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Neurocognitive mechanisms of statistical-sequential learning: what do event-related potentials tell us?

Daltrozzo J, Conway CM - Front Hum Neurosci (2014)

Bottom Line: The underlying neurocognitive mechanisms of SL and the associated cognitive representations are still not well understood as reflected by the heterogeneity of the reviewed cognitive models.The review is articulated around three descriptive dimensions in relation to SL: the level of abstractness of the representations learned through SL, the effect of the level of attention and consciousness on SL, and the developmental trajectory of SL across the life-span.We conclude with a new tentative model that takes into account these three dimensions and also point to several promising new lines of SL research.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Georgia State University Atlanta, GA, USA.

ABSTRACT
Statistical-sequential learning (SL) is the ability to process patterns of environmental stimuli, such as spoken language, music, or one's motor actions, that unfold in time. The underlying neurocognitive mechanisms of SL and the associated cognitive representations are still not well understood as reflected by the heterogeneity of the reviewed cognitive models. The purpose of this review is: (1) to provide a general overview of the primary models and theories of SL, (2) to describe the empirical research - with a focus on the event-related potential (ERP) literature - in support of these models while also highlighting the current limitations of this research, and (3) to present a set of new lines of ERP research to overcome these limitations. The review is articulated around three descriptive dimensions in relation to SL: the level of abstractness of the representations learned through SL, the effect of the level of attention and consciousness on SL, and the developmental trajectory of SL across the life-span. We conclude with a new tentative model that takes into account these three dimensions and also point to several promising new lines of SL research.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Modified oddball paradigm of Jost et al. (2011). The standard stimulus is a white circle on a dark background. The paradigm comprises several deviant stimuli belonging to two different categories: “predictor” and “target”. Participants are asked to press a button when the target is presented. There are three types of predictors (corresponding to the three experimental conditions): a “high probability” predictor which is followed 90% of the trials by the target, a “low probability” predictor, followed 20% of the trials by the target, and a “zero probability” predictor, which is never followed by the target. Participants are not told about these predictor-target variable statistical contingencies. SL is observed behaviorally when performance improves with higher statistical contingency. SL is observed neurophysiologically when the ERP to the predictors differ between the experimental conditions (e.g., a larger amplitude for the high probability predictor compared to the other two predictor types).
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Figure 6: Modified oddball paradigm of Jost et al. (2011). The standard stimulus is a white circle on a dark background. The paradigm comprises several deviant stimuli belonging to two different categories: “predictor” and “target”. Participants are asked to press a button when the target is presented. There are three types of predictors (corresponding to the three experimental conditions): a “high probability” predictor which is followed 90% of the trials by the target, a “low probability” predictor, followed 20% of the trials by the target, and a “zero probability” predictor, which is never followed by the target. Participants are not told about these predictor-target variable statistical contingencies. SL is observed behaviorally when performance improves with higher statistical contingency. SL is observed neurophysiologically when the ERP to the predictors differ between the experimental conditions (e.g., a larger amplitude for the high probability predictor compared to the other two predictor types).

Mentions: One final variation of the oddball design comes from Jost et al. (2011). This paradigm included sequences of visual stimuli (colored circles) containing a frequent stimulus and a set of “deviant” stimuli. These deviants belonged to two different categories: “predictors” and “targets” (Figure 6). The participant is asked to respond to target stimuli without being told that certain predictor stimuli predict the occurrence of the target with fixed contingent probabilities. That is, the occurrence of the predictor allows the participant to predict the target with varying probabilities. The assumption is that this design requires a kind of basic statistical learning of the contingent probabilities that links the predictors to the targets. Jost et al. (2011) reported a late positivity in response to the predictors between 300 and 600 ms post-predictor onset that increased as the contingent probability increased. This ERP effect was referred to as a P300-like component and interpreted as reflecting an index of SL. Similarly, Rose et al. (2001) reported an SL effect as reflected by an increased P300 to the first stimulus of a two-item sequence. According to these authors, since the task required a motor response to the second item, the ERP to the first item was also modulated by: (1) an increased lateralized readiness potential component (LRP, e.g., Hackley and Valle-Inclán, 2003), reflecting an increased motor preparation to the predictable second item (see also Eimer et al., 1996; Rüsseler et al., 2001), and (2) a decreased CNV, reflecting a reduced motor preparation to other alternative, non-predictable second items.


