Implicit learning of nonlocal musical rules: Implicitly learning more than chunks

  • Kuhn G
  • Dienes Z
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Dominant theories of implicit learning assume that implicit learning merely involves the learning of chunks of adjacent elements in a sequence. In the experiments presented here, participants implicitly learned a nonlocal rule, thus suggesting that implicit learning can go beyond the learning of chunks. Participants were exposed to a set of musical tunes that were all generated using a diatonic inversion. In the subsequent test phase, participants either classified test tunes as obeying a rule (direct test) or rated their liking for the tunes (indirect test). Both the direct and indirect tests were sensitive to knowledge of chunks. However, only the indirect test was sensitive to knowledge of the inversion rule. Furthermore, the indirect test was overall significantly more sensitive than the direct test, thus suggesting that knowledge of the inversion rule was below an objective threshold of awareness.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Artificial grammar learning
  • Implicit learning
  • Inversion rule
  • Mere exposure effect
  • Nonlocal rules

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  • Gustav Kuhn

  • Zoltán Dienes

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