Associative learning and derived attention in humans.

Michael E. Le Pelley, Tom Beesley, Oren Griffiths

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Attention describes the collection of cognitive mechanisms that act to preferentially allocate mental resources to the processing of certain aspects of sensory input. This chapter describes important advances that have been made in recent years in elucidating the nature and operation of derived attention in studies of human learning. A dysfunction of the relationship between learning and attention has been implicated in the development of psychotic symptoms that are a characteristic feature of schizophrenia. The chapter explains the new techniques for assessing derived attention, which potentially provide a more selective demonstration of an abnormal relationship between learning and the effective salience of stimuli in psychotic patients. The concept of derived attention, first introduced by William James over a century ago, describes how associative learning can produce changes in the effective salience of stimuli. The chapter discusses the influence of learning on the attentional processing of stimuli that predict outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Wiley Handbook on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Learning
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781118650813
ISBN (Print)978-1-118-65094-3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Associative learning
  • Cognitive mechanisms
  • Derived attention
  • Human learning
  • Predictive stimuli
  • Schizophrenia


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