Latent inhibition depends on inhibitory attentional learning to the preexposed stimulus: Evidence from visual search and rule-learning tasks

Henning Gibbons, Thomas H. Rammsayer, R. E. Lubow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Latent inhibition (LI) refers to findings of poorer learning with stimuli preexposed as irrelevant, compared to novel stimuli. In order to investigate the role of attention in traditional LI, two experiments with human subjects were conducted. Experiment 1 used a simplified visual-search design. As in previous studies, but now with a simpler design, there was a LI-like effect, thereby supporting the position that attentional learning to irrelevantly preexposed stimuli is reduced. Experiment 2 introduced conditions that were designed to exclude a potential contribution of novel popout to the visual-search LI-like effect. It was shown that the effect could be observed independently of contributions from novel popout. In addition, when participants were divided into good and poor attentional learners on the basis of visual-search LI scores, traditional rule-learning LI was established in good attentional learners, whereas it was absent in poor attentional learners. Together, these results indicate that visual-search procedures can be used to provide a measure for LI, and, as such, they support attention-based explanations of traditional LI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-476
Number of pages20
JournalLearning and Motivation
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Keywords

  • Latent inhibition
  • Preexposure
  • Rule learning
  • Visual search

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