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Fluid Abilities and Rule Learning: Patterning and Biconditional Discriminations

1
School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
2
Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montréal, QC H3A 1G1, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 December 2017 / Revised: 7 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
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Abstract

Previous experience with discrimination problems that can only be solved by learning about stimulus configurations enhances performance on new configural discriminations. Some of these effects can be explained by a shift toward increased configural processing (learning about combinations of cues rather than about individual elements), or by a tendency to generalize a learned rule to a new training set. We investigated whether fluid abilities influence the extent that previous experience with configural discriminations improves performance on subsequent discriminations. In Experiments 1 and 2 we used patterning discriminations that could be solved by applying a simple rule, whereas in Experiment 3 we used biconditional discriminations that could not be solved using a rule. Fluid abilities predicted the improvement on the second training set in all experiments, including Experiment 3 in which rule-based generalization could not explain the improvement on the second discrimination. This supports the idea that fluid abilities contribute to performance by inducing a shift toward configural processing rather than rule-based generalization. However, fluid abilities also predicted performance on a rule-based transfer test in Experiment 2. Taken together, these results suggest that fluid abilities contribute to both a flexible shift toward configural processing and to rule-based generalization. View Full-Text
Keywords: associative learning; fluid abilities; positive and negative patterning; biconditional discrimination; configural processing; rule-based generalization associative learning; fluid abilities; positive and negative patterning; biconditional discrimination; configural processing; rule-based generalization
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Baetu, I.; Burns, N.R.; Yu, E.; Baker, A.G. Fluid Abilities and Rule Learning: Patterning and Biconditional Discriminations. J. Intell. 2018, 6, 7.

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