Encoding of episodic information through fast task-irrelevant perceptual learning

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Abstract

The mechanisms guiding our learning and memory processes are of key interest to human cognition. While much research shows that attention and reinforcement processes help guide the encoding process, there is still much to know regarding how our brains choose what to remember. Recent research of task-irrelevant perceptual learning (TIPL) has found that information presented coincident with important events is better encoded even if participants are not aware of its presence (see Seitz & Watanabe, 2009). However a limitation of existing studies of TIPL is that they provide little information regarding the depth of encoding supported by pairing a stimulus with a behaviorally relevant event. The objective of this research was to understand the depth of encoding of information that is learned through TIPL. To do so, we adopted a variant of the "remember/know" paradigm, recently reported by Ingram, Mickes, and Wixted (2012), in which multiple confidence levels of both familiar (know) and remember reports are reported (Experiment 1), and in which episodic information is tested (Experiment 2). TIPL was found in both experiments, with higher recognition performance for target-paired than for distractor-paired images. Furthermore, TIPL benefitted both "familiar" and "remember" reports. The results of Experiment 2 indicate that the most confident "remember" response was associated with episodic information, where participants were able to access the location of image presentation for these items. Together, these results indicate that TIPL results in a deep enhancement in the encoding of target-paired information. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

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Leclercq, V., Le Dantec, C. C., & Seitz, A. R. (2014). Encoding of episodic information through fast task-irrelevant perceptual learning. Vision Research, 99, 5–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2013.09.006

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