A sequence identification measurement model to investigate the implicit learning of metrical temporal patterns

PLoS One. 2013 Sep 25;8(9):e75163. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075163. eCollection 2013.

Abstract

Implicit learning (IL) occurs unconsciously and without intention. Perceptual fluency is the ease of processing elicited by previous exposure to a stimulus. It has been assumed that perceptual fluency is associated with IL. However, the role of perceptual fluency following IL has not been investigated in temporal pattern learning. Two experiments by Schultz, Stevens, Keller, and Tillmann demonstrated the IL of auditory temporal patterns using a serial reaction-time task and a generation task based on the process dissociation procedure. The generation task demonstrated that learning was implicit in both experiments via motor fluency, that is, the inability to suppress learned information. With the aim to disentangle conscious and unconscious processes, we analyze unreported recognition data associated with the Schultz et al. experiments using the sequence identification measurement model. The model assumes that perceptual fluency reflects unconscious processes and IL. For Experiment 1, the model indicated that conscious and unconscious processes contributed to recognition of temporal patterns, but that unconscious processes had a greater influence on recognition than conscious processes. In the model implementation of Experiment 2, there was equal contribution of conscious and unconscious processes in the recognition of temporal patterns. As Schultz et al. demonstrated IL in both experiments using a generation task, and the conditions reported here in Experiments 1 and 2 were identical, two explanations are offered for the discrepancy in model and behavioral results based on the two tasks: 1) perceptual fluency may not be necessary to infer IL, or 2) conscious control over implicitly learned information may vary as a function of perceptual fluency and motor fluency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological*
  • New South Wales
  • Pattern Recognition, Physiological / physiology*
  • Unconscious, Psychology*

Grant support

The research was supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP0986394) held by Catherine Stevens, Barbara Tillmann, and Peter Keller. The primary research was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award and University of Western Sydney top up grant. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.