Response biases, implicit learning and the effects of age

1999 1999

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Abstract (summary)

Four experiments are presented that explore the amount and type of information required for changes in response biases, or criteria. Subjective awareness of changes in criteria and the impact increased age has on this ability is also investigated. Response biases are manipulated via an incidental cue presented while participants are performing a recognition memory test. During test, studied items are disproportionately presented in one color over another, with the opposite holding for the unstudied items (i.e. 2/3 of the studied items presented in Green and 1/3 in Red). Successfully learning the relationship between color and correct answer results in differential response biases for the two colors. Post-experimental questioning probed the extent to which participants were explicitly aware of the relationship.

Young adults given ample feedback appropriately adopt different criteria for the two colors. Imposing a slight response deadline slows this ability, and removal of feedback eliminates it. Under moderate cue salience, participants are not able to verbalize explicit knowledge of the color-answer relationship. Increasing the cue salience increases the magnitude of the criteria difference between the two colors and participants' ability to verbalize their knowledge of the relationship. Unique response keys for each color also results in an increase in participants' explicit awareness of the color-answer relationship.

Verbal report and data from Experiment 4 offers evidence that awareness is not required for changes in criteria. Several groups do not report knowledge of the relationship while other groups in different conditions (that in principle should increase awareness) do report explicit knowledge. Results from a transfer conditions in Experiment 4 show clear performance differences for aware versus unaware participants. Explicitly learning the probabilistic information has the same impact on performance as having been told.

Elderly adults under moderate cue salience are slower than the Young to acquire differential criteria. Under conditions of increased cue salience, elderly adults are not slower than the young, thought the magnitude of the influence color had on responding is less. Further, older adults with increased proportions are not able to verbalize the color-answer relationship.

Indexing (details)

Cognitive therapy;
Cellular biology
0633: Cognitive therapy
0623: Psychology
0623: Experiments
0351: Gerontology
0758: Cellular biology
Identifier / keyword
Health and environmental sciences; Social sciences; Psychology; Age; Elderly; Implicit learning; Memory; Response biases
Response biases, implicit learning and the effects of age
Dolan, Patrick O.
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-B 60/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
9780599159327, 0599159324
Jacoby, Larry L.
New York University
University location
United States -- New York
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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