Auditory implicit learning

Riedel, Beate (2003) Auditory implicit learning. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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It has been suggested that much of the information we acquire from our external
environment involves processes that do not require conscious awareness (e.g.
Reber, 1989; Reber and Winter, 1994). Such knowledge acquisition has been
termed implicit learning and this has been put forward as a fundamental process
in allowing learning of complex information (e.g. Reber, 1992; Schmidke and
Heuer, 1997). It has been proposed that acquisition of the underlying rule
structure of stimulus events provides an indication of such a process as being
fundamental and general. In contrast, learning bound to more peripheral
processes should only be shown when subjects learn, for example, surface
features of stimuli or a sequence of motor responses, but not the underlying rules
(e.g. Perruchet and Pacteau, 1990; Seger, 1998). The research in this thesis
investigates systematically whether implicit learning of sound stimuli behaves
any differently to such learning of visual stimuli. This expands the empirical
scope of previous studies in the implicit learning field and allows assessment of
such processes as fundamental and general.
Chapter 1 provides a background to implicit learning in general and introduces
the different concepts involved. Chapters 2 to 4 investigated the generality of
findings from visual implicit learning studies in the auditory domain. In
particular, they studied the role of rule abstraction in sequence learning (Nissen
and Bullemer, 1987) and invariant learning tasks (McGeorge and Burton, 1990).
Findings from the sequence learning experiments in Chapters 2 and 3 suggest
that subjects were unable to abstract the underlying rule structure of stimuli, as
would have been evident from learning of the auditory sequences employed by
listening alone. Instead, subjects were only able to learn the relevant
associations between their actions (keypress responses) and a set of stimuli.
These findings add to evidence from visual implicit learning studies that found
peripheral processes involved in such learning. Findings from the invariant
learning experiments in Chapter 4 show what types of auditory invariant features subjects can and cannot learn. This identified for the first time the exact
information, or rule, that subjects acquire in such a task in an auditory context.
Additionally, it provides some evidence that explicit processes may have been
involved. Overall, the findings from the experiments in this thesis put into
question that implicit learning is a fundamental process, which involves implicit
rule abstraction.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Supervisor's Name: Burton, Professor Mike
Date of Award: 2003
Depositing User: Ms Dawn Pike
Unique ID: glathesis:2003-4884
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2014 11:56
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2014 11:57

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