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The Hebb repetition effect in complex span tasks: Evidence for a shared learning mechanism with simple span tasks


Araya, Claudia; Oberauer, Klaus; Saito, Satoru (2022). The Hebb repetition effect in complex span tasks: Evidence for a shared learning mechanism with simple span tasks. Memory & Cognition, 50(5):925-940.

Abstract

The Hebb repetition effect on serial-recall task refers to the improvement in the accuracy of recall of a repeated list (e.g., repeated in every 3 trials) over random non-repeated lists. Previous research has shown that both temporal position and neighboring items need to be the same on each repetition list for the Hebb repetition effect to occur, suggesting chunking as one of its underlying mechanisms. Accordingly, one can expect absence of the Hebb repetition effect in a complex span task, given that the sequence is interrupted by distractors. Nevertheless, one study by Oberauer, Jones, and Lewandowsky (2015, Memory & Cognition, 43[6], 852-865) showed evidence of the Hebb repetition effect in a complex span task. Throughout four experiments, we confirmed the Hebb repetition effect in complex span tasks, even when we included distractors in both encoding and recall phases to avoid any resemblance to a simple span task and minimized the possibility of chunking. Results showed that the Hebb repetition effect was not affected by the distractors during encoding and recall. A transfer cycle analysis showed that the long-term knowledge acquired in the complex span task can be transferred to a simple span task. These findings provide the first insights on the mechanism behind the Hebb repetition effect in complex span tasks; it is at least partially based on the same mechanism that improves recall performance by repetition in simple span tasks.

Abstract

The Hebb repetition effect on serial-recall task refers to the improvement in the accuracy of recall of a repeated list (e.g., repeated in every 3 trials) over random non-repeated lists. Previous research has shown that both temporal position and neighboring items need to be the same on each repetition list for the Hebb repetition effect to occur, suggesting chunking as one of its underlying mechanisms. Accordingly, one can expect absence of the Hebb repetition effect in a complex span task, given that the sequence is interrupted by distractors. Nevertheless, one study by Oberauer, Jones, and Lewandowsky (2015, Memory & Cognition, 43[6], 852-865) showed evidence of the Hebb repetition effect in a complex span task. Throughout four experiments, we confirmed the Hebb repetition effect in complex span tasks, even when we included distractors in both encoding and recall phases to avoid any resemblance to a simple span task and minimized the possibility of chunking. Results showed that the Hebb repetition effect was not affected by the distractors during encoding and recall. A transfer cycle analysis showed that the long-term knowledge acquired in the complex span task can be transferred to a simple span task. These findings provide the first insights on the mechanism behind the Hebb repetition effect in complex span tasks; it is at least partially based on the same mechanism that improves recall performance by repetition in simple span tasks.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
Language:English
Date:1 July 2022
Deposited On:02 May 2022 12:42
Last Modified:29 Jan 2024 02:40
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0090-502X
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3758/s13421-021-01261-3
PubMed ID:34870806
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)