Helena Matute

Helena Matute
University of Deusto | DEUSTO · Faculty of Psychology and Education

PhD

About

124
Publications
33,763
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2,991
Citations
Citations since 2016
29 Research Items
1147 Citations
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2016201720182019202020212022050100150200

Publications

Publications (124)
Article
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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is currently present in areas that were, until recently, reserved for humans, such as, for instance, art. However, to the best of our knowledge, there is not much empirical evidence on how people perceive the skills of AI in these domains. In Experiment 1, participants were exposed to AI-generated audiovisual artwork an...
Article
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Numerous field experiments based on the correspondence testing procedure have documented that gender bias influences personnel selection processes. Nowadays, algorithms and job platforms are used for personnel selection processes because of their supposed neutrality, efficiency, and costs savings. However, previous research has shown that algorithm...
Article
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Previous research proposed that cognitive biases contribute to produce and maintain the symptoms exhibited by deluded patients. Specifically, the tendency to jump to conclusions (i.e., to stop collecting evidence soon before making a decision) has been claimed to contribute to delusion formation. Additionally, deluded patients show an abnormal unde...
Article
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The use of pictures as experimental stimuli is a frequent practice in psychological and educational research. In addition, picture-naming task allows the study of different cognitive processes such as perception, attention, memory and language. Line drawings have been widely used in research to date but it has begun to be highlighted the need for m...
Article
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Patients' beliefs about the effectiveness of their treatments are key to the success of any intervention. However, since these beliefs are usually formed by sequentially accumulating evidence in the form of the covariation between the treatment use and the symptoms, it is not always easy to detect when a treatment is actually working. In Experiment...
Article
Background The internet is a relevant source of health-related information. The huge amount of information available on the internet forces users to engage in an active process of information selection. Previous research conducted in the field of experimental psychology showed that information selection itself may promote the development of erroneo...
Article
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Judgments of a treatment's effectiveness are usually biased by the probability with which the outcome (e.g., symptom relief) appears: even when the treatment is completely ineffective (i.e., there is a null contingency between cause and outcome), judgments tend to be higher when outcomes appear with high probability. In this research, we present am...
Article
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Temporal binding occurs when an action and an outcome that follows it after a short period of time are judged as occurring closer to each other in time than they actually are. This effect has often been studied using Libet’s clock methodology. Garaizar et al. (2016) presented Labclock Web, a free HTML5 open source software that allows researchers t...
Article
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Rationale Self-limited diseases resolve spontaneously without treatment or intervention. From the patient's viewpoint, this means experiencing an improvement of the symptoms with increasing probability over time. Previous studies suggest that the observation of this pattern could foster illusory beliefs of effectiveness, even if the treatment is co...
Preprint
BACKGROUND The internet is a relevant source of health-related information. The huge amount of information available on the internet forces users to engage in an active process of information selection. Previous research conducted in the field of experimental psychology showed that information selection itself may promote the development of erroneo...
Article
Full-text available
Digital photography has facilitated the use of more ecological stimuli than line drawings as experimental stimuli. However, there is lack of evidence regarding the effect of the picture format on children’s naming agreement. The present work investigated whether the format of presentation of the pictures (line drawing or photograph) affects naming...
Article
Many experiments have shown that humans and other animals can detect contingency between events accurately. This learning is used to make predictions and to infer causal relationships, both of which are critical for survival. Under certain conditions, however, people tend to overestimate a null contingency. We argue that a successful theory of cont...
Article
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Previous research revealed that people’s judgments of causality between a target cause and an outcome in null contingency settings can be biased by various factors, leading to causal illusions (i.e., incorrectly reporting a causal relationship where there is none). In two experiments, we examined whether this causal illusion is sensitive to prior e...
Data
Supplementary analyses. Bayesian update of the base-rate beliefs. We use simulations of the beta distribution to model the update of base-rate knowledge, given the information from the pretraining and training phases. (PDF)
Article
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The causal illusion is a cognitive bias that results in the perception of causality where there is no supporting evidence. We show that people selectively exhibit the bias, especially in those situations where it favors their current worldview as revealed by their political orientation. In our two experiments (one conducted in Spain and one conduct...
Article
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The purpose of this research is to investigate the impact of a foreign language on the causality bias (i.e., the illusion that two events are causally related when they are not). We predict that using a foreign language could reduce the illusions of causality. A total of 36 native English speakers participated in Experiment 1, 80 native Spanish spe...
Article
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Cognitive biases such as causal illusions have been related to paranormal and pseudoscientific beliefs and, thus, pose a real threat to the development of adequate critical thinking abilities. We aimed to reduce causal illusions in undergraduates by means of an educational intervention combining training-in-bias and training-in-rules techniques. Fi...
Chapter
In the last decades, cognitive Psychology has provided researchers with a powerful background and the rigor of experimental methods to better understand why so many people believe in pseudoscience, paranormal phenomena and superstitions. According to recent evidence, those irrational beliefs could be the unintended result of how the mind evolved to...
Article
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Research shows that people infer the time of their actions and decisions from their consequences. We asked how people know how much time to subtract from consequences in order to infer their actions and decisions. They could either subtract a fixed, default, time from consequences, or learn from experience how much time to subtract in each situatio...
Article
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Causal illusions occur when people perceive a causal relation between two events that are actually unrelated. One factor that has been shown to promote these mistaken beliefs is the outcome probability. Thus, people tend to overestimate the strength of a causal relation when the potential consequence (i.e. the outcome) occurs with a high probabilit...
Data
Additional instructions and pictures of Experiment 1. (DOCX)
Data
Additional instructions and pictures of Experiment 2. (DOCX)
Article
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Decades of research in extinction and interference show that contexts can play a critical role at disambiguating the meaning of cues that have been paired with different outcomes at different times. For instance, if a cue x is followed by outcome 1 in the first phase of an experiment and by outcome 2 in a second phase, responses to cue x tend to be...
Article
Phishing is a form of electronic fraud in which attackers attempt to steal sensitive information by posing as a legitimate entity. To maintain the attack unnoticed, phishers typically use fake sites that accurately mimic real ones. However, there are usually subtle visual discrepancies between these spoof sites and their legitimate counterparts tha...
Article
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Libet’s clock is a well-known procedure in experiments in psychology and neuroscience. Examples of its use include experiments exploring the subjective sense of agency, action-effect binding, and subjective timing of conscious decisions and perceptions. However, the technical details of the apparatus used to conduct these types of experiments are c...
Article
Decades of research in causal and contingency learning show that people’s estimations of the degree of contingency between two events are easily biased by the relative probabilities of those two events. If two events co-occur frequently, then people tend to overestimate the strength of the contingency between them. Traditionally, these biases have...
Article
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Perceived control in contingency learning is linked to psychological wellbeing with low levels of perceived control thought to be a cause or consequence of depression and high levels of control considered to be the hallmark of mental healthiness. However, it is not clear whether this is a universal phenomenon or whether the value that people ascrib...
Article
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Illusions of causality occur when people develop the belief that there is a causal connection between two events that are actually unrelated. Such illusions have been proposed to underlie pseudoscience and superstitious thinking, sometimes leading to disastrous consequences in relation to critical life areas, such as health, finances, and wellbeing...
Article
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In the reasoning literature, paranormal beliefs have been proposed to be linked to two related phenomena: a biased perception of causality and a biased information-sampling strategy (believers tend to test fewer hypotheses and prefer confirmatory information). In parallel, recent contingency learning studies showed that, when two unrelated events c...
Article
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It is generally assumed that the way people assess the relationship between a cause and an outcome is closely related to the actual evidence existing about the co-occurrence of these events. However, people’s estimations are often biased, and this usually translates into illusions of causality. Some have suggested that such illusions could be the r...
Article
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Cognitive illusions are often associated with mental health and well-being. However, they are not without risk. This research shows they can interfere with the acquisition of evidence-based knowledge. During the first phase of the experiment, one group of participants was induced to develop a strong illusion that a placebo medicine was effective to...
Article
Most previous research on illusions of control focused on generative scenarios, in which participants' actions aim to produce a desired outcome. By contrast, the illusions that may appear in preventive scenarios, in which actions aim to prevent an undesired outcome before it occurs, are less known. In this experiment, we studied two variables that...
Article
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The illusion of control consists of overestimating the influence that our behavior exerts over uncontrollable outcomes. Available evidence suggests that an important factor in development of this illusion is the personal involvement of participants who are trying to obtain the outcome. The dominant view assumes that this is due to social motivation...
Article
The illusion of control is the belief that our behavior produces an effect that is actually independent from it. This illusion is often at the core of superstitious and pseudoscientific thinking. Although recent research has proposed several evidence-based strategies that can be used to reduce the illusion, the majority of these experiments have in...
Article
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A stimulus is a reliable signal of an outcome when the probability that the outcome occurs in its presence is different from in its absence. Reliable signals of important outcomes are responsible for triggering critical anticipatory or prepara-tory behavior, which is any form of behavior that prepares the organism to receive a biologically signific...
Article
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Some alternative medicines enjoy widespread use, and in certain situations are preferred over conventional, validated treatments in spite of the fact that they fail to prove effective when tested scientifically. We propose that the causal illusion, a basic cognitive bias, underlies the belief in the effectiveness of bogus treatments. Therefore, the...
Article
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Because of the features provided by an abundance of specialized experimental software packages, personal computers have become prominent and powerful tools in cognitive research. Most of these programs have mechanisms to control the precision and accuracy with which visual stimuli are presented as well as the response times. However, external facto...
Article
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Researchers have warned that causal illusions are at the root of many superstitious beliefs and fuel many people's faith in pseudoscience, thus generating significant suffering in modern society. Therefore, it is critical that we understand the mechanisms by which these illusions develop and persist. A vast amount of research in psychology has inve...
Article
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An illusion of control is said to occur when a person believes that he or she controls an outcome that is uncontrollable. Pathological gambling has often been related to an illusion of control, but the assessment of the illusion has generally used introspective methods in domain-specific (i.e., gambling) situations. The illusion of control of patho...
Article
Misperceptions of causality are at the heart of superstitious thinking and pseudoscience. The main goal of the present work is to show how our knowledge about the mechanisms involved in causal induction can be used to hinder the development of these beliefs. Available evidence shows that people sometimes perceive causal relationships that do no...
Article
Current associative theories of contingency learning assume that inhibitory learning plays a part in the interference between outcomes. However, it is unclear whether this inhibitory learning results in the inhibition of the outcome representation or whether it simply counteracts previous excitatory learning so that the outcome representation is ne...
Article
Overestimations of null contingencies between a cue, C, and an outcome, O, are widely reported effects that can arise for multiple reasons. For instance, a high probability of the cue, P(C), and a high probability of the outcome, P(O), are conditions that promote such overestimations. In two experiments, participants were asked to judge the conting...
Article
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Several classic studies have concluded that the accuracy of identifying uncontrollable situations depends heavily on depressive mood. Nondepressed participants tend to exhibit an optimistic illusion of control, whereas depressed participants tend to better detect a lack of control. Recently, we suggested that the different activity levels (measured...
Article
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Miller and Matute (1996) showed that blocking is attenuated when the blocked conditioned stimulus (CS) is “biologically significant” (i.e., when the CS has the potential to elicit vigorous responding of any kind). To the extent that blocking is representative of cue competition, this finding suggests that biological significance protects CSs agains...
Chapter
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As a consequence of the joint and rapid evolution of the Internet and the social and behavioral sciences during the last two decades, the Internet is becoming one of the best possible psychological laboratories and is being used by scientists from all over the world in more and more productive and interesting ways each day. This chapter uses exampl...
Chapter
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Causal learning is the process by which people and animals gradually learn to predict the most probable effect for a given cause and to attribute the most probable cause for the events in their environment. Learning causal relationships between the events in our environment and between our own behavior and those events is critical for survival. Fro...
Article
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Backward blocking (BB) and interference between cues (IbC) are cue competition effects produced by very similar manipulations. In a standard BB design both effects might occur simultaneously, which implies a potential problem to study BB. In the present study with humans, the magnitude of both effects was compared using a non causal scenario and a...
Article
Pseudoscience, superstitions, and quackery are serious problems that threaten public health and in which many variables are involved. Psychology, however, has much to say about them, as it is the illusory perceptions of causality of so many people that needs to be understood. The proposal we put forward is that these illusions arise from the normal...
Article
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People can create temporal contexts, or episodes, and stimuli that belong to the same context can later be used to retrieve the memory of other events that occurred at the same time. This can occur in the absence of direct contingency and contiguity between the events, which poses a challenge to associative theories of learning and memory. Because...
Article
Most demonstrations of the validity of Internet-based research methods are based on replications of well-known experimental phenomena on the Internet. However, in order to test whether the lack of control over the experimental conditions usually found in Internet studies has an effect on the quality of data, it would be more interesting to show tha...
Article
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It is well known that certain variables can bias judgements about the perceived contingency between an action and an outcome, making them depart from the normative predictions. For instance, previous studies have proven that the activity level or probability of responding, P(R), is a crucial variable that can affect these judgements in objectively...
Article
Many theories of contingency learning assume (either explicitly or implicitly) that predicting whether an outcome will occur should be easier than making a causal judgment. Previous research suggests that outcome predictions would depart from normative standards less often than causal judgments, which is consistent with the idea that the latter are...
Article
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After presenting two cues, A and B, together, later pairings of one of the cues alone with an outcome can generate changes in the associative value of the absent cue. These changes can be in the same direction as the present cue (i.e., positive mediation) or in the opposite direction to the present cue (i.e., negative mediation). We found both medi...
Article
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Although normatively irrelevant to the relationship between a cue and an outcome, outcome density (i.e. its base-rate probability) affects people's estimation of causality. By what process causality is incorrectly estimated is of importance to an integrative theory of causal learning. A potential explanation may be that this happens because outcome...
Article
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It is generally assumed that the function of contingency learning is to predict the occurrence of important events in order to prepare for them. This assumption, however, has scarcely been tested. Moreover, the little evidence that is available suggests just the opposite result. People do not use contingency to prepare for outcomes, nor to predict...
Article
Recent research suggests that cue competition effects in human contingency learning, such as blocking, are due to higher-order cognitive processes. Moreover, some experimental reports suggest that the effect opposite to blocking, augmentation, could occur in experimental preparations that preclude the intervention of reasoning mechanisms. In the pr...
Article
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Depressive realism consists of the lower personal control over uncontrollable events perceived by depressed as compared to nondepressed individuals. In this article, we propose that the realism of depressed individuals is caused not by an increased accuracy in perception, but by their more comprehensive exposure to the actual environmental continge...
Article
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Proust's madeleine illustrates the automatic nature of associative learning. Although we agree with Mitchell et al. that no compelling scientific proof for this effect has yet been reported in humans, evolutionary constraints suggest that it should not be discarded: There is no reason by which natural selection should favor individuals who lose a f...
Article
Some published reports have emphasized the similarities between Internet and laboratory research on associative learning processes. However, few of them, if any, studied systematic divergences between both types of research methodologies. In the present experiment, we investigated these divergences using an experimental preparation for the study of...
Article
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Retroactive interference between cues trained apart was long ago studied in the psychology of memory, within the paired associate tradition. Current theories of learning, however, predict that interference between cues should not occur if they are trained elementally. Here we review the available evidence on retroactive interference between cues tr...
Article
Retroactive interference between cues trained apart was long ago studied in the Psychology of Memory, within the paired associate tradition. Current theories of learning, however, predict that interference between cues should not occur if they are trained elementally. Here we review the available evidence on retroactive interference between cues tr...
Article
Retroactive interference between cues trainedapart was long ago studied in the psychology ofmemory, within the paired associate tradition. Currenttheories of learning, however, predict that interferencebetween cues should not occur if they are trained elementally.Here we review the available evidence onretroactive interference between cues trained...
Article
The present series of experiments explores the interaction between retroactive interference and cue competition in human contingency learning. The results of two experiments show that a cue that has been exposed to a cue competition treatment (overshadowing) loses part of its ability to retroactively interfere with responding to a different cue tha...
Article
Most theoretical accounts of backward blocking place heavy stress on the necessity of the target cue having been trained in compound with the competing cue to produce a decrement in responding. Yet, other evidence suggests that a similar reduction in responding to the target cue can be observed when the outcome is later paired with a novel cue neve...
Chapter
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Associative models, such as the Rescorla-Wagner model (Rescorla & Wagner, 1972), correctly predict how some experimental manipulations give rise to illusory correlations. However, they predict that outcome-density effects (and illusory correlations, in general) are a preasymptotic bias that vanishes as learning proceeds, and only predict positive i...
Article
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In this article we describe some of the experimental software we have developed for the study of associative human learning and memory. All these programs have the appearance of very simple video games. Some of them use the participants' behavioral responses to certain stimuli during the game as a dependent variable for measuring their learning of...
Article
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When people try to obtain a desired event and this outcome occurs independently of their behavior, they often think that they are controlling its occurrence. This is known as the illusion of control, and it is the basis for most superstitions and pseudosciences. However, most experiments demonstrating this effect had been conducted many years ago a...