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The relationship between skill learning and repetition priming

Theory, data, and modeling results are assembled in order to explore the degree to which two of forms of implicit memory, skill learning and repetition priming, can be understood as facets of a single memory mechanism. In Chapter One, the phenomena of priming and skill learning are first introduced, along with theories of those phenomena. Skill learning is learning that is general to a stimulus domain, while priming is learning that is specific to an item in a task. The notion of a relationship between skill learning and priming is introduced, and current theories are examined to determine their claims about the relationship between skill learning and priming. This relationship is underspecified by current theories of memory. In Chapter Two, previous studies relevant to the relationship between skill learning and priming are reviewed, and it is concluded that the existing data do not demonstrate any specific relationship between skill learning and priming. Specifically, the data do not compellingly demonstrate that skill learning and priming are independent. In Chapter Three, five experiments are described which examined the relationship between skill learning and priming in a systematic manner using a digit entering task, based on the analyses presented in Chapters One and Two. These experiments demonstrate variable relationships between skill learning and priming, and also explore several levels of learning in the task from item-specific to general learning. These results cast doubt on the degree to which the skill learning/priming distinction is helpful in understanding learning. In Chapter Four, the implications of various empirical relationships between skill learning and priming are examined using connectionist and instance modeling, the results of which demonstrate that empirical dissociations between skill learning and priming do not imply the existence of separate memory systems. Chapter Five then presents a discussion of a set of relevant issues related to the theory, data, and modeling results. As a whole this dissertation establishes that skill learning and priming for a given task can be explained by recourse to a single learning mechanism, as discussed in terms of the procedural/declarative memory framework
Thesis, Dissertation, English, 1995
University of Illinois, Urbana, IL., 1995
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign