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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Related in: MedlinePlus

Comparison of single and multi-session training for learning, retention and transfer of learning.(A) Group mean thresholds for training. Solid lines are least squares logarithmic fits. Error bars were omitted for clarity as they overlapped at each point. Note that the pre-test (where groups were initially matched) is not included in this figure or in fitting the learning curves (B) Pre-, post- and retention tests at the trained frequency (1 kHz), adjusted for individual differences in pre-test performance at 1 kHz. (C) Pre-, post- and retention tests at the untrained frequency (4 kHz), adjusted for individual differences in pre-test performance at 4 kHz. Error bars in panels B and C show ±SEM.
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pone-0036929-g010: Comparison of single and multi-session training for learning, retention and transfer of learning.(A) Group mean thresholds for training. Solid lines are least squares logarithmic fits. Error bars were omitted for clarity as they overlapped at each point. Note that the pre-test (where groups were initially matched) is not included in this figure or in fitting the learning curves (B) Pre-, post- and retention tests at the trained frequency (1 kHz), adjusted for individual differences in pre-test performance at 1 kHz. (C) Pre-, post- and retention tests at the untrained frequency (4 kHz), adjusted for individual differences in pre-test performance at 4 kHz. Error bars in panels B and C show ±SEM.

Mentions: Group mean DLFs for the training blocks are shown in Figure 10A, with the tests at the trained frequency in Figure 10B. As expected, both groups showed significant learning between Day 1 and Day 2 (F(1,27) = 10.7, p = .003), with no difference between them. From Day 2 to Day 5, there was significant additional improvement (F(1,27) = 6.2, p = .019) but, surprisingly, no significant difference between the T800m group that actively trained during the intervening time and T800 s that did not (F(1,27) = 0.4, ns). Performance on Day 5 was maintained by both groups when tested one week and then four weeks later (retention: F(2,48) = 0.1, ns; group interaction: F(2,48) = 0.3, ns). The T800 s group continued to improve after cessation of training (from Day 2 to Day 33: F(1,13) = 17.9, p = .001), whereas the T800 m group did not (from Day 5 to Day 33: F(1,12) = 0.02, ns). This resulted in the equivalent performance observed on Day 33, suggesting that extended training may be needless since it ‘overrides’ improvements which would occur in its absence, and unlike shorter regimens, may not benefit further from latent learning once training has stopped.


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)

Comparison of single and multi-session training for learning, retention and transfer of learning.(A) Group mean thresholds for training. Solid lines are least squares logarithmic fits. Error bars were omitted for clarity as they overlapped at each point. Note that the pre-test (where groups were initially matched) is not included in this figure or in fitting the learning curves (B) Pre-, post- and retention tests at the trained frequency (1 kHz), adjusted for individual differences in pre-test performance at 1 kHz. (C) Pre-, post- and retention tests at the untrained frequency (4 kHz), adjusted for individual differences in pre-test performance at 4 kHz. Error bars in panels B and C show ±SEM.
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3351401&req=5

pone-0036929-g010: Comparison of single and multi-session training for learning, retention and transfer of learning.(A) Group mean thresholds for training. Solid lines are least squares logarithmic fits. Error bars were omitted for clarity as they overlapped at each point. Note that the pre-test (where groups were initially matched) is not included in this figure or in fitting the learning curves (B) Pre-, post- and retention tests at the trained frequency (1 kHz), adjusted for individual differences in pre-test performance at 1 kHz. (C) Pre-, post- and retention tests at the untrained frequency (4 kHz), adjusted for individual differences in pre-test performance at 4 kHz. Error bars in panels B and C show ±SEM.
Mentions: Group mean DLFs for the training blocks are shown in Figure 10A, with the tests at the trained frequency in Figure 10B. As expected, both groups showed significant learning between Day 1 and Day 2 (F(1,27) = 10.7, p = .003), with no difference between them. From Day 2 to Day 5, there was significant additional improvement (F(1,27) = 6.2, p = .019) but, surprisingly, no significant difference between the T800m group that actively trained during the intervening time and T800 s that did not (F(1,27) = 0.4, ns). Performance on Day 5 was maintained by both groups when tested one week and then four weeks later (retention: F(2,48) = 0.1, ns; group interaction: F(2,48) = 0.3, ns). The T800 s group continued to improve after cessation of training (from Day 2 to Day 33: F(1,13) = 17.9, p = .001), whereas the T800 m group did not (from Day 5 to Day 33: F(1,12) = 0.02, ns). This resulted in the equivalent performance observed on Day 33, suggesting that extended training may be needless since it ‘overrides’ improvements which would occur in its absence, and unlike shorter regimens, may not benefit further from latent learning once training has stopped.

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