Limits...
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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Progress of learning over training days.Group mean DLFs for each training day. DLFs from block 1 are plotted at the far left, followed by daily DLFs for each training day (note that the block 1 DLFs were not reused in calculating the mean for Day 1). 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.
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pone-0036929-g006: Progress of learning over training days.Group mean DLFs for each training day. DLFs from block 1 are plotted at the far left, followed by daily DLFs for each training day (note that the block 1 DLFs were not reused in calculating the mean for Day 1). 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.

Mentions: Considering improvements gained each day rather than per trial further clarifies the relative learning rate (Fig. 6). The slopes describing amount of learning per day grow progressively shallower from T800 to T200, but further reducing the number of trials per day does not decrease the learning rate. The T800 and T400 groups show significant differences in slope compared to each other, the T200 and the T100 groups (t(25) >3.7, p≤.001). However, the T200 group did not show more daily improvement than the T100 group (t(25) = 0.6, ns). This further highlights that the T100 group is improving relatively faster than the other groups, showing as much improvement each day as the T200 group, who had double the training. These results suggest that, at least for this task, 100 trials are above the critical minimum number of trials required to initiate learning, and that there is benefit to having shorter training sessions.


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)

Progress of learning over training days.Group mean DLFs for each training day. DLFs from block 1 are plotted at the far left, followed by daily DLFs for each training day (note that the block 1 DLFs were not reused in calculating the mean for Day 1). 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.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0036929-g006: Progress of learning over training days.Group mean DLFs for each training day. DLFs from block 1 are plotted at the far left, followed by daily DLFs for each training day (note that the block 1 DLFs were not reused in calculating the mean for Day 1). 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.
Mentions: Considering improvements gained each day rather than per trial further clarifies the relative learning rate (Fig. 6). The slopes describing amount of learning per day grow progressively shallower from T800 to T200, but further reducing the number of trials per day does not decrease the learning rate. The T800 and T400 groups show significant differences in slope compared to each other, the T200 and the T100 groups (t(25) >3.7, p≤.001). However, the T200 group did not show more daily improvement than the T100 group (t(25) = 0.6, ns). This further highlights that the T100 group is improving relatively faster than the other groups, showing as much improvement each day as the T200 group, who had double the training. These results suggest that, at least for this task, 100 trials are above the critical minimum number of trials required to initiate learning, and that there is benefit to having shorter training sessions.

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