Article

Illusion of Control: Detecting Response-Outcome Independence in Analytic but Not in Naturalistic Conditions

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Abstract

Experiments in which subjects are asked to analytically assess response-outcome relationships have frequently yielded accurate judgments of response-outcome independence, but more naturalistically set experiments in which subjects are instructed to obtain the outcome have frequently yielded illusions of control The present research tested the hypothesis that a differential probability of responding p(R), between these two traditions could be at the basis of these different results Subjects received response-independent outcomes and were instructed either to obtain the outcome (naturalistic condition) or to behave scientifically in order to find out how much control over the outcome was possible (analytic condition) Subjects in the naturalistic condition tended to respond at almost every opportunity and developed a strong illusion of control Subjects in the analytic condition maintained their p(R) at a point close to 5 and made accurate judgments of control The illusion of control observed in the naturalistic condition appears to be a collateral effect of a high tendency to respond in subjects who are trying to obtain an outcome, this tendency to respond prevents them from learning that the outcome would have occurred with the same probability if they had not responded

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... However, the requirement for careful experimental control means that the basic experimental findings have never been tested outside the laboratory. This raises key methodological concerns around external and ecological validity, of generalizability from one very specific control situation to the whole of life [17] and of the difference between behavior instructed in the laboratory and that occurring naturally in the realworld [18]. Such basic methodological critiques of perceived control research are well acknowledged [19] and have limited the potential for this area of research to result in interventions for applied settings, although laboratory based interventions have begun to be tested [20]. ...
... Up until now, the basic experimental findings of illusory control have never been rigorously tested outside the laboratory. This has raised important methodological and theoretical concerns, in particular around external and ecological validity, of generalizability from one very specific control situation to the whole of life [17] and of the difference between behavior instructed in the laboratory and that occurring naturally in the real-world [18]. Such basic methodological critiques of perceived control research are well acknowledged in relation to depression [19] but not really discussed in the general health literature in which the concept of control is so frequently utilized. ...
... It is important to consider whether the experimental procedure was a valid test of the contingencies that we planned for participants to experience. This is because it has been acknowledged that changes in participant behavior can actually affect the contingencies they are exposed to [18,36,24]. Our concern here was missed trials. ...
Article
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Background: Perceived control is strongly linked to healthy outcomes, mental healthiness, and psychological well-being. This is particularly important when people have little control over things that are happening to them. Perceived control studies have been performed extensively in laboratory settings and show that perceived control can be increased by experimental manipulations. Although these studies suggest that it may be possible to improve people's mental health by increasing their perceived control, there is very little evidence to date to suggest that perceived control can also be influenced in the real world. Objective: The first aim of this study was to test for evidence of a link between noncontrol situations and psychological well-being in the real world using a mobile phone app. The second and arguably more important aim of the study was to test whether a simple instructional intervention on the nature of alternative causes would enhance people's perceptions of their own control in these noncontrol situations. Methods: We implemented a behavioral action-outcome contingency judgment task using a mobile phone app. An opportunity sample of 106 healthy volunteers scoring low (n=56, no depression) or high (n=50, mild depression) on a depression scale participated. They were given no control over the occurrence of a low- or high-frequency stimulus that was embedded in everyday phone interactions during a typical day lasting 8 hours. The intervention involved instructions that either described a consistent alternative cause against which to assess their own control, or dynamic alternative causes of the outcome. Throughout the day, participants rated their own control over the stimulus using a quantitative judgment scale. Results: Participants with no evidence of depression overestimated their control, whereas those who were most depressed were more accurate in their control ratings. Instructions given to all participants about the nature of alternative causes significantly affected the pattern of perceived control ratings. Instructions describing discrete alternative causes enhanced perceived control for all participants, whereas dynamic alternative causes were linked to less perceived control. Conclusions: Perceptions of external causes are important to perceived control and can be used to enhance people's perceptions. Theoretically motivated interventions can be used to enhance perceived control using mobile phone apps. This is the first study to do so in a real-world setting.
... It is important to note that in experiments in which the behavior of the participant is the potential cause of the outcome (i.e., experiments on the illusion of control), one degree of freedom is left to the participant, who may act with more or less frequency (see, e.g., Hannah & Beneteau, 2009;Matute, 1996). Thus, because the probability with which the potential cause occurs is one of the critical variables in the development of the illusion, it follows that, in situations in which the participant is free to act frequently or rarely, then the participant might be biasing the actual contingency to which he or she is exposed. ...
