Attentional Requirements of Learning : Performance Measures Evidence from

  • Nissen M
  • Bullemer P
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Important differences have emerged between introspective measures of learning, such as recall and recognition, and performance measures, in which the performance of a task is facilitated by prior experience. Introspective remembering of unattended stimuli is poor. We investigated whether performance measures would also show a strong dependence on attention. Subjects performed a serial reaction time task comprised of a repeating 10-trial stimulus sequence. When this task was given under dual-task conditions, acquisition of the sequence as assessed by verbal reports and performance measures was minimal. Patients with Korsakoff's syndrome learned the sequence despite their lack of awareness of the repeating pattern. Results are discussed in terms of the attentional requirements of learning, the relation between learning and awareness, preserved learning in amnesia, and the separation of memory systems.

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  • Mary Jo Nissen

  • Peter Bullemer

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