Esser, Sarah (2017). The Role of Unexpected Events in the Emergence of Explicit Knowledge in an Implicit Learning Situation. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.


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In an implicit learning task like the serial reaction time task, most people demonstrate implicit knowledge about the underlying regularity. Usually, a small group of persons can be found which notices this regularity and is also able to report it. Whether the acquired representation can be used in a flexible and diverse way crucially depends on conscious awareness of this knowledge. Therefore, it is of great importance to understand which mechanisms realize the transition from implicit to explicit knowledge. Research on this issue has led to two main theoretical streams. On the one hand, the most parsimonious account assumes that unconscious representations gain quality through practice and therefore gradually transform into explicit knowledge (single-system account; e.g. Cleeremans & Jiménez, 2002). On the other hand, there are more complex models which assume that implicit and explicit representations are supported by separable learning- and memory systems (multiple-systems account). One of these models is the Unexpected Event Hypothesis (Frensch et al., 2003). Within this model, it is proposed that implicit learning leads to behavioral changes which contradict the expectations of a person about their own behavior in the given situation. This violation of expectations triggers an attributional process which should bring expectation and experience back into coherence; a sudden insight into the underlying rule can be the result. The three studies presented here are aimed at testing the predictions of the Unexpected Event Hypothesis and contrast these with the more parsimonious predictions of a single system account. Therefore, in all three studies, different manipulations will induce unexpected events in an implicit learning situation. At the same time, all tasks are designed in a way to match the associative strength of the representations between the manipulations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
Translated title:
Die Rolle unerwarteter Ereignisse in der Entstehung expliziten Wissens in einer impliziten LernsituationUNSPECIFIED
Esser, Sarahsarah.esser@uni-koeln.deUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-78572
Subjects: Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:
implicit and explicit learning, unconscious and conscious processing, unexpected events, single-system and multiple-system accounts, feeling of fluency, action-effect learningEnglish
implizites und explizites lernen, unbewusste und bewusste Verarbeitung, unerwartete Ereignisse, single-system und multiple-system Annahmen, Gefühl von Flüssigkeit, Handlungs-Effekt LernenGerman
Faculty: Faculty of Human Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Human Sciences > Department Psychologie
Language: English
Date: 19 July 2017
Date of oral exam: 12 October 2017
NameAcademic Title
Haider, HildeProf. Dr.
Rose, MichaelPD Dr.
Refereed: Yes


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