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Nonconscious Goal Pursuit in Novel Environments: The Case of Implicit Learning

Baruch Eitam, Ran R. Hassin and Yaacov Schul
Psychological Science
Vol. 19, No. 3 (Mar., 2008), pp. 261-267
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40064921
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Nonconscious Goal Pursuit in Novel Environments: The Case of Implicit Learning
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Abstract

Is nonconscious goal pursuit useful in novel environments? The prevalent view of automaticity and control implies that an unconscious mode of goal pursuit can only reproduce formerly learned actions, and therefore that its usefulness in novel environments is very limited. Our results demonstrate that this conclusion is not always warranted, as nonconscious goal pursuit facilitated participants' learning of the structure of completely novel environments. Specifically, two experiments, using markedly different implicit-learning paradigms, demonstrated facilitation of implicit learning when the goal of achievement was primed. We propose that nonconscious goal pursuit can facilitate not only reproductive operations, but also productive ones, and that implicit learning is sensitive to the organism's nonconscious goals.

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