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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dual Processes on Dual Dimensions: Associative and Propositionally-Mediated Discrimination and Peak Shift.


Dual-process accounts posit that human learning can occur as a consequence of both associative and propositional processes. This can be contrasted with single process accounts that suggest learning is entirely propositional. In this paper, we offer evidence for both associative and propositional processes using a within-subjects two alternative forced choice discrimination paradigm. Stimuli that varied concurrently along two dimensions were created and each participant’s awareness was directed toward one, facilitating rule induction (i.e., propositional processing) on that dimension. Performance on the other dimension was then used to assess associatively-based performance. We report results that are initially inconsistent with both single process and dual-process accounts of discrimination learning. However, we then show how an associative network, that represents stimuli integrally, can predict the performance shown by participants in the experiment, providing evidence for a dual-process account.

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