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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Incidental Learning and Explicit Knowledge

  • Author(s): Tran, Randy
  • Advisor(s): Pashler, Harold
  • et al.

In skill acquisition, use of predictive relationships are needed to perform optimally and are assumed to be acquired independently of awareness. In three chapters, I investigated how individuals exploit the predictive relationships to their advantage and address the following questions: 1) Does exploitation of predictive relationships occur when there is no explicit knowledge of the underlying structure? 2) Might some of the findings in implicit learning have very limited generalizability? 3) Lastly, does averaging across subject data mask what is learned by individuals? Altogether, my dissertation revealed people 1) strongly favored simple and verbalizable relationships, 2) used explicit knowledge of the predictive task-relevant features for optimal performance, 3) used very different strategies that were only revealed in post-experiment questioning.

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