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Schema-driven facilitation of new hierarchy learning in the transitive inference paradigm

Kumaran, D; (2013) Schema-driven facilitation of new hierarchy learning in the transitive inference paradigm. Learning Memory , 20 388 - 394. 10.1101/lm.030296.113. Green open access

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Abstract

Prior knowledge, in the form of a mental schema or framework, is viewed to facilitate the learning of new information in a range of experimental and everyday scenarios. Despite rising interest in the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying schema-driven facilitation of new learning, few paradigms have been developed to examine this issue in humans. Here we develop a multiphase experimental scenario aimed at characterizing schema-based effects in the context of a paradigm that has been very widely used across species, the transitive inference task. We show that an associative schema, comprised of prior knowledge of the rank positions of familiar items in the hierarchy, has a marked effect on transitivity performance and the development of relational knowledge of the hierarchy that cannot be accounted for by more general changes in task strategy. Further, we show that participants are capable of deploying prior knowledge to successful effect under surprising conditions (i.e., when corrective feedback is totally absent), but only when the associative schema is robust. Finally, our results provide insights into the cognitive mechanisms underlying such schema-driven effects, and suggest that new hierarchy learning in the transitive inference task can occur through a contextual transfer mechanism that exploits the structure of associative experiences.

Type: Article
Title: Schema-driven facilitation of new hierarchy learning in the transitive inference paradigm
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1101/lm.030296.113
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/lm.030296.113
Language: English
Additional information: ©2013, Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. This article is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution 3.0 Unported), as described at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ PMCID: PMC3687256
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science > CoMPLEX: Mat&Phys in Life Sci and Exp Bio
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1399473
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