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Motivation and intelligence drive auditory perceptual learning

Amitay, S; Halliday, L; Taylor, J; Sohoglu, E; Moore, DR; (2010) Motivation and intelligence drive auditory perceptual learning. PLOS ONE , 5 (3) , Article e9816. 10.1371/journal.pone.0009816. Green open access

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Background Although feedback on performance is generally thought to promote perceptual learning, the role and necessity of feedback remain unclear. We investigated the effect of providing varying amounts of positive feedback while listeners attempted to discriminate between three identical tones on learning frequency discrimination. Methodology/Principal Findings Using this novel procedure, the feedback was meaningless and random in relation to the listeners' responses, but the amount of feedback provided (or lack thereof) affected learning. We found that a group of listeners who received positive feedback on 10% of the trials improved their performance on the task (learned), while other groups provided either with excess (90%) or with no feedback did not learn. Superimposed on these group data, however, individual listeners showed other systematic changes of performance. In particular, those with lower non-verbal IQ who trained in the no feedback condition performed more poorly after training. Conclusions/Significance This pattern of results cannot be accounted for by learning models that ascribe an external teacher role to feedback. We suggest, instead, that feedback is used to monitor performance on the task in relation to its perceived difficulty, and that listeners who learn without the benefit of feedback are adept at self-monitoring of performance, a trait that also supports better performance on non-verbal IQ tests. These results show that ‘perceptual’ learning is strongly influenced by top-down processes of motivation and intelligence.

Type: Article
Title: Motivation and intelligence drive auditory perceptual learning
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009816
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0009816
Language: English
Additional information: © 2010 Amitay et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. This study was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), United Kingdom. All authors were MRC employees at the time the research was conducted. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1312012
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