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Type: Journal article
Title: Fluid abilities and rule learning: patterning and biconditional discriminations
Author: Baetu, I.
Burns, N.
Yu, E.
Baker, A.
Citation: Journal of Intelligence, 2018; 6(1):7-1-7-17
Publisher: MDPI
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 2079-3200
Statement of
Irina Baetu, Nicholas R. Burns, Elsa Yu and A. G. Baker
Abstract: Previous experience with discrimination problems that can only be solved by learning about stimulus configurations enhances performance on new configural discriminations. Some of these effects can be explained by a shift toward increased configural processing (learning about combinations of cues rather than about individual elements), or by a tendency to generalize a learned rule to a new training set. We investigated whether fluid abilities influence the extent that previous experience with configural discriminations improves performance on subsequent discriminations. In Experiments 1 and 2 we used patterning discriminations that could be solved by applying a simple rule, whereas in Experiment 3 we used biconditional discriminations that could not be solved using a rule. Fluid abilities predicted the improvement on the second training set in all experiments, including Experiment 3 in which rule-based generalization could not explain the improvement on the second discrimination. This supports the idea that fluid abilities contribute to performance by inducing a shift toward configural processing rather than rule-based generalization. However, fluid abilities also predicted performance on a rule-based transfer test in Experiment 2. Taken together, these results suggest that fluid abilities contribute to both a flexible shift toward configural processing and to rule-based generalization.
Keywords: associative learning; biconditional discrimination; configural processing; fluid abilities; positive and negative patterning; rule-based generalization
Description: Published: 27 February 2018
Rights: © 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
RMID: 0030085793
DOI: 10.3390/jintelligence6010007
Appears in Collections:Psychology publications

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