... Thus, because the probability with which the potential cause occurs is one of the critical variables in the development of the illusion, it follows that, in situations in which the participant is free to act frequently or rarely, then the participant might be biasing the actual contingency to which he or she is exposed. Thus, the probability with which the participant acts can mediate many of these overestimation effects (Blanco et al., 2011;Matute, 1996;Yarritu et al., 2014). Indeed, it has been suggested that most of the experiments that have reported accurate detection of null contingencies, such as, for example, Shanks and Dickinson's (1987) and Wasserman's (1990) studies, included instructions that asked their participants to respond in no more than 50% of the trials, whereas experiments reporting overestimations of control omitted this instruction and participants generally tended to respond with a higher probability in their attempt to obtain the desired outcomes (Matute, 1996;Yarritu et al., 2014). ...
... Thus, the probability with which the participant acts can mediate many of these overestimation effects (Blanco et al., 2011;Matute, 1996;Yarritu et al., 2014). Indeed, it has been suggested that most of the experiments that have reported accurate detection of null contingencies, such as, for example, Shanks and Dickinson's (1987) and Wasserman's (1990) studies, included instructions that asked their participants to respond in no more than 50% of the trials, whereas experiments reporting overestimations of control omitted this instruction and participants generally tended to respond with a higher probability in their attempt to obtain the desired outcomes (Matute, 1996;Yarritu et al., 2014). ...
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 contingency learning should explain both results. The main purpose of the present review is to assess whether cue-outcome associations might provide the common underlying mechanism that would allow us to explain both accurate and biased contingency learning. In addition, we discuss whether associations can also account for causal learning. After providing a brief description on both accurate and biased contingency judgments, we elaborate on the main predictions of associative models and describe some supporting evidence. Then, we discuss a number of findings in the literature that, although conducted with a different purpose and in different areas of research, can also be regarded as supportive of the associative framework. Finally, we discuss some problems with the associative view and discuss some alternative proposals as well as some of the areas of current debate. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
... Based on prior work, we expected overestimations of control to be greatest in the win condition with the high reinforcement rate (Alloy & Abramson, 1979;Gillan et al., 2014). We also measured the number of space bar presses, as participants who respond more often tend to provide greater overestimations of control (Hannah & Beneteau, 2009;Matute, 1996). ...
... p = .045, consistent with previous studies (Hannah & Beneteau, 2009;Matute, 1996). ...
... This has been labelled the "outcome density effect" (Alloy & Abramson, 1979;Gillan et al., 2014). Participants with higher response rates also reported stronger overestimations of control, as observed previously (Hannah & Beneteau, 2009;Matute, 1996). On the Intentional Binding task, we observed a substantial compression in the subjective passage of time, whereby self-initiated actions were perceived later, and their operant outcomes were perceived earlier, than baseline judgments of actions and tones occurring alone. ...
Article
Illusory control refers to an effect in games of chance where features associated with skilful situations increase expectancies of success. Past work has operationalised illusory control in terms of subjective ratings or behaviour, with limited consideration of the relationship between these definitions, or the broader construct of agency. This study used a novel card-guessing task in 78 participants to investigate the relationship between subjective and behavioural illusory control. We compared trials in which participants (i) had no opportunity to exercise illusory control, (ii) could exercise illusory control for free, or (iii) could pay to exercise illusory control. Contingency Judgment and Intentional Binding tasks assessed explicit and implicit sense of agency, respectively. On the card-guessing task, confidence was higher when participants exerted control relative to the baseline condition. In a complementary model, participants were more likely to exercise control when their confidence was high, and this effect was accentuated in the pay condition relative to the free condition. Decisions to pay were positively correlated with control ratings on the Contingency Judgment task, but were not significantly related to Intentional Binding. These results establish an association between subjective and behavioural illusory control, and locate the construct within the cognitive literature on agency.
... Based on prior work, we expected overestimations of control to be greatest in the win condition with the high reinforcement rate (Alloy & Abramson, 1979;Gillan et al., 2014). We also measured the number of space bar presses, as participants who respond more often tend to provide greater overestimations of control (Hannah & Beneteau, 2009;Matute, 1996). ...
... p = .045, consistent with previous studies (Hannah & Beneteau, 2009;Matute, 1996). ...
... This has been labelled the "outcome density effect" (Alloy & Abramson, 1979;Gillan et al., 2014). Participants with higher response rates also reported stronger overestimations of control, as observed previously (Hannah & Beneteau, 2009;Matute, 1996). On the Intentional Binding task, we observed a substantial compression in the subjective passage of time, whereby self-initiated actions were perceived later, and their operant outcomes were perceived earlier, than baseline judgments of actions and tones occurring alone. ...
