Term of Award
Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)
Document Type and Release Option
Thesis (open access)
Copyright Statement / License for Reuse
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Department of Psychology
Bradley R. Sturz
Committee Member 1
Kent D. Bodily
Committee Member 2
Previous studies have indicated both human and non-human animals come under control of a hidden spatial pattern when engaged in an open field search task, and rats appear to exhibit social learning in such tasks through the influence of a conspecific on their search behavior. Although human participants appear to perform similarly in both real-world and virtual environment versions of a spatial pattern search task, evidence from human participants for social learning in such a task remains lacking. The current experiments tested the influence of social learning (observational learning) on human performance in a spatial pattern learning task within a virtual environment. In Experiment 1, participants watched a video of a demonstrator performing a spatial pattern learning task using either a random search strategy (Random Observation Group) or an optimal search strategy (Optimal Observation Group). Experiment 2 tested if the obtained differences in Experiment 1 resulted from facilitation of learning in the Optimal Observation Group or inhibition of learning in the Random Observation Group by adding a third Control No Observation group. Collectively, results provide evidence for social (observational) learning by humans in a spatial pattern learning task and suggest facilitation of learning in the optimal observation group drove group differences in performance.
Bruster, Matthew, "Does Observational Learning Influence Spatial Pattern Learning?" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1837.
Research Data and Supplementary Material