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Temporal and spatial contiguity are necessary for competition between events.

Herrera, E., Alcalá, J. A, Tazumi, T., Buckley, M. G, Prados, J. and Urcelay, G. P, 2022. Temporal and spatial contiguity are necessary for competition between events. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 48 (3), 321-347.

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Temporal and spatial contiguity are necessary for competition between events.pdf - Published Version
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DOI: 10.1037/xlm0001108


Over the last 50 years, cue competition phenomena have shaped theoretical developments in animal and human learning. However, recent failures to observe competition effects in standard conditioning procedures, as well as the lengthy and ongoing debate surrounding cue competition in the spatial learning literature, have cast doubts on the generality of these phenomena. In the present study, we manipulated temporal contiguity between simultaneously trained predictors and outcomes (Experiments 1-4), and spatial contiguity between landmarks and goals in spatial learning (Supplemental Experiments 1 and 2; Experiment 5). Across different parametric variations, we observed overshadowing when temporal and spatial contiguity were strong, but no overshadowing when contiguity was weak. Thus, across temporal and spatial domains, we observed that contiguity is necessary for competition to occur, and that competition between cues presented simultaneously during learning is absent when these cues were either spatially or temporally discontiguous from the outcome. Consequently, we advance a model in which the contiguity between events is accounted for and which explains these results and reconciles the previously contradictory findings observed in spatial learning. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This research was supported by a United Kingdom Economic and Social Research Council Grant (ES/R011494/2) awarded to Gonzalo P. Urcelay and José Prados. Parts of these findings were presented by José A. Alcalá at the Virtual Associative Learning Symposium at Gregynog (2020), and the Pavlovian Society’s virtual meeting (2020) and by Estibaliz Herrera at the virtual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association (2021). Estibaliz Herrera was supported by a Studentship from the College of Life Sciences, University of Leicester. We thank Manuel Liébana Rosas for programming the predictive learning task used in Experiments 1–4, and the research group HUM-642 of the University of Jaen for giving us the permission to use the task. The authors declare no financial interest associated with this research. Videos of the tasks used in these experiments can be found at The data reported in this article are available at
Uncontrolled Keywords:Animals; Association Learning; Cues; Humans; Spatial Learning
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:36886
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:27 Apr 2022 12:05
Last Modified:27 Apr 2022 12:05


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