Distinguishing the contributions of implicit and explicit processes to performance of the weather prediction task

Amanda L. Price, Elizabethtown College


Examinations of the cognitive neuroscience of category learning frequently rely on probabilistic classification-learning tasks - namely, the weather prediction task (WPT) - to study the neural mechanisms of implicit learning. Accumulating evidence suggests that the task also depends on explicit-learning processes. The present investigation manipulated the WPT to assess the specific contributions of implicit- and explicit-learning processes to performance, with a particular focus on how the contributions of these processes change as the task progresses. In Experiment 1, a manipulation designed to disrupt implicit-learning processes had no effect on classification accuracy or the distribution of individual response strategies. In Experiment 2, by contrast, a manipulation designed to disrupt explicit-learning processes substantially reduced classification accuracy and reduced the number of participants who relied on a correct response strategy. The present findings suggest that WPT learning is not an effective tool for investigating nondeclarative learning processes. © 2009 The Psychonomic Society, Inc.