Categorical implicit learning in real-world scenes: Evidence from contextual cueing


  • Goujon Annabelle

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The present study examined the extent to which learning mechanisms are deployed on semantic-categorical regularities during a visual searching within real-world scenes. The contextual cueing paradigm was used with photographs of indoor scenes in which the semantic category did or did not predict the target position on the screen. No evidence of a facilitation effect was observed in the predictive condition compared to the nonpredictive condition when participants were merely instructed to search for a target T or L (Experiment 1). However, a rapid contextual cueing effect occurred when each display containing the search target was preceded by a preview of the scene on which participants had to make a decision regarding the scene's category (Experiment 2). A follow-up explicit memory task indicated that this benefit resulted from implicit learning. Similar implicit contextual cueing effects were also obtained when the scene to categorize was different from the subsequent search scene (Experiment 3) and when a mere preview of the search scene preceded the visual searching (Experiment 4). These results suggested that if enhancing the processing of the scene was required with the present material, such implicit semantic learning can nevertheless take place when the category is task irrelevant.

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