Over-selectivity as a learned response

Phil Reed*, Neysa Petrina, Louise McHugh

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    An experiment investigated the effects of different levels of task complexity in pre-training on over-selectivity in a subsequent match-to-sample (MTS) task. Twenty human participants were divided into two groups; exposed either to a 3-element, or a 9-element, compound stimulus as a sample during MTS training. After the completion of training, both groups were tested on an MTS task using a novel 6-element compound sample stimulus. The level of over-selectivity at test was influenced by the training. Specifically, the group exposed to a more complex (9-element) training task displayed higher levels of over-selectivity at test than the group with a less complex training task. The results suggest that over-selectivity may be a learned response to complex situations, and are discussed with respect to theories and treatments for over-selectivity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)201-206
    Number of pages6
    JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


    • Humans
    • Match-to-sample
    • Over-selectivity


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