New research published in Frontiers in Psychology by lab members Rahel Rabi and Dr. Minda explored the relationship between self regulatory behaviours and category learning. The study examined whether temporarily reducing participants’ executive functioning via a resource depletion manipulation would differentially impact RD and NRD category learning. Participants were either asked to write a story with no restrictions (the control condition), or without using two common letters (the ego depletion condition). Participants were then asked to learn either a set of RD categories or a set of NRD categories. Resource depleted participants performed more poorly than controls on the RD task, but did not differ from controls on the NRD task, suggesting that self regulatory resources are required for successful RD category learning. We argued that these results lend support to multiple systems theories (Like CoVIS) and also clarify the role of self-regulatory resources within this theory.
Ego depletion interferes with rule-defined category learning but not non-rule-defined category learning