Unlearning a stimulus–response association
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- Shiu, Lp. & Chan, Tc. Psychological Research (2006) 70: 193. doi:10.1007/s00426-004-0201-x
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After a response has been associated with a particular stimulus, would this association be “unlearned” when the circumstances call for a new response to be made to that stimulus? This question was investigated in the present study with a negative priming (NP) paradigm developed by Shiu and Kornblum (1996). In the study, participants first practiced with a particular pairing of stimuli and responses in a four-choice reaction time (RT) task. Then, in the transfer phase, they switched to a different pairing of the same set of stimuli and responses. The results showed that a transfer response was slow if this response and the stimulus in the preceding trial had been paired in the training phase. Such NP effects persisted even after extended practice with the new pairing, suggesting that the “old” stimulus–response (SR) associations remain despite acquisition of some “new” associations.