Training on one task (task A) can disrupt learning on a subsequently trained task (task B), illustrating anterograde learning interference. We asked whether the induction of anterograde learning interference depends on the learning stage that task A has reached when the training on task B begins. To do so, we drew on previous observations in perceptual learning in which completing all training on one task before beginning training on another task (blocked training) yielded markedly different learning outcomes than alternating training between the same two tasks for the same total number of trials (interleaved training). Those blocked versus interleaved contrasts suggest that there is a transition between two differentially vulnerable learning stages that is related to the number of consecutive training trials on each task, with interleaved training presumably tapping acquisition, and blocked training tapping consolidation. Here, we used the blocked versus interleaved paradigm in auditory perceptual learning in a case in which blocked training generated anterograde-but not its converse, retrograde-learning interference (A→B, not B←A). We report that anterograde learning interference of training on task A (interaural time difference discrimination) on learning on task B (interaural level difference discrimination) occurred with blocked training and diminished with interleaved training, with faster rates of interleaving leading to less interference. This pattern held for across-day, within-session, and offline learning. Thus, anterograde learning interference only occurred when the number of consecutive training trials on task A surpassed some critical value, consistent with other recent evidence that anterograde learning interference only arises when learning on task A has entered the consolidation stage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cognitive Neuroscience