Cue Competition in Human Associative Learning


We used a SRT task in which the preceding two trials of a run of three predicted the third 2/3 of the time, and added another predictive cue, a colored square, which could also predict the next response required. The question was to what extent would these two cues compete for control of behavior? We assessed this by comparing the dual cue group to a color only control and a sequence only control. Our results showed that the dual group learned about both cues to about the same extent as the individual controls, but that when switched to a test phase where each cue could be assessed independently, the dual group showed a marked decline in performance relative to the controls. We interpret this as evidence for overshadowing occurring between the two predictive cues in the dual group.

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