The ontogeny of human learning in delay, long-delay, and trace eyeblink conditioning.
The ontogeny of associative learning in delay (750-ms conditional stimulus [CS], 650-ms interstimulus interval [ISI]), long-delay (1,350-ms CS, 1,250-ms ISI), and trace (750-ms CS, 500-ms trace interval, 1,250-ms ISI) eyeblink conditioning was examined in 5-month-old human infants and adults. Infants and adults showed different acquisition rates but reached equivalent asymptotes of conditional responses (CRs) in standard delay conditioning. In long-delay and trace conditions, infants exhibited less robust conditioning than adults and minimal ability to appropriately time CRs. During infancy, the ISI, rather than the conditioning procedure, predicted rate and effectiveness of CRs. These findings suggest that higher order cognitive abilities begin emerging early in development. Across ontogeny, however, there are changes in the limits and parameters that support associative learning.
Herbert, JS; Eckerman, CO; Stanton, ME
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