How should we present information to optimize learning? To facilitate category learning, in what order should the category exemplars be viewed? Most research to date has found that interleaved presentation, which alternates the presentation of category exemplars (eg. ABC – BCA – CAB), produces better inductive category learning when compared to blocked presentation, which groups the presentation of category exemplars (eg. AAA – BBB – CCC). One hypothesis is that interleaving enhances discriminative contrast between different categories, by drawing attention to critical distinguishing features. I describe two experiments that support this account within an attentional bias framework: whether category learning benefits from interleaved presentation depends on task demands and/or category structure.
Xinyi is a final year masters student supervised by Dr Trevor Penney, investigating learning and memory processes. She will be starting my PhD in the fall.