Age, gender, and learning style predict spontaneous explicit learning in an implicit learning task

AbstractPrevious studies of implicit learning have demonstrated spontaneous explicit learning in some participants but not others. We investigated whether differences in spontaneous explicit knowledge could be predicted by individual-level variables. Ninety-five undergraduates (Mage = 19.91, SDage = 1.5; Nfemale = 85) performed a Serial Response Task in which a sequence was embedded in some blocks but not others; all participants demonstrated implicit learning (shorter RTs for sequence blocks compared to random blocks) but only 31 (32%) were able to describe the sequence accurately afterwards. Neither verbal nor non-verbal IQ, nor working memory span, nor Need for Cognition differentiated those with explicit sequence knowledge from those without. However, the relationship between sex and any explicit knowledge was significant (χ2(95) = 4.5, p = .03), and among participants with any explicit sequence knowledge, males correctly recalled more sequence items than females (Mmale, = 8, Mfemale, = 4.19; t(29) = 3.26, p =.0028).

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