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Title: The Role of a Variability Contingency on Sequence Learning in Humans
Contributor(s): Doolan, Kathleen (author); ter Veer-Burke, Stacey (author); Bizo, Lewis  (author); McEwan, James (author)
Publication Date: 2015
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Abstract: Research shows that reinforcement of variable responding facilitates sequence learning in rats but may interfere with sequence learning in humans. Experiment 1 examined sequence difficulty in humans by manipulating sequence length and task instruction. Experiment 2 investigated the effect of removing or adding a variability contingency within the experimental session for a 6-item sequence. Participants were allocated to either a Control or Variable group. The Control group only received reinforcement for production of the target sequences. The Variability group received reinforcers on a Variable Interval 60-s schedule if the sequence met a variability criterion and for production of the target sequence. In Experiment 2 after 10 reinforcer deliveries the variability contingency was either removed or added. In Experiment 1, the Control group produced more target sequences for the 6-digit conditions, the Variable group produced more target sequences for the 9-digit condition and there was no difference between groups for the 12-digit condition. Task instructions had little impact on the results. In Experiment 2 the Control performed better than the Variability group - addition or removal of the variability contingency had little effect on performance. Results will be discussed in relation to previously published research on sequence learning with animals and humans.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Name: 41st Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, San Antonio, United States of America, 22nd - 26th May, 2015
Source of Publication: Association for Behavior Analysis International 41st Annual Convention Program
Publisher: Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI)
Place of Publication: online
Field of Research (FOR): 170112 Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance
170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified
170299 Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: E3 Extract of Scholarly Conference Publication
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