Article
Full-text available
Illusory control refers to an effect in games of chance where features associated with skilful situations increase expectancies of success. Past work has operationalized illusory control in terms of subjective ratings or behaviour, with limited consideration of the relationship between these definitions, or the broader construct of agency. This study used a novel card-guessing task in 78 participants to investigate the relationship between subjective and behavioural illusory control. We compared trials in which participants (a) had no opportunity to exercise illusory control, (b) could exercise illusory control for free, or (c) could pay to exercise illusory control. Contingency Judgment and Intentional Binding tasks assessed explicit and implicit sense of agency, respectively. On the card-guessing task, confidence was higher when participants exerted control than in the baseline condition. In a complementary model, participants were more likely to exercise control when their confidence was high, and this effect was accentuated in the pay condition relative to the free condition. Decisions to pay were positively correlated with control ratings on the Contingency Judgment task, but were not significantly related to Intentional Binding. These results establish an association between subjective and behavioural illusory control and locate the construct within the cognitive literature on agency.
... Related to experimental procedures and theoretical background, illusion of control is usually treated as a matter of judgment. People are asked to estimate the control they feel they have after exposure to a noncontingent task (Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo, 2011;Fast, Gruenfeld, Sivanathan, & Galinsky, 2009;Matute, 1996). Superstitious behavior is investigated in the context of learning by reinforcement (Skinner, 1948): despite there being no relation between behavior and reinforcement, a standard manipulandum was available to subjects (a button, a computer keyboard etc.) and responses to this manipulandum were recorded when reinforcement was presented according to a preprogramed time schedule (Ono, 1987). ...
... Recently, Matute (1996), Hannah and Beneteau (2009), and Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo (2009 showed that a higher probability of response was associated with a higher estimate of control over trials with a in null contingency between response and reinforcement. Higher probability of responses, or "causes", can interact with the probability of outcomes, "effects", to generate illusion of control (Matute et al., 2015). ...
... In a similar way, the higher the probability of outcomes, the more probable illusion of control is (Allan & Jenkins, 1983;Buehner, Cheng, & Clifford, 2003). In Matute (1996), for example, participants in one group were instructed to try and obtain an outcome (naturalistic condition). The second group was instructed to behave scientifically and investigate how much control over an outcome could be achieved (analytical conditions). ...
Article
The objective of this experiment was to study similarities between superstitious behavior and illusion of control. We used different motivational instructions to generate high and low rates of responding and exposed participants to noncontingent reinforcement in order to evaluate superstitious behavior and illusion of control. College students (n = 40) responded over three 10-min sessions in a computer-based free operant procedure that alternated signaled periods of noncontingent presentation of points (VT schedule) and periods in which the points were not presented (extinction, EXT). In one group of participants, points were the only reward; for the other group, instructions stated that points were later exchangeable for photocopy vouchers. We compared rates of responding and estimates of control. Points exchangeable for photocopy vouchers produced higher rates of responding and estimates of control. Frequency of response and estimates of control were positively correlated. It was concluded that motivational instructions influenced both rate of responding and judgment of control. Even when a high rate of responding was extended in time (two more sessions for each participant), judgments of control were biased by noncontingent reinforcement. Through direct comparison between superstitious behavior and illusion of control, we showed that behavioral dynamics can be important in studies of illusion of control.
... People can learn from other people and add new improvements to what previous participants did. This kind of process was called the ratchet effect (e.g., Tomasello, 1990;Tomasello, Savage-Rumbaugh, & Kruger, 1993) or cumulative cultural evolution (Boyd & Richerson, 1994, 1996Richerson & Boyd, 2005) and can be an important mechanism that leads to the richness of social practices that are characteristic of human cultures. ...
... Brown (1988, 1994), for example, suggested that the illusion of control and other biases toward the detection of causality protects people against situations that can potentially be a source of stress, depression, or discouragement. Moreover, the question of illusion of control has also been approached from the perspective of the psychology of learning (e.g., Blanco, 2017;Matute, 1996). This position is strongly supported by accumulating evidence that higher levels of activity of one participant are positively correlated with higher estimates of control in the context of noncontingent outcomes (Blanco & Matute, 2015;Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo, 2009Matute, Vadillo, Vegas, & Blanco, 2007). ...
