The Hebb repetition effect as a laboratory analogue of language acquisition: Learning three lists at no cost.
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The Hebb repetition effect (i.e., the enhanced recall performance for a sequence of items that is repeated during a serial recall experiment) is considered an experimental analogue to language learning. However, although language learning occurs in a context in which multiple verbal sequences are repeated concurrently, the effect of increasing the number of repeated sequences in the Hebb repetition paradigm has received little attention, and previous studies have used tasks that depart considerably from the natural language learning experience. In the present study, we manipulated the number of repeated sequences in a Hebb repetition paradigm that is a close experimental analogue of language learning. Participants were asked to orally recall sequences of 7 nonsense syllables that were aurally presented. The paradigm included 1 or 3 sequences that were repeated every 4th trial. The results showed that participants could learn 3 sequences simultaneously and they could do so as easily as they would learn a single sequence. The results provide additional evidence to models relating the Hebb repetition effect to word-form learning. (PsycINFO Database Record
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