Implicit learning as an ability
Scott Barry Kaufman a,*,1, Colin G. DeYoung b, Jeremy R. Gray c, Luis Jiménez d, Jamie Brown e, Nicholas Mackintosh e
a Yale University, Department of Psychology, PO BOX 208205, New Haven, CT 06520 – 8205, USA b University of Minnesota, Department of Psychology, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455 – 0344, USA c Yale University, Department of Psychology, Yale University, Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, USA d Universidad de Santiago, Facultad de Psicología, Campus Universitario Sur, E15782, Santiago, Spain e University of Cambridge, Department of Experimental Psychology, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EB, United Kingdom
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history: Received 7 July 2009 Revised 9 February 2010 Accepted 19 May 2010
Keywords: Implicit learning, ability Individual differences Dual-process theory, intelligence, Intellect Personality, complex cognition, skill learning Language acquisition Impulsivity Openness to Experience
a b s t r a c t
The ability to automatically and implicitly detect complex and noisy regularities in the environment is a fundamental aspect of human cognition. Despite considerable interest in implicit processes, few researchers have conceptualized implicit learning as an ability with meaningful individual differences. Instead, various researchers (e.g., Reber, 1993; Stanovich, 2009) have suggested that individual differences in implicit learning are mini-mal relative to individual differences in explicit learning. In the current study of English 16–17 year old students, we investigated the association of individual differences in impli-cit learning with a variety of cognitive and personality variables. Consistent with prior research and theorizing, implicit learning, as measured by a probabilistic sequence learning task, was more weakly related to psychometric intelligence than was explicit associative learning, and was unrelated to working memory. Structural equation modeling revealed that implicit learning was independently related to two components of psychometric intel-ligence: verbal analogical reasoning and processing speed. Implicit learning was also inde-pendently related to academic performance on two foreign language exams (French, German). Further, implicit learning was significantly associated with aspects of self-reported personality, including intuition, Openness to Experience, and impulsivity. We dis-cuss the implications of implicit learning as an ability for dual-process theories of cogni-tion, intelligence, personality, skill learning, complex cognition, and language acquisition. � 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
The ability to automatically and implicitly detect com-plex and noisy regularities in our environment is a funda-mental aspect of human cognition. Much of this learning takes place on a daily basis without our intent or conscious awareness, and plays a significant role in structuring our skills, perceptions, and behavior (Hassin, Uleman, & Bargh, 2005; Kihlstrom, 1987; Lewicki, Czyzewska, & Hoffman, 1987; Lewicki & Hill, 1987; Reber, 1967, 1993; Stadler & Frensch, 1997). This type of learning is often referred to as implicit learning (Reber, 1967, 1993; Stadler & Frensch, 1997) and is typically characterized by a set of automatic, associative, nonconscious, and unintentional learning pro-cesses, as distinguished from the conscious, deliberate, and reflective learning processes that are thought to be associ-ated with executive functioning and working memory (e.g., Barrett, Tugade, & Engle, 2004). Despite considerable interest in implicit processes, few researchers have conceptualized implicit learning as an
0010-0277/$ - see front matter � 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2010.05.011
* Corresponding author. Address: Department of Psychology, New York University, 6 Washington Place, Room 158, New York, NY 10003, USA. Tel.: +1 610 256 6144. E-mail address: email@example.com (S.B. Kaufman). 1 Present address: Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Studies, Free University of Brussels and the Department of Psychology, New York University, USA.
Cognition 116 (2010) 321–340
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