... Elucidation of the illusion of control that emphasizes the role of coincidences between behavior and environmental changes is an important step toward providing a basic background for understanding behavioral and learning mechanisms that are related to the origins of false beliefs (Blanco, 2017;Blanco et al., 2009Blanco et al., , 2011Blanco et al., , 2012Blanco et al., , 2013Matute, 1996;Matute et al., 2007). The present data support this approach to better understand the general notion of the illusion of control. ...
Article
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The notion of superstitious behavior can provide a basic background for understanding such notions as illusions and beliefs. The present study investigated the social mechanism of the transmission of superstitious behavior in an experiment that utilized participant replacement. The sample was composed of a total of 38 participants. Participants performed a task on a computer: they could click a colored rectangle using the mouse. When the rectangle was in a particular color, the participants received points independently of their behavior (variable time schedule). When the color of the rectangle was changed, no points were presented (extinction). Under an Individual Exposure condition, ten participants worked alone on the task. Other participants were exposed to the same experimental task under a Social Exposure condition, in which each participant first learned by observation and then worked on the task in a participant replacement (chain) procedure. The first participant in each chain in the Social Exposure condition was a confederate who worked on the task “superstitiously,” clicking the rectangle when points were presented. Superstitious responding was transmitted because of the behavior of the confederate. This also influenced estimates of personal control. These findings suggest that social learning can facilitate the acquisition and maintenance of superstitious behavior and the illusion of control. Our data also suggest that superstitious behavior and the illusion of control may involve similar learning principles.
... La segunda es el sesgo de densidad de la clave, y es similar al sesgo de densidad del outcome: aunque mantengamos la contingencia entre clave y outcome constante, los cambios en la probabilidad marginal de la clave, P(Clave), afectan a los juicios de contingencia (Blanco, Matute y Vadillo, 2009;2012;Hannah y Beneteau, 2009;Matute, 1996;Matute, Yarritu y Vadillo, 2011;Perales, Catena, Shanks, y González, 2005;Vadillo, Musca, Blanco, y Matute, 2011;Wasserman y cols., 1996). La literatura reciente indica que el sesgo de densidad de la clave interactúa con el sesgo de densidad del outcome, de forma que su efecto sólo es visible cuando la P(Outcome) es elevada. ...
... (2010). Ya hemos explicado en la introducción que la probabilidad marginal de la clave, P(Clave), puede afectar a la percepción de contingencia (i.e., sesgo de densidad de la clave; Blanco y cols., Hannah y Beneteau, 2009;Matute, 1996). Pero es que, además, hay evidencia reciente (Blanco y cols., 2013) que sugiere que ambos sesgos de densidad interactúan entre sí, siendo la sobreestimación de contingencia máxima cuando las dos probabilidades están a un nivel alto (precisamente la condición empleada tanto en las simulaciones como en el experimento conductual de Musca y cols., 2010). ...
Thesis
La contingencia entre dos eventos, clave y outcome, es una pista fundamental para inferir relaciones causales en la mayoría de las situaciones. La evidencia experimental indica que tanto las personas como otros animales son capaces de adaptar su conducta a la contingencia, si bien se han documentado algunos sesgos. En concreto, el sesgo de densidad del outcome es la sobrestimación de la contingencia cuando la probabilidad de ocurrencia del outcome es elevada. En el presente trabajo, utilizamos una red neuronal auto-heteroasociativa para simular una tarea típica de aprendizaje de contingencia en humanos. Nuestras simulaciones demuestran que la red es capaz de discriminar satisfactoriamente entre distintos grados de contingencia, aunque no se observa evidencia del sesgo de densidad del outcome.
... This is known as the outcome-density bias (Alloy & Abramson, 1979;Buehner, Cheng, & Clifford, 2003;Musca, Vadillo, Blanco, & Matute, 2010). Second, increasing the marginal probability of the action (trials a and b) has a similar effect on the perceived causality, and it is known as the cue-density bias (Allan & Jenkins, 1983;Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo, 2011;Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo, 2012;Hannah & Beneteau, 2009;Matute, 1996;Perales, Catena, Shanks, & González, 2005;Wasserman, Kao, Van Hamme, Katagiri, & Young, 1996). In fact, both manipulations have in common the possibility that they imply presenting many action-outcome co-occurrences, or trials a . ...
... That is, any manipulation that reduces the number of actions (be it depression, fatigue, etc.) should produce a realistic judgment. Thus, in another study (Blanco et al., 2012), we manipulated the probability of the participants' actions by means of instructional sets (as in Matute, 1996). Because this manipulation was conducted independently of the participants' mood state, it should abolish the depressive realism effect. ...
