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Fast-TIPL occurs for salient images without a memorization requirement in men but not in women.

  • Author(s): Leclercq, Virginie
  • Seitz, Aaron R
  • et al.

Recent research of task-irrelevant perceptual learning (TIPL) demonstrates that stimuli that are consistently presented at relevant point in times (e.g. with task-targets or rewards) are learned, even in the absence of attention to these stimuli. However, different research paradigms have observed different results for how salient stimuli are learned; with some studies showing no learning, some studies showing positive learning and others showing negative learning effects. In this paper we focused on how the level of processing of stimuli impacts fast-TIPL. We conducted three different experiments in which the level of processing of the information paired with a target was manipulated. Our results indicated that fast-TIPL occurs when participants have to memorize the information presented with the target, but also when they just have to process this information for a secondary task without an explicit memorization of those stimuli. However, fast-TIPL does not occur when participants have to ignore the target-paired information. This observation is consistent with recent models of TIPL that suggest that attentional signals can either enhance or suppress learning depending on whether those stimuli are distracting or not to the subjects' objectives. Our results also revealed a robust gender effect in fast-TIPL, where male subjects consistently show fast-TIPL, whereas the observation of fast-TIPL is inconsistent in female subjects.

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