY},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {12},
  title        = {The impact of implicit and explicit suggestions that ‘there is nothing to learn’ on implicit sequence learning},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00426-020-01385-2},
  year         = {2020},
}

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