Feasibility of unconscious instrumental conditioning: a registered replication

Skora, Lina I, Livermore, James J A, Dienes, Zoltan, Seth, Anil K and Scott, Ryan B (2020) Feasibility of unconscious instrumental conditioning: a registered replication. Cortex. ISSN 0010-9452 (Accepted)

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The extent to which high-level, complex functions can proceed unconsciously has been a topic of considerable debate. While unconscious processing has been demonstrated for a range of low-level processes, from feature integration to simple forms of conditioning and learning, theoretical contributions suggest that increasing complexity requires conscious access. Here, we focus our attention on instrumental conditioning, which has been previously shown to proceed without stimulus awareness. Yet, instrumental conditioning also involves integrating information over a large temporal scale and distinct modalities in order to deploy selective action, constituting a process of substantial complexity. With this in mind, we revisit the question of feasibility of instrumental conditioning in the unconscious domain. Firstly, we address the theoretical and practical considerations relevant to unconscious learning in general. Secondly, we aim to replicate the first study to show instrumental conditioning in the absence of stimulus awareness (Pessiglione et al., 2008), following the original design and supplementing the original crucial analyses with a Bayesian approach (Experiment 1). Should the replication be successful, we will attempt to replicate the effect yet again with improved methods to address the methodological issues related to sensitivity and immediacy (Experiment 2).

Item Type: Article
Keywords: unconscious processing, unconscious learning, instrumental conditioning, consciousness
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
School of Psychology > Psychology
Research Centres and Groups: Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0311 Consciousness. Cognition
Depositing User: Marianne Cole
Date Deposited: 07 May 2020 07:24
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2022 08:47
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/91185

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