That is doubted in a new paper:
Can we learn without being aware of what we’re learning? Many psychologists say that ‘unconscious’, or implicit, learning exists.
But in a new paper, London-based psychologists Vadillo, Konstantinidis, and Shanks call the evidence for this into question.
Essentially, this suggests that the reason why only 21.5% of the studies detected a significant recognition effect, is that the studies just didn’t have a large enough sample size to reliably detect it. Vadillo et al. show that the median sample size in these studies was 16, so the statistical power to detect an effect of dz = 0.31 with that sample size is just 21% – which, of course, is exactly the proportion that did detect one.
It seems therefore that people do have at least a degree of recognition of the stimuli in a contextual cueing experiment. Whether this means the learning is conscious as opposed to unconscious is not clear, but it does raise that possibility. More.
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