Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Rule- versus instance-based learning in speech-like behavior: An evaluation of transfer and motor class effects

Meigh, Kimberly M. (2014) Rule- versus instance-based learning in speech-like behavior: An evaluation of transfer and motor class effects. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (4MB) | Preview


Two information-processing theories of motor control have been postulated for motor learning.
Rule-based learning theory predicts transfer when new, untrained stimuli or behaviors share the
same set of rules. Instance-based learning theory predicts transfer when new, untrained stimuli
are similar in a specific way to the trained stimuli. The purpose of this study was to provide
insight into the learning theory operating during nonword acquisition and transfer by evaluating
reaction times during an old-new judgment task. Nonword stimuli were constructed to bias
familiarity judgments by systematically varying two parameters associated with each theory:
phonetic similarity (instance-based) and syllable stress pattern (rule-based).
Twenty-four participants (18-35 years of age) with normal hearing and speech production
participated in a syllable stress training task and an old-new judgment task. During training,
participants articulated a series of nonword stimuli while producing a specific syllable stress pattern. Syllable stress accuracy was monitored by the examiner via perceptual judgments and
custom software evaluating acoustic intensity of the articulated stressed syllable. Accurate
articulation of nonwords was monitored with recognition probes throughout training. Participants met pre-established accuracy criteria for syllable stress and phonetic production of each
experimental nonword. Once criterion was met, participants were assumed to have a highlyaccurate
baseline memory representation of the trained items that was judged against a variety of
untrained transfer stimuli varying in phonetic similarity and syllable stress pattern. Following
training, an old-new judgment task was administered in which participants made familiarity
judgments upon hearing a trained or untrained nonword; reaction times were collected via a
response box.
Reaction time results indicated participants responded faster to untrained nonwords with
different phonemes than to untrained nonwords with similar phonemes. Syllable stress pattern
did not affect reaction time. These results are consistent with instance-based learning. However,
the direction of the similarity effect was in the opposite direction as originally predicted for this
theory, i.e., positive transfer occurred when stimuli were dissimilar to one another. Future studies
should evaluate what parameters need to be manipulated along a similarity index, and how the
variable of dissimilarity may affect overall transfer patterns.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Meigh, Kimberly
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee MemberVerdolini Abbott, Katherinekav25@pitt.eduKAV25
Committee MemberNokes-Malach, Timothynokes@pitt.eduNOKES
Committee MemberTompkins, Connietompkins@pitt.eduTOMPKINS
Committee ChairShaiman, Susanshaiman@pitt.eduSHAIMAN
Date: 10 September 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 14 July 2014
Approval Date: 10 September 2014
Submission Date: 22 July 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 271
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: speech, motor learning, memory, transfer
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2014 19:18
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:22


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item