Article
The human cognitive system is fine-tuned to detect patterns in the environment with the aim of predicting important outcomes and, eventually, to optimize behavior. Built under the logic of the least-costly mistake, this system has evolved biases to not overlook any meaningful pattern, even if this means that some false alarms will occur, as in the case of when we detect a causal link between two events that are actually unrelated (i.e., a causal illusion). In this review, we examine the positive and negative implications of causal illusions, emphasizing emotional aspects (i.e., causal illusions are negatively associated with negative mood and depression) and practical, health-related issues (i.e., causal illusions might underlie pseudoscientific beliefs, leading to dangerous decisions). Finally, we describe several ways to obtain control over causal illusions, so that we could be able to produce them when they are beneficial and avoid them when they are harmful.
... Finally, how and what information is sampled by the learner affects learning (Matute, 1996;see Fiedler and Juslin, 2006, for similar arguments in relation to decision making) and it is known that sampling strategies can be modified through verbal instructions (Matute, 1996;Blanco et al., 2012) or the amount of personal involvement (Yarritu et al., 2014). This influence is clearest in instrumental tasks where the learner's actions directly control the delivery of outcomes and thus also the opportunities to observe relationships between action and outcome. ...
... Finally, how and what information is sampled by the learner affects learning (Matute, 1996;see Fiedler and Juslin, 2006, for similar arguments in relation to decision making) and it is known that sampling strategies can be modified through verbal instructions (Matute, 1996;Blanco et al., 2012) or the amount of personal involvement (Yarritu et al., 2014). This influence is clearest in instrumental tasks where the learner's actions directly control the delivery of outcomes and thus also the opportunities to observe relationships between action and outcome. ...
Article
Full-text available
Associative learning theories offer one account of the way animals and humans assess the relationship between events and adapt their behavior according to resulting expectations. They assume knowledge about event relations is represented in associative networks, which consist of mental representations of cues and outcomes and the associative links that connect them. However, in human causal and contingency learning, many researchers have found that variance in standard learning effects is controlled by “non-associative” factors that are not easily captured by associative models. This has given rise to accounts of learning based on higher-order cognitive processes, some of which reject altogether the notion that humans learn in the manner described by associative networks. Despite the renewed focus on this debate in recent years, few efforts have been made to consider how the operations of associative networks and other cognitive operations could potentially interact in the course of learning. This paper thus explores possible ways in which non-associative knowledge may affect associative learning processes: (1) via changes to stimulus representations, (2) via changes to the translation of the associative expectation into behavior (3) via a shared source of expectation of the outcome that is sensitive to both the strength of associative retrieval and evaluation from non-associative influences.
... As of natural selection, a system that detects causal relations that sometimes result illusory might be more adaptive than an alternative system with such a high threshold for the detection of causal relations that often fails to detect relations that do exist (e.g., McKay and Dennett ). 2009 In addition, the illusion of control itself could be adaptive on its own (Langer ;Matute ;McKay and Dennett 197519962009Taylor and Brown ). If the illusion makes us remain active in our trying to obtain desired events, such as rain or fire 1988 or health, then, whenever we are uncertain about whether a relationship is really causal, it should be adaptive to maintain the illusion that our behavior is being useful so that we persist in trying to obtain the desired outcome. ...
... As of natural selection, a system that detects causal relations that sometimes result illusory might be more adaptive than an alternative system with such a high threshold for the detection of causal relations that often fails to detect relations that do exist (e.g., McKay and Dennett ). 2009 In addition, the illusion of control itself could be adaptive on its own (Langer ;Matute ;McKay and Dennett 197519962009Taylor and Brown ). If the illusion makes us remain active in our trying to obtain desired events, such as rain or fire 1988 or health, then, whenever we are uncertain about whether a relationship is really causal, it should be adaptive to maintain the illusion that our behavior is being useful so that we persist in trying to obtain the desired outcome. ...
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. From learning what causes fire (so that we could either produce or prevent the occurrence of fire at will) to learning what causes rain, what causes cancer, or what caused that particular silly accident that we had with the car a few days ago, both the history of humankind and our individual history are full of examples in which causal learning is crucial. But, as can be said for other forms of learning as well, causal learning is not free of errors. Systematic biases and errors are known to occur under certain conditions. One of such common biases is the illusion of control. The illusion of control can be defined as the belief that one’s behavior is the cause of a desired event that is actually independent of it. Illusions of control are an important factor in the development of superstitions. For instance, the superstitious belief that by dancing one can produce rain, is normally accompanied by the illusion of controlling rain.
