Psicothema was founded in Asturias (northern Spain) in 1989, and is published jointly by the Psychology Faculty of the University of Oviedo and the Psychological Association of the Principality of Asturias (Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos del Principado de Asturias).
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Associative learning with and without perceptual awareness

José Luis Marcos Malmierca

Universidad de A Coruña

Background: The relationship between awareness and associative learning is a key controversial issue that remains to be elucidated. An experiment was designed to assess associative learning with and without perceptual awareness. Method: Participants received repeated trials of two compatible stimuli sequences (S1A → S2A and S1B → S2B), where S1 was a masked stimulus, and S2 an imperative stimulus for a reaction time (RT) task. After the acquisition phase, some probe trials of incompatible stimuli sequences (S1A → S2B and S1B → S2A) were inserted among the compatible sequence trials during two testing sessions. Subsequently, subjects were classified as perceptually aware or perceptually unaware by means of a forced-choice identification task that was administered at the beginning and end of the experiment. Results: The results showed perceptually unaware participants responded faster to compatible than to incompatible stimuli sequences. However, no priming effect was observed in aware participants. Conclusions: These results are discussed in terms of an S-R associative mechanism and provide strong evidence of unconscious associative learning.

Aprendizaje asociativo con conciencia y sin conciencia perceptiva. Antecedentes: la relación entre la conciencia y el aprendizaje es un importante problema aún no resuelto. A tal fin, fue diseñado un experimento para evaluar el aprendizaje asociativo con conciencia y sin conciencia perceptiva. Método: para ello, los participantes recibieron muchos ensayos repetidos de dos secuencias de estímulos compatibles (E1A → E2A y E1B → E2A), donde E1 era un estímulo enmascarado y E2 un estímulo imperativo para una tarea de tiempo de reacción. Durante dos sesiones de prueba fueron insertados algunos ensayos de secuencias de estímulos incompatibles (E1A → E2B y E1B → E2A) entre los ensayos de secuencias de estímulos compatibles. A continuación los participantes fueron clasificados como perceptivamente conscientes o inconscientes mediante una tarea de identificación de elección forzada, efectuada al principio y al final del experimento. Resultados: los resultados mostraron que los participantes perceptivamente inconscientes respondían más rápidamente ante las secuencias compatibles que ante las incompatibles. Sin embargo, no se observaron efectos de priming en los sujetos perceptivamente conscientes. Conclusiones: los resultados son discutidos en términos de un mecanismo asociativo E-R y constituyen una clara evidencia de aprendizaje asociativo inconsciente.


Impact factor 2022:  JCR WOS 2022:  FI = 3.6 (Q2);  JCI = 1.21 (Q1) / SCOPUS 2022:  SJR = 1.097;  CiteScore = 6.4 (Q1)