The context effect: The relationship between stimulus preexposure and environmental preexposure determines subsequent learning

R. E. Lubow, Bathsheva Rifkin, Malka Alec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations

Abstract

Notes that perceptual learning studies indicate that stimulus pre-exposure enhances subsequent learning, while latent inhibition studies indicate that it retards subsequent learning. An analysis of the 2 paradigms suggests that predictions in regard to the effects of stimulus pre-exposure must take into account not only the novelty of the stimulus but the relationship of that novelty to that of the environment at the time of testing. 2 studies with identical designs, 1 with 80 male and 80 female kindergartners and 1 with 80 male Charles River rats, were conducted. In both studies, enhancement of learning was achieved when a new stimulus was presented in an old environment or an old stimulus in a new environment as compared to either a new stimulus in a new environment or an old stimulus in an old environment. This demonstrated latent inhibition and perceptual learning and showed that the direction of the effects of stimulus preexposure is dependent on the relative novelty of the environment. A 2-process theory based on enhancing salience through conditioning and arousal is proposed to account for the pattern of results. (18 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-47
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1976
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • environmental preexposure, subsequent learning, kindergartners &
  • male rats
  • stimulus &

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