Through the application of finite mixture distribution models, we investigated the existence of distinct modes of behavior in learning a simple discrimination. The data were obtained in a repeated measures study in which subjects aged 6 to 10 years carried out a simple discrimination learning task. In contrast to distribution models of exclusively rational learners or exclusively incremental learners, a mixture distribution model of rational learners and slow learners was found to fit the data of all measurement occasions and all age groups. Hence, the finite mixture distribution analysis provides strong support for the existence of distinct modes of learning behavior. The results of a second experiment support this conclusion by crossvalidation of the models that fit the data of the first experiment. The effect of verbally labeling the values on the relevant stimulus dimension and the consistency of behavior over measurement occasions are related to the mixture model estimates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)