This article provides a much‐needed review of the neural bases of implicit statistical learning. Batterink, Paller and Reber focus on the neural processes that underpin performance in experimental paradigms employed in implicit learning and statistical learning research. An important insight is that learning across all paradigms is supported by interactions between the declarative and nondeclarative memory systems of the brain. They conclude with a helpful discussion of future directions of research.
Unconscious processing of stimuli with emotional content can bias affective judgments. Is this subliminal affective priming merely a transient phenomenon manifested in fleeting perceptual changes, or are long-lasting effects also induced? To address this question, we investigated memory for surprise faces 24 h after they had been shown with 30-ms fearful, happy, or neutral faces. Surprise faces subliminally primed by happy faces were initially rated as more positive, and were later remembered better, than those primed by fearful or neutral faces. (...) Participants likely to have processed primes supraliminally did not respond differentially as a function of expression. These results converge with findings showing memory advantages with happy expressions, though here the expressions were displayed on the face of a different person, perceived subliminally, and not present at test. We conclude that behavioral biases induced by masked emotional expressions are not ephemeral, but rather can last at least 24 h. (shrink)
Pictures of normal brain activity during human thought can be worth a great deal. Electrophysiology and functional neuroimaging together allow both temporal and spatial dimensions of neurocognitive functions to be explored. Although these techniqueshave their limitations, the Cognitive Neuroscience approach is well-suited to pursuing questions about how words are perceived, understood, and remembered.
Priming and recollection are expressions of human memory mediated by different brain events. These brain events were monitored while people discriminated words from nonwords. Mean response latencies were shorter for words that appeared in an earlier study phase than for new words. This priming effect was reduced when the letters of words in study-phase presentations were presented individually in succession as opposed to together as complete words. Based on this outcome, visual word-form priming was linked to a brain potential recorded (...) from the scalp over the occipital lobe about 450 ms after word onset. This potential differed from another potential previously associated with recollection, suggesting that distinct operations associated with these two types of memory can be monitored at the precise time that they occur in the human brain. (shrink)
For a large proportion of our daily lives, spontaneously occurring thoughts tend to disengage our minds from goal-directed thinking. Previous studies showed that EEG features such as the P3 and alpha oscillations can predict mind-wandering to some extent, but only with accuracies of around 60%. A potential candidate for improving prediction accuracy is the Steady-State Visual Evoked Potential, which is used frequently in single-trial contexts such as brain-computer interfaces as a marker of the direction of attention. In this study, we (...) modified the sustained attention to response task that is usually employed to measure spontaneous thought to incorporate the SSVEP elicited by a 12.5-Hz flicker. We then examined whether the SSVEP could track and allow for the prediction of the stickiness and task-relatedness dimensions of spontaneous thought. Our results show that the SSVEP evoked by flickering words was able to distinguish between more and less sticky thinking but not between whether a participant was on- or off-task. This suggests that the SSVEP is able to track spontaneous thinking when it is strongly disengaged from the task but not off-task thought in general. Future research should determine the exact dimensions of spontaneous thought to which the SSVEP is most sensitive. (shrink)