Neurocognitive mechanisms of statistical-sequential learning: what do event-related potentials tell us?

Daltrozzo J, Conway CM - Front Hum Neurosci (2014)

Modified oddball paradigm of Jost et al. (2011). The standard stimulus is a white circle on a dark background. The paradigm comprises several deviant stimuli belonging to two different categories: “predictor” and “target”. Participants are asked to press a button when the target is presented. There are three types of predictors (corresponding to the three experimental conditions): a “high probability” predictor which is followed 90% of the trials by the target, a “low probability” predictor, followed 20% of the trials by the target, and a “zero probability” predictor, which is never followed by the target. Participants are not told about these predictor-target variable statistical contingencies. SL is observed behaviorally when performance improves with higher statistical contingency. SL is observed neurophysiologically when the ERP to the predictors differ between the experimental conditions (e.g., a larger amplitude for the high probability predictor compared to the other two predictor types).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4061616&req=5

Figure 6: Modified oddball paradigm of Jost et al. (2011). The standard stimulus is a white circle on a dark background. The paradigm comprises several deviant stimuli belonging to two different categories: “predictor” and “target”. Participants are asked to press a button when the target is presented. There are three types of predictors (corresponding to the three experimental conditions): a “high probability” predictor which is followed 90% of the trials by the target, a “low probability” predictor, followed 20% of the trials by the target, and a “zero probability” predictor, which is never followed by the target. Participants are not told about these predictor-target variable statistical contingencies. SL is observed behaviorally when performance improves with higher statistical contingency. SL is observed neurophysiologically when the ERP to the predictors differ between the experimental conditions (e.g., a larger amplitude for the high probability predictor compared to the other two predictor types).
Mentions: One final variation of the oddball design comes from Jost et al. (2011). This paradigm included sequences of visual stimuli (colored circles) containing a frequent stimulus and a set of “deviant” stimuli. These deviants belonged to two different categories: “predictors” and “targets” (Figure 6). The participant is asked to respond to target stimuli without being told that certain predictor stimuli predict the occurrence of the target with fixed contingent probabilities. That is, the occurrence of the predictor allows the participant to predict the target with varying probabilities. The assumption is that this design requires a kind of basic statistical learning of the contingent probabilities that links the predictors to the targets. Jost et al. (2011) reported a late positivity in response to the predictors between 300 and 600 ms post-predictor onset that increased as the contingent probability increased. This ERP effect was referred to as a P300-like component and interpreted as reflecting an index of SL. Similarly, Rose et al. (2001) reported an SL effect as reflected by an increased P300 to the first stimulus of a two-item sequence. According to these authors, since the task required a motor response to the second item, the ERP to the first item was also modulated by: (1) an increased lateralized readiness potential component (LRP, e.g., Hackley and Valle-Inclán, 2003), reflecting an increased motor preparation to the predictable second item (see also Eimer et al., 1996; Rüsseler et al., 2001), and (2) a decreased CNV, reflecting a reduced motor preparation to other alternative, non-predictable second items.

Bottom Line: The underlying neurocognitive mechanisms of SL and the associated cognitive representations are still not well understood as reflected by the heterogeneity of the reviewed cognitive models.The review is articulated around three descriptive dimensions in relation to SL: the level of abstractness of the representations learned through SL, the effect of the level of attention and consciousness on SL, and the developmental trajectory of SL across the life-span.We conclude with a new tentative model that takes into account these three dimensions and also point to several promising new lines of SL research.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Georgia State University Atlanta, GA, USA.

ABSTRACT
Statistical-sequential learning (SL) is the ability to process patterns of environmental stimuli, such as spoken language, music, or one's motor actions, that unfold in time. The underlying neurocognitive mechanisms of SL and the associated cognitive representations are still not well understood as reflected by the heterogeneity of the reviewed cognitive models. The purpose of this review is: (1) to provide a general overview of the primary models and theories of SL, (2) to describe the empirical research - with a focus on the event-related potential (ERP) literature - in support of these models while also highlighting the current limitations of this research, and (3) to present a set of new lines of ERP research to overcome these limitations. The review is articulated around three descriptive dimensions in relation to SL: the level of abstractness of the representations learned through SL, the effect of the level of attention and consciousness on SL, and the developmental trajectory of SL across the life-span. We conclude with a new tentative model that takes into account these three dimensions and also point to several promising new lines of SL research.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus