Transfer of learning in choice reactions: Contributions of specific and general components of manual responses

Motonori Yamaguchi, Robert W. Proctor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Manifestations of learned skills and knowledge are known to be context-dependent. However, a study of perceptual-motor learning [Tagliabue, M., Zorzi, M., & Umiltà, C. (2002). Cross-modal re-mapping influences the Simon effect. Memory and Cognition, 30, 18–23] reported context-independent transfer of a learned stimulus–response (S–R) mapping to a task in which the mapping is no longer relevant. Although similar results were observed in subsequent studies, these studies also provided an indication that the transfer is context-dependent. The present study investigated the issue of context-dependence of the transfer of a learned S–R mapping. In experiment 1, groups of participants performed choice-reaction tasks with either the same or different response modes (keypresses or joystick movements) in the practice and transfer sessions. Smaller transfer effects were observed for those who switched response mode in the transfer session than for those who did not, indicating that transfer of the learned mapping is context-dependent. However, transfer also occurred for the former group, indicating that the transfer effect is dependent on both general and specific response components. In experiment 2, the same task conditions were examined, but with action effects consistent across the practice and transfer sessions, which were assumed to introduce a contextual feature that was common to the two sessions. The influence of action effects on transfer depended on the practiced response. The results are discussed in terms of feature overlap between the learning and test contexts, and an association network model of learning and response selection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalActa Psychologica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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