Perceive-Decide-Act, Perceive-Decide-Act: How Abstract Is Repetition-Related Decision Learning?

Benjamin Denkinger, Wilma Koutstaal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Recent encounters with a stimulus often facilitate or "prime" future responses to the same or similar stimuli. However, studies are inconclusive as to whether changing the response that is required attenuates priming only for identical stimuli, or also for categorically related items. In 2 object priming experiments, the authors show that priming was eliminated if the initial decision associated with a stimulus changed on a later trial. This disruption of priming extended to perceptually and conceptually similar object exemplars and was found even when the classification tasks were uncorrelated with one another, many other items had intervened, and after only 1 prior encounter with a given stimulus. These outcomes are consistent with the rapid and automatic binding of a stimulus with a response into an episodic "instance" or "event file" and demonstrate that repetition-related decision learning is not hyperspecific but generalizes to new stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)742-756
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • automaticity
  • priming
  • response learning
  • stimulus specificity
  • task switching


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