There are biases in perceptual matching between shapes and labels referring to familiar others, compared with when the labels refer to unfamiliar people. We assessed whether these biases could be affected by differential feedback (using the differential outcomes procedure [DOP]) compared with when feedback is provided using a nondifferential outcomes procedure (NOP). Participants formed associations between simple geometric shapes and labels referring to people the participant did or did not know (self, best friend, other). Subsequently, the task was to match a label to one of two shapes shown on a trial. When feedback for correct responses was given following the NOP condition, matches were faster to known people (self and friend) compared with those to an unknown person (stranger). However, this advantage for known personal relations was eliminated when participants were given feedback for correct responses following the DOP condition. The data are consistent with prior work showing that the DOP can facilitate the learning of taxing associations (for the stranger stimuli relative to the familiar self and friend stimuli). In addition, the results suggest that the facilitated perceptual matching for stimuli associated to individuals known personally may reflect better individuation of the association between the shape stimulus and the label, a process enhanced by using a DOP for associations with unfamiliar people.
Bibliographical noteAcknowledgments This work was supported by grants from the Economic and Social Research Council to JS and GWH, from the European Research Council to GWH, from the National Science Foundation China to JS, and from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity to AFE (PSI2012-39228) and LJF (PSI2014-53427-P) and Leverhulme Trust to LJF.
- Differential outcomes procedure
- Associative learning