Flexibility and Stability of Habit Learning Depend on Temporal Signal Variation

Injae Hong, Min Shik Kim, Su Keun Jeong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The visual system can learn statistical regularities and form search habits that guide attention to a region where a target frequently appears. Although regularities in the real world can change over time, little is known about how such changes affect habit learning. Using a location probability learning task, we demonstrated that a constant target location probability resulted in a long-term habit-like attentional bias to the target-frequent location. However, when the target probability changed over time in any pattern, the same amount of learning induced only a short-term bias and disrupted the formation of long-term search habits. Moreover, although temporal changes in regularity during initial learning interfered with the acquisition of a search habit, they did not modulate the already consolidated bias. These results suggest that the stability and flexibility of habitual attention learning depend on when and how the statistical regularities in the environment change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan 24

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2019R1F1A1062269) and Korea Brain Research Institute (20-BR-01-10 & IBS-R001-D1-2020-b01) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT, and the Yonsei University Research Grant of 2020 (2020-22-0479). The experiments reported in this article was not formally preregistered. The datasets generated during and analyzed during the current study are available in the Open Science Framework (OSF) repository, https://osf.io/95uvf/?view_only=c2bb61ed7d0449e096dd377df5d9416f. Experiment and data analysis R codes generated during the current study are available from the authors on reasonable request. The authors declare no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship or the publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Psychological Association

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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