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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs.

Strathprints serves world leading Open Access research by the University of Strathclyde, including research by the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS), where research centres such as the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), the Cancer Research UK Formulation Unit, SeaBioTech and the Centre for Biophotonics are based.

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A dual process account of digit invariance learning

Kelly, S.W. and Wilkin, K. (2006) A dual process account of digit invariance learning. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59 (9). pp. 1664-1680. ISSN 1747-0218

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Abstract

Performance in the McGeorge and Burton (1990) digit invariance task was originally thought to be mediated by unconscious abstraction of a "rule" that identified the invariant feature across all study items. Subsequent explanations have suggested explicit strategy use or similarity-to-exemplar matching rather than abstraction. This paper presents data that suggest that both similarity and abstraction can be used under different task demands. Delay between study and test afforded abstraction of the invariant knowledge whereas reducing the pool of study exemplars enhanced responding based on specific similarity. These results parallel effects found in the categorization literature. Rule abstraction in this sense may be due to statistical learning of feature frequency rather than abstraction of a central tendency or a complex/conceptual rule. Categorizing responses into subjective memory states (remember/know/guess) demonstrates that neither the similarity matching nor the abstraction mechanism uses information from episodic memory. Confidence measures show that participants are more confident of responses when the prototypical representation is used but not specific similarity. Taken together, these data suggest that abstracted knowledge is not held consciously but that participants have meta-awareness of when they are using the abstracted representation.