The notion of contextual locking: inaccessibility to previously learnt items when appearing in a different context

Perlman, A., Hoffman, Y., Tzelgov, J., Pothos, E. M. & Edwards, D. J. (2016). The notion of contextual locking: inaccessibility to previously learnt items when appearing in a different context. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69(3), pp. 410-431. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2015.1054846

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Abstract

We examined the effect of context on the learning of spatial coding in four experiments. Two partially overlapping sets of stimuli, which had the very same stimulus-response spatial coding, were presented in unique contexts. Results show contextual locking, i.e., response times to the very same item in a more common context (80%) wereas significantly shorter than in a less common context (20%). Contextual locking was obtained both when the context was more salient (Experiments 1 & 2) and less salient (Experiments 3 & 4). In addition, results were obtained even when contextualization seemed less necessary (Experiments 2 & 4). Binding of information to context is discussed in relation to chunking, transfer effects, and practical applications pertaining to professional training.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article to be published by Taylor & Francis in Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology which will be available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2015.1054846
Uncontrolled Keywords: Context, Memory, Implicit, Binding
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/11825

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