... Under these circumstances, people will often give a modest positive rating for the causal efficacy of the button, even if there is actually zero contingency between pressing the button and the light illuminating (i.e., the light is just as likely to illuminate if the button is pressed as if it is not: Alloy & Abramson, 1979;Matute, 1994Matute, , 1996Pronin, Wegner, McCarthy, & Rodriguez, 2006). This has been termed an illusion of causality (Matute et al, 2011), as people perceive a causal relationship where none exists. ...
... For example, the illusion is stronger when the outcome event is frequent (the outcome density effect, e.g. Allans & Jenkins, 1980), when the outcome is desired or people are instructed to obtain it (Langer, 1975;Matute, 1994Matute, , 1995, when people are thinking about the outcome at the time it occurs (Pronin et al., 2006), when people make a lot of button presses (Matute, 1996) or when the time between button presses is long (Msetfi et al.,, 2007). These studies cumulatively give some insight into the mechanisms by which the average person may be seduced by the apparent (but superstitious) contingency of their actions sometimes eliciting an outcome. ...
Article
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Superstitions are common, yet we have little understanding of the cognitive mechanisms that bring them about. This study used a laboratory‐based analogue for superstitious beliefs that involved people monitoring the relationship between undertaking an action (pressing a button) and an outcome occurring (a light illuminating). The task was arranged such that there was no objective contingency between pressing the button and the light illuminating – the light was just as likely to illuminate whether the button was pressed or not. Nevertheless, most people rated the causal relationship between the button press and the light illuminating to be moderately positive, demonstrating an illusion of causality. This study found that the magnitude of this illusion was predicted by people's level of endorsement of common superstitious beliefs (measured using a novel Superstitious Beliefs Questionnaire), but was not associated with mood variables or their self‐rated locus of control. This observation is consistent with a more general individual difference or bias to overweight conjunctive events over disjunctive events during causal reasoning in those with a propensity for superstitious beliefs.
... This makes the complete generative solution unlikely to be implemented by the brain (Eckstein et al., 2004), which explains why people often depart from statistically optimal predictions made by normative models (e.g., Waldmann and Walker, 2005; see also Blanco, Matute and Vadillo, 2011;Gershman, 2015). Interestingly, departures from normative predictions often arise in the form of illusions of control in which people behave superstitiously in the belief that they are controlling uncontrollable outcomes (Langer, 1975), such as those occurring when contrasting instrumental vs. observational learning (Waldmann & Hagmayer, 2005) and naturalistic vs. analytic contexts (Matute, 1996), or when experiencing imposed vs. chosen gambling outcomes (Kool, Gatez, & Botvinick, 2013). Generative models have difficulty accounting for such illusions while at the same time failing to address causal problems that human subjects easily solve (Sloman & Lagnado, 2015). ...
... Control beliefs develop early and are somewhat irrepressible: the need to be and feel in control is so strong that individuals would do whatever they can to re-establish control when it disappears or is taken away, including self-attributing unrelated events (Langer, 1975) or acting superstitiously in the belief that their action is accountable for uncontrollable outcomes (Blanco, Matute and Vadillo, 2011). Importantly, control beliefs would explain an enduring puzzle in causal reasoning, that is, why people show remarkable performance in causal inferences, which they often make effortlessly 50 and from very little data, and yet readily experience illusory control, whether in real-life uncontrollable situations (Matute, 1996) or in experimental settings with null contingency (Blanco, Matute and Vadillo, 2011). This relationship between illusory control and control beliefs is further corroborated by people's tendency to self-attribute positive outcomes when their perceived controllability of the environment is high (Harris and Osman, 2012). ...
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Most people envision themselves as operant agents endowed with the capacity to bring about changes in the outside world. This ability to monitor one's own causal power has long been suggested to rest upon a specific model of causal inference, i.e., a model of how our actions causally relate to their consequences. What this model is and how it may explain departures from optimal inference, e.g., illusory control and self-attribution biases, are still conjecture. To address this question, we designed a series of novel experiments requiring participants to continuously monitor their causal influence over the task environment by discriminating changes that were caused by their own actions from changes that were not. Comparing different models of choice, we found that participants' behaviour was best explained by a model deriving the consequences of the forgone action from the current action that was taken and assuming relative divergence between both. Importantly, this model agrees with the intuitive way of construing causal power as "difference-making" in which causally efficacious actions are actions that make a difference to the world. We suggest that our model outperformed all competitors because it closely mirrors people's belief in their causal power - a belief that is well-suited to learning action-outcome associations in controllable environments. We speculate that this belief may be part of the reason why reflecting upon one's own causal power fundamentally differs from reasoning about external causes.
