Does the implicit outcomes expectancies shape learning and memory processes?

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  • 2019 Does the implicit outcomes expectancies

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Does the explicit or implicit knowledge about the consequences of our choices shape learning and memory processes? This seems to be the case according to previous studies demonstrating improvements in learning and retention of symbolic relations and in visuospatial recognition memory when each correct choice is reinforced with its own unique and explicit outcome (the differential outcomes procedure, DOP). In the present study, we aim to extend these findings by exploring the impact of the DOP under conditions of non-conscious processing. To test for this, both the outcomes (Experiment 1A) and the sample stimuli (Experiment 1B) were presented under subliminal (non-conscious) and supraliminal conditions in a delayed visual recognition memory task. Results from both experiments showed a better visual recognition memory when participants were trained with the DOP regardless the awareness of the outcomes or even of the stimuli used for training. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that the DOP can be effective under unconscious conditions. This finding is discussed in the light of the two-memory systems model developed by Savage and colleagues to explain the beneficial effects observed on learning and memory when differential outcomes are applied.


  • Implicit processes, Differential outcomes procedure, Visual recognition memory
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-187
Early online date13 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
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