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J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2008 May;34(3):524-32. doi: 10.1037/0278-7393.34.3.524.

Learning correct responses and errors in the Hebb repetition effect: two faces of the same coin.

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Ecole de Psychologie, Université Laval, Québec City, Québec, Canada.


In a serial recall task, the Hebb repetition effect occurs when recall performance improves for a sequence repeated throughout the experimental session. This phenomenon has been replicated many times. Nevertheless, such cumulative learning seldom leads to perfect recall of the whole sequence, and errors persist. Here the authors report evidence that there is another side to the Hebb repetition effect that involves learning errors produced in a repeated sequence. A learning measure based on past recalls (correct or incorrect) shows that the probability of a given response increases with the number of prior occurrences of that response. The pattern of results reveals another manifestation of the Hebb repetition effect and speaks to the nature of implicit learning.

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