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Consequences of mature cognitive control systems

Dr. Brandon Turner
The Ohio State University ~ Psychology
Vladimir Sloutsky
The Ohio State University ~ Psychology
Dr. Emily Weichart
The Ohio State University ~ Department of Psychology
Dr. Layla Unger
The Ohio State University ~ Department of Psychology
Robert Ralston
The Ohio State University

The choices we make in our everyday lives require us to (1) selectively attend to the contents of a stimulus, and (2) connect those contents to information in memory. When learning, these two mechanisms interact with one another in a dynamic, cyclical fashion over time. Here, we explore how these interactions can produce ``learning traps'' by comparing profiles of selective attention (through eye-tracking data) and choice between two groups known to have different memory capacities: adults and 4-5 year-old children. Although the data confirm that children are less susceptible to representation traps, we also show through computational modeling that the mechanisms that explain this difference are poorer working memory, and greater interest in learning about the dimensions of information themselves. It seems as though by elongating the maturation of selective attention and working memory, nature engineered a way for children to explore the world, helping them to avoid learning traps.



Category learning
selective attention
cognitive control
eye tracking

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Cite this as:

Turner, B., Sloutsky, V., Weichart, E. R., Unger, L., & Ralston, R. (2023, July). Consequences of mature cognitive control systems. Abstract published at MathPsych/ICCM/EMPG 2023. Via