Hyperspecificity in visual implicit learning: Learning of spatial layout is contingent on item identity

Yuhong Jiang, Joo Hyun Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Humans conduct visual search faster when the same display is presented for a 2nd time, showing implicit learning of repeated displays. This study examines whether learning of a spatial layout transfers to other layouts that are occupied by items of new shapes or colors. The authors show that spatial context learning is sometimes contingent on item identity. For example, when the training session included some trials with black items and other trials with white items, learning of the spatial layout became specific to the trained color - no transfer was seen when items were in a new color during testing. However, when the training session included only trials in black (or white), learning transferred to displays with a new color. Similar results held when items changed shapes after training. The authors conclude that implicit visual learning is sensitive to trial context and that spatial context learning can be identity contingent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1439-1448
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Implicit learning
  • Spatial context learning
  • Visual attention
  • Visual search


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