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Less is more: latent learning is maximized by shorter training sessions in auditory perceptual learning.

Molloy K, Moore DR, Sohoglu E, Amitay S - PLoS ONE (2012)

Bottom Line: The time course and outcome of perceptual learning can be affected by the length and distribution of practice, but the training regimen parameters that govern these effects have received little systematic study in the auditory domain.Between-session improvements were inversely correlated with performance; they were largest at the start of training and reduced as training progressed.In a second experiment we found no additional longer-term improvement in performance, retention, or transfer of learning for a group that trained over 4 sessions (∼4 hr in total) relative to a group that trained for a single session (∼1 hr).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research, Nottingham, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT

Background: The time course and outcome of perceptual learning can be affected by the length and distribution of practice, but the training regimen parameters that govern these effects have received little systematic study in the auditory domain. We asked whether there was a minimum requirement on the number of trials within a training session for learning to occur, whether there was a maximum limit beyond which additional trials became ineffective, and whether multiple training sessions provided benefit over a single session.

Methodology/principal findings: We investigated the efficacy of different regimens that varied in the distribution of practice across training sessions and in the overall amount of practice received on a frequency discrimination task. While learning was relatively robust to variations in regimen, the group with the shortest training sessions (∼8 min) had significantly faster learning in early stages of training than groups with longer sessions. In later stages, the group with the longest training sessions (>1 hr) showed slower learning than the other groups, suggesting overtraining. Between-session improvements were inversely correlated with performance; they were largest at the start of training and reduced as training progressed. In a second experiment we found no additional longer-term improvement in performance, retention, or transfer of learning for a group that trained over 4 sessions (∼4 hr in total) relative to a group that trained for a single session (∼1 hr). However, the mechanisms of learning differed; the single-session group continued to improve in the days following cessation of training, whereas the multi-session group showed no further improvement once training had ceased.

Conclusions/significance: Shorter training sessions were advantageous because they allowed for more latent, between-session and post-training learning to emerge. These findings suggest that efficient regimens should use short training sessions, and optimized spacing between sessions.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Learning curves for early and late stages of training.(A) Group mean DLFs for the first 800 trials for all groups. (B) Group mean DLFs for the second 800 trials for groups T800, T400 and T200. Solid lines are least squares logarithmic fits plotted on a log-log scale to appear linear. Error bars were omitted, since analyses compared slopes not individual points. Bars along the top of the figure illustrate sessions in each group’s training regimen. Note the different DLF axis scales in A and B.
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pone-0036929-g005: Learning curves for early and late stages of training.(A) Group mean DLFs for the first 800 trials for all groups. (B) Group mean DLFs for the second 800 trials for groups T800, T400 and T200. Solid lines are least squares logarithmic fits plotted on a log-log scale to appear linear. Error bars were omitted, since analyses compared slopes not individual points. Bars along the top of the figure illustrate sessions in each group’s training regimen. Note the different DLF axis scales in A and B.

Mentions: Learning rates during early (first 800 trials) and later learning (800–1600 trials) were investigated separately (Fig. 5A and B, respectively) by comparing the slopes of the learning curves. During the first 800 training trials the T200, T400 and T800 groups showed equivalent learning speed, but the T100 group showed significantly faster learning than the other groups (t(63) >4.9, p<.001 for all comparisons). Rather than a critical minimum requirement of daily training, these results suggest that shorter sessions result in more overall learning than longer ones, at least in the early stage of training.


Less is more: latent learning is maximized by shorter training sessions in auditory perceptual learning.

Molloy K, Moore DR, Sohoglu E, Amitay S - PLoS ONE (2012)

Learning curves for early and late stages of training.(A) Group mean DLFs for the first 800 trials for all groups. (B) Group mean DLFs for the second 800 trials for groups T800, T400 and T200. Solid lines are least squares logarithmic fits plotted on a log-log scale to appear linear. Error bars were omitted, since analyses compared slopes not individual points. Bars along the top of the figure illustrate sessions in each group’s training regimen. Note the different DLF axis scales in A and B.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3351401&req=5

pone-0036929-g005: Learning curves for early and late stages of training.(A) Group mean DLFs for the first 800 trials for all groups. (B) Group mean DLFs for the second 800 trials for groups T800, T400 and T200. Solid lines are least squares logarithmic fits plotted on a log-log scale to appear linear. Error bars were omitted, since analyses compared slopes not individual points. Bars along the top of the figure illustrate sessions in each group’s training regimen. Note the different DLF axis scales in A and B.
Mentions: Learning rates during early (first 800 trials) and later learning (800–1600 trials) were investigated separately (Fig. 5A and B, respectively) by comparing the slopes of the learning curves. During the first 800 training trials the T200, T400 and T800 groups showed equivalent learning speed, but the T100 group showed significantly faster learning than the other groups (t(63) >4.9, p<.001 for all comparisons). Rather than a critical minimum requirement of daily training, these results suggest that shorter sessions result in more overall learning than longer ones, at least in the early stage of training.

Bottom Line: The time course and outcome of perceptual learning can be affected by the length and distribution of practice, but the training regimen parameters that govern these effects have received little systematic study in the auditory domain.Between-session improvements were inversely correlated with performance; they were largest at the start of training and reduced as training progressed.In a second experiment we found no additional longer-term improvement in performance, retention, or transfer of learning for a group that trained over 4 sessions (∼4 hr in total) relative to a group that trained for a single session (∼1 hr).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research, Nottingham, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT

Background: The time course and outcome of perceptual learning can be affected by the length and distribution of practice, but the training regimen parameters that govern these effects have received little systematic study in the auditory domain. We asked whether there was a minimum requirement on the number of trials within a training session for learning to occur, whether there was a maximum limit beyond which additional trials became ineffective, and whether multiple training sessions provided benefit over a single session.

Methodology/principal findings: We investigated the efficacy of different regimens that varied in the distribution of practice across training sessions and in the overall amount of practice received on a frequency discrimination task. While learning was relatively robust to variations in regimen, the group with the shortest training sessions (∼8 min) had significantly faster learning in early stages of training than groups with longer sessions. In later stages, the group with the longest training sessions (>1 hr) showed slower learning than the other groups, suggesting overtraining. Between-session improvements were inversely correlated with performance; they were largest at the start of training and reduced as training progressed. In a second experiment we found no additional longer-term improvement in performance, retention, or transfer of learning for a group that trained over 4 sessions (∼4 hr in total) relative to a group that trained for a single session (∼1 hr). However, the mechanisms of learning differed; the single-session group continued to improve in the days following cessation of training, whereas the multi-session group showed no further improvement once training had ceased.

Conclusions/significance: Shorter training sessions were advantageous because they allowed for more latent, between-session and post-training learning to emerge. These findings suggest that efficient regimens should use short training sessions, and optimized spacing between sessions.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus