Outcome predictability biases cued search

Griffiths, Oren and Erlinger, May and Beesley, Tom and Le Pelley, Mike E. (2018) Outcome predictability biases cued search. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 44 (8). pp. 1215-1223. ISSN 0278-7393

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Within the domain of associative learning, there is substantial evidence that people (and other animals) select amongst environmental cues on the basis of their reinforcement history. Specifically, people preferentially attend to, and learn about, cueing stimuli that have previously predicted events of consequence (a predictiveness bias). By contrast, relatively little is known about whether people prioritize some (to-be-predicted) outcome events over others on the basis of their past experience with those outcomes (a predictability bias). The present experiments assessed whether the prior predictability of a stimulus results in a learning bias in a contingency learning task, as such effects are not anticipated by formal models of associative learning. Previously unpredictable stimuli were less readily learned about than previously predictable stimuli. This pattern is unlikely to reflect the use of strategic search processes or blocking of learning by the context. Instead we argue that our findings are most consistent with the operation of a biased learning mechanism.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
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©American Psychological Association, 2018. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at: 10.1037/xlm0000529
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? experimental and cognitive psychology ??
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Deposited On:
17 Nov 2017 12:58
Last Modified:
31 Dec 2023 00:52