... Benassi, 1996). In fact, instructions describing outcomes or asking for naturalistic or analytic strategies are relevant factors that increase the probability of responding and estimates of control both in trial and free operant procedures (Benvenuti, Toledo, Simões, & Bizarro, 2017;Matute, 1996). ...
... And regressions between raw judgments and p(A) yielded significant relations only under two p(O)s, with very small effects and slopes close to null. This is not consistent with previous reports conducted in similar conditions (e.g., Blanco et al., 2011;Matute, 1996), in which the higher the p(A) was, the more intense the judgment of control both in productive and preventive scenarios. However, in the current experiment, the fact that there were no significant differences in p(A) among groups, blocks or p(O) and the undermost regressions with the judgments of control prevent us to attribute differences in illusions to the proportion of actions. ...
Article
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Individuals interpret themselves as causal agents when executing an action to achieve an outcome, even when action and outcome are independent. How can illusion of control be managed? Once established, does it decay? This study aimed to analyze the effects of valence, probability of the outcome [p(O)] and probability of the actions performed by the participant [p(A)], on the magnitude of judgments of control and corresponding associative measures (including Rescorla–Wagner’s, Probabilistic Contrast, and Cheng’s Power Probabilistic Contrast models). A traffic light was presented on a computer screen to 81 participants who tried to control the green or red lights by pressing the spacebar, after instructions describing a productive or a preventive scenario. There were 4 blocks of 50 trials under all of 4 different p(O)s in random order (0.10, 0.30, 0.70, and 0.90). Judgments were assessed in a bidimensional scale. The 2 × 4 × 4 mixed experimental design was analyzed through General Linear Models, including factor group (between-subject valence), and block and p(O) (within subjects). There was a small effect of group and a large and direct effect of p(O) on judgments. Illusion was reported by 66% of the sample and was positive in the productive group. The oscillation of p(O) produced stronger illusions; decreasing p(O)s produced nil or negative illusions. Only Rescorla–Wagner’s could model causality properly. The reasons why p(A) and the other models could not generate significant results are discussed. The results help to comprehend the importance of keeping moderate illusions in productive and preventive scenarios.
... Unfortunately, we are so eager to detect statistical patterns that we also tend to perceive them when they are absent (Chapman & Chapman 1969;Matute, 1996;Redelmeier & Tversky, 1996). Understanding how and why we misperceive contingency between unrelated events has become one of the most interesting topics of research in cognitive psychology (Gilovich, 1991;Vyse, 1997). ...
... Traditionally, demonstrations of cue/outcome-density biases and illusory correlations have been explained in terms of simple associative processes analogous to those assumed to account for classical and instrumental conditioning (e.g., Alloy & Abramson, 1979;López et al., 1998;Matute, 1996;Murphy et al., 2011;Shanks, 1995;Sherman et al., 2009;Van Rooy, Van Overwalle, Vanhoomissen, Labiouse, & French, 2003). The associative learning rule proposed by Rescorla and Wagner (1972) provides the simplest example of this family of models. ...
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 been explained in terms of relatively simple single-process models of learning and reasoning. However, more recently some authors have found that these biases do not appear in all dependent variables and have proposed dual-process models to explain these dissociations between variables. In the present paper we review the evidence for dissociations supporting dual-process models and we point out important shortcomings of this literature. Some dissociations seem to be difficult to replicate or poorly generalizable and others can be attributed to methodological artefacts. Overall, we conclude that support for dual-process models of biased contingency detection is scarce and inconclusive.
... Thus, it has been argued that instead of, or perhaps in addition to, pre-existing biases being the main influencer of perceived control ratings, it is the processing of and learning about specific aspects of contingency experience (Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo, 2011;Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo, 2012;Blanco et al., 2009;Byrom, Msetfi, & Murphy, 2015;Msetfi, Wade, & Murphy, 2013) or the current motivational state of the participant (e.g., Baker, Msetfi, Hanley, & Murphy, 2011). For example, Matute (1996) has argued that rates of behaviour, affect the degree of control perceived. Although participants might be instructed to sample actions and non-actions, there are variations in behaviour. ...
