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Guest lecture by Prof. Sonja Kotz: Do single compared to social contexts lead to differential learning outcomes?

10.03.2023 | 10:00 - 12:00

Guest lecture by Prof. Sonja A. Kotz


Speaker: Prof. Sonja A. Kotz (Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dept. of Neuropsychology & Psychopharmacology, Maastricht University, The Netherlands & Department of Neuropsychology, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science, Germany)

Titel: Do single compared to social contexts lead to differential learning outcomes?


Feedback based learning is conceived as a basic and context dependent learning mechanism. It can take the form of (i) control, when knowledge is consolidated but also (ii) guiding the acquisition of new information. For example, social feedback is considered to be important in the learning of rules and categories in a first language, but there is much debate about the relevance of feedback (form, content, individual variation) in language learning. Given this controversy, we set out (i) to test feedback-based learning of phonotactic rules in pseudowords, and second (ii) to investigate social feedback when acquiring new meaning of pseudowords in adult learners. Behavioral and fMRI evidence indicates that feedback-based learning leads to increased inter-individual variability in the implicit learning of phonotactic rules. Resting state connectivity before and after instruction and after task execution further shows that task instruction, task execution as well as individual performance alter resting state connectivity after learning. Social feedback during the learning of new words influences task-relevant activity in brain areas involved in visuo-spatial attention and word learning. Importantly, the extent to which a social context influences word learning varies as a function of the sentence context characteristics (predictable, unpredictable) a new word was embedded in. In sum, different forms of feedback (abstract, social) differentially affect the learning of new rules and words in adult learners.