Multiple stages of learning in perceptual categorization

evidence and neurocomputational theory

George Cantwell, Matthew J. Crossley, F. Gregory Ashby*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Virtually all current theories of category learning assume that humans learn new categories by gradually forming associations directly between stimuli and responses. In information-integration category-learning tasks, this purported process is thought to depend on procedural learning implemented via dopamine-dependent cortical-striatal synaptic plasticity. This article proposes a new, neurobiologically detailed model of procedural category learning that, unlike previous models, does not assume associations are made directly from stimulus to response. Rather, the traditional stimulus-response (S-R) models are replaced with a two-stage learning process. Multiple streams of evidence (behavioral, as well as anatomical and fMRI) are used as inspiration for the new model, which synthesizes evidence of multiple distinct cortical-striatal loops into a neurocomputational theory. An experiment is reported to test a priori predictions of the new model that: (1) recovery from a full reversal should be easier than learning new categories equated for difficulty, and (2) reversal learning in procedural tasks is mediated within the striatum via dopamine-dependent synaptic plasticity. The results confirm the predictions of the new two-stage model and are incompatible with existing S-R models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1598-1613
Number of pages16
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Volume22
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • categorization
  • procedural learning
  • striatum

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