Incidental auditory category learning

Lori L. Holt, Yafit Gabay, Frederic Dick, Jason Zevin

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Little is known about how auditory categories are learned incidentally?that is, in the absence of overt category decisions or experimenter-provided feedback. This is an important gap, as learning in the natural environment does not arise from explicit feedback and there is evidence that the learning systems engaged by traditional tasks are distinct from those recruited by incidental category learning. We examined incidental auditory category learning with a novel paradigm, the Systematic Multimodal Associations Reaction Time (SMART) task, where participants rapidly detect and report the appearance of a visual target in one of four possible screen locations. Although the overt task is rapid visual detection, a brief sequence of sounds precedes each visual target. These sounds are drawn from one of four distinct sound categories that predict the location of the upcoming visual target. These many-to-one auditory-to-visuomotor correspondences support incidental auditory category learning. Participants incidentally learn categories of complex acoustic exemplars and generalize this learning to novel exemplars and tasks. Further, learning is facilitated when category exemplar variability is more tightly coupled to the visuomotor associations than when the same stimulus variability is experienced across trials. We relate these findings to theories of incidental phonetic category learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2386-2386
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Incidental auditory category learning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this