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Kyle Friedman, Timothy Vickery; Does reward influence visual statistical learning?. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):386. doi: 10.1167/15.12.386.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Two means by which humans learn about the environment are by detecting statistical regularity and by learning about which stimuli predict rewards. In three experiments, we sought evidence that the occurrence of reward impairs or enhances visual statistical learning. In all experiments, we grouped shapes into triplets and presented triplets one shape at a time in an undifferentiated stream. Triplets were additionally assigned no, low, or high-reward status. Participants were naïve to all underlying structure. In experiments 1 and 2, participants were asked to view shape streams while low and high rewards were “randomly” given, represented by low- and high-pitched tones played through headphones, respectively. Unknown to the subjects, however, rewards were always given on the third shape of a triplet (Experiment 1) or the first shape of a triplet (Experiment 2), and high- and low-reward sounds were always consistently paired with the same triplets. Experiment 3 was similar to Experiment 1, except that participants were asked to press the spacebar whenever they noticed a shape “jiggle,” and we told participants that reward value was related to their actions, with jiggle always associated with a third item in a triplet. In the test phases for these experiments, participants viewed sequences of repeated triplets and foil triplets that were never previously presented in that order, and were asked to select the more familiar sequence. Across experiments, all three value categories showed significant visual statistical learning effects, but the strength of learning did not differ among no-, low-, or high-reward conditions for any of the three experiments. Thus, all three experiments failed to find any influence of rewards on statistical learning, implying that visual statistical learning may be unaffected by the occurrence of reward.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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