More learned irrelevance than perseveration errors in rule shifting in healthy subjects
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SourceBrain and Cognition, 54, 3, (2004), pp. 201-211
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC SMN
SW OZ DCC BO
SW OZ NICI BI
SW OZ NICI CO
Brain and Cognition
The present experiments examined the extent to which two possible sources of error affect healthy subjects' performance in a rule-shift task. All 115 participants first received a discrimination learning task, in which a pair of different visual stimuli was presented on each trial, one of which had to be identified as 'correct.' Each stimulus varied in two dimensions: a task-relevant and a task-irrelevant dimension. Feedback on correctness was given after each choice. After eight successive correct choices, the nature of the task-relevant dimension changed: the post-shift learning phase. Two types of error can occur in this phase: continued responding to the former relevant, but now irrelevant, dimension, a perseverative error, and non-responding to the former irrelevant, but now relevant, dimension, an error due to learned irrelevance. Different groups received a post-shift task in which none, one, or both of these two types of error could affect performance. The number of incorrect choices in the post-shift phase was significantly affected by learned-irrelevance errors but not by perseverative errors. An associative-learning model incorporating feedback-induced changes in both associative strength and saliency of the elements comprising the stimuli can explain these results.
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