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Effects of musicality and motivational orientation on auditory category learning: A test of a regulatory-fit hypothesis

By J. Devin Mcauley, Molly J. Henry, Alan Wedd, Timothy J. Pleskac, Joseph Cesario, J. Cesario and M. J. Henry


Abstract Two experiments investigated the effects of musicality and motivational orientation on auditory category learning. In both experiments, participants learned to classify tone stimuli that varied in frequency and duration according to an initially unknown disjunctive rule; feedback involved gaining points for correct responses (a gains reward structure) or losing points for incorrect responses (a losses reward structure). For Experiment 1, participants were told at the start that musicians typically outperform nonmusicians on the task, and then they were asked to identify themselves as either a “musician ” or a “nonmusician. ” For Experiment 2, participants were given either a promotion focus prime (a performance-based opportunity to gain entry into a raffle) or a prevention focus prime (a performance-based criterion that needed to be maintained to avoid losing an entry into a raffle) at the start of the experiment. Consistent with a regulatory-fit hypothesis, self-identified musicians and promotion-primed participants given a gains reward structure made more correct tone classifications and were more likely to discover the optimal disjunctive rule than were musicians and promotionprimed participants experiencing losses. Reward structure (gains vs. losses) had inconsistent effects on the performance of nonmusicians, and a weaker regulatory-fit effect was found for the prevention focus prime. Overall, the findings from this study demonstrate a regulatory-fit effect in the domain o

Year: 2011
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