Reducing the saliency of intentional stimuli results in greater contextual-dependent performance
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Wright and Shea (1991) described intentional stimuli as explicitly identified information necessary to successfully perform a task, whereas incidental stimuli are not explicitly identified as crucial to task performance but have the potential to become associated with particular responses because of their selective presence in the training environment. Shea and Wright (1995), using a speeded-choice RT task, indicated that manipulating the strength of association between incidental information and the responses, by changing the discriminability of incidental stimuli while fixing the strength of the association between the intentional stimuli and each response, had a significant impact on task performance. The present experiment further examined the role played by incidental stimuli when the strength of association between the intentional stimuli and the associated responses was reduced, by minimising stimulus-response compatibility. It was assumed that this latter manipulation would have a similar impact as increasing the strength of incidental stimuli-response relationships. That is, the relative contribution of the incidental stimuli would increase, resulting in an increase in context-dependent behaviour during tests in which the intentional and incidental stimuli activated different responses. The results were in agreement with this prediction and consistent with a model for contextual-dependent performance proposed by Shea and Wright (1995) as well as with the outshining hypothesis forwarded by Smith (1988, 1994).
author list (cited authors)
Kimbrough, S. K., Wright, D. L., & Shea, C. H.