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Methods for assessing unconscious processes in implicit sequence learning

Wilkinson, Leonora; (2004) Methods for assessing unconscious processes in implicit sequence learning. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Exposure to a repeating sequence of target stimuli in a speeded localization task can support both priming of sequence-consistent responses and recognition of sequence components. In 3 experiments with both deterministic and probabilistic sequences a novel procedure was used in which measures of priming and recognition were taken concurrently and it was asked whether these measures can be dissociated. In all 3 experiments, both measures were above chance at the group level and hence no evidence of a dissociation was observed. Experiment 4 tested the claim that amnesia leads to a dissociation between priming and recognition. Therefore, diazepam was administered to participants to induce a temporary period of amnesia, however, again no evidence of a dissociation between learning and awareness was reported. Taken together, the findings of Experiments 1-4 are compatible with a formal model in which priming and recognition are based on a single common memory variable. Experiments 5-8 sought to test Destrebecqz and Cleeremans' (2001, 2003) claim that under certain circumstances, the expression of sequence knowledge cannot be brought under intentional control. In Experiment 5, participants were trained on either a deterministic or a probabilistic sequence and then they performed a free generation test under either 'inclusion' or 'exclusion' instructions. In contrast to Destrebecqz and Cleeremans' findings, participants were capable of both expressing (inclusion) and avoiding expressing (exclusion) sequence knowledge. These results were confirmed in Experiment 6 with a more exact replication of Destrebecqz and Cleeremans' methodology. In Experiments 7 and 8, participants performed trial-by- trial generation tests and free generation tests under both inclusion and exclusion conditions, after much longer periods of training than are usually employed. All the findings in Experiments 5-8 are consistent with the proposal that the expression of knowledge acquired during sequence learning is under intentional control, and therefore is explicit in nature.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Methods for assessing unconscious processes in implicit sequence learning
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology; Implicit sequence learning
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099588
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