The mechanics of implicit learning of contingencies: A commentary on Custers & Aarts' paper

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/Debate


In their paper: " Learning of Predictive Relations Between Events Depends on Attention, Not on Awareness" Custers & Aarts demonstrate that when one is first exposed to a clear predictive relationship - a consequent predictive relationship will be represented as a unidirectional association (" predictor" to " predicted" ) in the percievers' minds regardless of their awareness of that relationship. Furthermore, a conscious intention to learn the relationship leads to the formation of a bidirectional (non-predictive) association. While these findings may prove to be a significant step in understanding other forms of implicit learning such as implicit artificial grammar learning and implicit sequence learning and why they are affected by intentional learning; Custers & Aarts' postulation that " top-down" regulation is at work here is debatable as their experimental manipulation can be understood as " bottom-up" activation of implicit learning processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-381
Number of pages3
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Associative processes
  • Attention
  • Contingency learning
  • Dual systems
  • Implicit learning
  • Prediction
  • Selective attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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