- Limits of ideomotor action-outcome acquisition
- Brain Research
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Ideomotor theory proposes that goal-directed action emerges from the implicit, incidental acquisition of bi-directional associations between actions and their outcomes. In line with this idea, a simple two-stage priming paradigm has provided evidence that presentation of outcomes primes previously associated actions. In the current study we compare the standard priming paradigm with two actions and two unique outcomes (Experiment 1) with two more complex, but otherwise identical versions (Experiment 2: two vs. four actions with four outcomes). Our results show stronger evidence of action-outcome learning in the simple compared to the more complex versions. We suggest that, when using the classic two-stage paradigm, action-outcome acquisition is limited to just a few action-outcome associations that can be concurrently learned—at least if learning is not supported by discriminative stimuli and outcomes are not salient or motivationally relevant.
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