This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Use of Elemental and Configural Coding in Timing of Compound Stimuli




Wilhelmsen, Seth

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The timing of a compound stimulus could provide important information regarding elemental and configural processing. After training with either an elemental (in which the focus was on the individual features of a stimulus array) or a configural (in which the focus was on the entire array) strategy, participants were presented with two cues in compound, each of which individually predicted an outcome at different times. The pattern of responding across time was different for the group trained to use a configural strategy relative to both the group trained to use an elemental strategy and a control group. The elemental and control groups responded at the time appropriate for one of the cues in the compound. The configural group responded between the temporal expectations of the two cues. Thus, prior experience with either an elemental or a configural strategy influenced how participants responded to a compound. The relevance of this finding to the elemental/configural processing debate is discussed.