Gradations of awareness in a modified sequence learning task.
ABSTRACT We argue performance in the serial reaction time (SRT) task is associated with gradations of awareness that provide examples of fringe consciousness [Mangan, B. (1993b). Taking phenomenology seriously: the "fringe" and its implications for cognitive research. Consciousness and Cognition, 2, 89-108, Mangan, B. (2003). The conscious "fringe": Bringing William James up to date. In B. J. Baars, W. P. Banks & J. B. Newman (Eds.), Essential sources in the scientific study of consciousness (pp. 741-759). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.], and address limitations of the traditional SRT procedure, including criticism of exclusion generation tasks. Two experiments are conducted with a modified SRT procedure where irrelevant stimulus attributes obscure the sequence rule. Our modified paradigm, which includes a novel exclusion task, makes it easier to demonstrate a previously controversial influence of response stimulus interval (RSI) on awareness. It also allows identification of participants showing fringe consciousness rather than explicit sequence knowledge, as reflected by dissociations between different awareness measures. The NEO-PI-R variable Openness to Feelings influenced the diversity of subjective feelings reported during two awareness measures, but not the degree of learning and awareness as previously found with traditional SRT tasks [Norman, E., Price, M. C., & Duff, S. C. (2006). Fringe consciousness in sequence learning: the influence of individual differences. Consciousness and Cognition, 15(4), 723-760.]. This suggests possible distinctions between two components of fringe consciousness.
Article: Rapidly measuring the speed of unconscious learning: amnesics learn quickly and happy people slowly.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: We introduce a method for quickly determining the rate of implicit learning. The task involves making a binary prediction for a probabilistic sequence over 10 minutes; from this it is possible to determine the influence of events of a different number of trials in the past on the current decision. This profile directly reflects the learning rate parameter of a large class of learning algorithms including the delta and Rescorla-Wagner rules. To illustrate the use of the method, we compare a person with amnesia with normal controls and we compare people with induced happy and sad moods. Learning on the task is likely both associative and implicit. We argue theoretically and demonstrate empirically that both amnesia and also transient negative moods can be associated with an especially large learning rate: People with amnesia can learn quickly and happy people slowly.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(3):e33400. · 4.09 Impact Factor