Apr 5, 2020

Reward impacts visual statistical learning

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Su Hyoun ParkTimothy J Vickery


Humans automatically and unintentionally detect and remember regularities in the visual environment-a type of learning termed visual statistical learning (VSL). Many aspects of learning from reward resemble statistical learning in some respects, yet whether and how reward learning impacts VSL is largely unexamined. In two studies, we investigated the impact of reward on VSL and examined the neural basis of this interaction using fMRI. Subjects completed a risky choice task, in which they learned the values (high or low) of fractal images through a trial-and-error binary-choice task. Unbeknownst to subjects, we paired images so that some images always predicted other images on the following trial. This led to four types of pairings (High-High, High-Low, Low-High, and Low-Low). In a subsequent recognition task and reward memory task, we asked them to choose the more familiar of two pairs (a target and a foil) and to recall the value of images (high or low). We found better recognition when the first image of a pair was a high-value image, with High-High pairs showing the highest recognition rate. To investigate the neural basis of this effect, we measured brain responses to visual images that were associated with both varying lev...Continue Reading

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