Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 658–666 | Cite as

Category learning in the color-word contingency learning paradigm

  • James R. Schmidt
  • Maria Augustinova
  • Jan De Houwer
Brief Report
  • 95 Downloads

Abstract

In the typical color-word contingency learning paradigm, participants respond to the print color of words where each word is presented most often in one color. Learning is indicated by faster and more accurate responses when a word is presented in its usual color, relative to another color. To eliminate the possibility that this effect is driven exclusively by the familiarity of item-specific word-color pairings, we examine whether contingency learning effects can be observed also when colors are related to categories of words rather than to individual words. To this end, the reported experiments used three categories of words (animals, verbs, and professions) that were each predictive of one color. Importantly, each individual word was presented only once, thus eliminating individual color-word contingencies. Nevertheless, for the first time, a category-based contingency effect was observed, with faster and more accurate responses when a category item was presented in the color in which most of the other items of that category were presented. This finding helps to constrain episodic learning models and sets the stage for new research on category-based contingency learning.

Keywords

Contingency learning Category learning Item-specificity Episodic memory 

Notes

Author Notes

This research was supported by Grant BOF16/MET_V/002 of Ghent University to Jan De Houwer and by the Interuniversity Attraction Poles Program initiated by the Belgian Science Policy Office (IUAPVII/33).

Supplementary material

13423_2018_1430_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (54 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 54.2 kb)
13423_2018_1430_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (90 kb)
ESM 2 (XLSX 89.8 kb)

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James R. Schmidt
    • 1
  • Maria Augustinova
    • 2
  • Jan De Houwer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Experimental Clinical and Health PsychologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversité de RouenRouenFrance

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