ERIC Number: EJ1139458
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-May
Abstractor: As Provided
The Development of Automaticity in Short-Term Memory Search: Item-Response Learning and Category Learning
Cao, Rui; Nosofsky, Robert M.; Shiffrin, Richard M.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v43 n5 p669-679 May 2017
In short-term-memory (STM)-search tasks, observers judge whether a test probe was present in a short list of study items. Here we investigated the long-term learning mechanisms that lead to the highly efficient STM-search performance observed under conditions of consistent-mapping (CM) training, in which targets and foils never switch roles across trials. In item-response learning, subjects learn long-term mappings between individual items and target versus foil responses. In category learning, subjects learn high-level codes corresponding to separate sets of items and learn to attach old versus new responses to these category codes. To distinguish between these 2 forms of learning, we tested subjects in categorized varied mapping (CV) conditions: There were 2 distinct categories of items, but the assignment of categories to target versus foil responses varied across trials. In cases involving arbitrary categories, CV performance closely resembled standard varied-mapping performance without categories and departed dramatically from CM performance, supporting the item-response-learning hypothesis. In cases involving prelearned categories, CV performance resembled CM performance, as long as there was sufficient practice or steps taken to reduce trial-to-trial category-switching costs. This pattern of results supports the category-coding hypothesis for sufficiently well-learned categories. Thus, item-response learning occurs rapidly and is used early in CM training; category learning is much slower but is eventually adopted and is used to increase the efficiency of search beyond that available from item-response learning.
Descriptors: Short Term Memory, Recall (Psychology), Item Response Theory, Learning Processes, Cognitive Mapping, Experiments, Classification, Recognition (Psychology), Efficiency, Undergraduate Students, Visual Stimuli
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.apa.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Sponsor: US Air Force (DOD), Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Indiana
Grant or Contract Numbers: FA9550141–0307