Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 938–944 | Cite as

Learning in a unidimensional absolute identification task

  • Jeffrey N. Rouder
  • Richard D. Morey
  • Nelson Cowan
  • Monique Pealtz
Brief Reports


We tested whether there is long-term learning in the absolute identification of line lengths. Line lengths are unidimensional stimuli, and there is a common belief that learning of these stimuli quickly reaches a low-level asymptote of about seven items and progresses no more. We show that this is not the case. Our participants served in a 1.5-h session each day for over a week. Although they did not achieve perfect performance, they continued to improve day by day throughout the week and eventually learned to distinguish between 12 and 20 line lengths. These results are in contrast to common characterizations of learning in absolute identification tasks with unidimensional stimuli. We suggest that this learning reflects improvement in short-term processing.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey N. Rouder
    • 1
  • Richard D. Morey
    • 1
  • Nelson Cowan
    • 1
  • Monique Pealtz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesUniversity of MissouriColumbia

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