... Those that either almost always responded or never responded were removed from the analysis; on average <15 % or >85 % of trials. This is important because outliers in response behaviour can significantly alter the contingencies experienced by the participant (Matute, 1996), and our hypothesis depends on the participants experienced contingency. This exclusion criteria have been used in previous work (Murphy & Msetfi, 2014). ...
Article
Depression has been linked to weakened perceptions of control. The experimental evidence derives from tasks with exposure to stable action-outcome contingencies. One assumption has been that performance represents a general cognitive bias that might manifest itself by a global performance difference. Another view is that people have specific situational perceptions of control reflecting their recent actions and the contingencies to which they are currently experiencing. In an experiment with N = 179, participants acquired one of four action-outcome sequences (Constant or Variable). We measured how learning was reflected in ratings of control and probability of responding in relation to mood. In three experimental treatments, the overall contingency across training involved an average moderate degree of control (ΔP = 0.25), but differed in how control varied (Constant or one of two Variable treatments). A fourth, control treatment involved a Constant zero degree of control (ΔP = 0.00). Participants rated their control before, during and after each sequence, providing measures of pre-existing bias, ratings of control in specific situations and generalised control perceptions. Specific control ratings were only influenced by the contingency experience and not pre-existing bias. Higher scores on the Beck’s depression inventory were associated with weakened association between action and context ratings. Overall, these data suggest that human agency is related to rates of responding and that mood is related to a difference in sensitivity to the ratings of and responding to the context.
... The illusion of control (IOC) is a well-documented heuristic or bias that refers to a subjective over-estimation of control in situations involving individual action (Langer, 1975;Thompson et al., 1998). In formal operant learning theory, the IOC is similar to the notion of false contingency (Alloy & Abramson, 1979;Blanco et al., 2011;Matute, 1995Matute, , 1996Wasserman et al., 1993). This bias is also said to occur when people believe that the probability of outcomes resulting from their actions (P (O| R)) is greater than the objective probability. ...
... The IOC has been extensively studied in laboratory environments (e.g., Ejova et al., 2015;Matute, 1995Matute, , 1996Wohl & Enzle, 2002;Yarritu et al., 2014) and also in applied contexts. In laboratory research, much of the principal focus has been upon finding effective ways to capture the effect; understanding the role of individual differences, and whether there are situational factors that make the effect more likely to occur. ...
Article
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People who engage in gambling are known to hold erroneous views about the nature of gambling. One of the most commonly observed cognitive biases is the illusion of control, where people’s subjective appraisal of contingency between behavior and events is greater than the objective contingency. Such beliefs have been found to be strongest in problem gamblers and can lead to over-confidence in the ability to win money from gambling. A question, however, is whether such perceptions are (a) specific to gambling and whether gamblers display a tendency to over-estimate contingencies in everyday life and (b) if a tendency to endorse everyday illusion of control beliefs is related to specific gambling-related beliefs among those who gamble. Answers to these questions might provide insights into whether some people are potentially more vulnerable to beliefs that might have implications for gambling. An online sample of 788 adults completed a survey about simple everyday situations where people might attempt to exert control (e.g., pressing elevator buttons more often, throwing dice in games). The survey included a scale that captured everyday situations as well as established measures of illusion of control and superstition in gambling. The results showed that those who report greater control in everyday tasks scored higher on standardized measures of beliefs about chance and gambling-related cognitions relating to illusory control. Scores on both types of measures were higher in gamblers than non-gamblers. The findings suggest that gamblers may differ in how they generally perceive and respond to situations involving tasks largely dominated by chance or limited opportunities for genuine control.
... Illusion of control is a natural phenomenon and has been demonstrated to occur in nonpsychiatric populations such as students (Langer 1975;Alloy and Abramson 1979;Wasserman et al. 1983;Matute 1996;Aeschleman et al. 2003;Msetfi et al. 2005) and people from the community (Alloy and Abramson 1979;Taylor and Brown 1988). However, illusion of control is a predominant characteristic in GD (Brevers et al. 2015;Lorains et al. 2014;Wiehler and Peters 2015). ...
... In another study, Matute (1996) noted that when individuals were asked to analyze the response-outcome relationship instead of just trying to produce an outcome (i.e., stopping the noise in the previous study), they frequently presented an accurate judgment of the response-outcome independence. Matute concluded that illusion of control was observed in the first condition as a "collateral effect of a high tendency to respond in individuals who are trying to obtain an outcome; this tendency to respond prevents them from learning that the outcome would have occurred with the same probability if they had not responded" (Matute 1996, p. 289). ...
Article
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Gambling Disorder (GD) is characterized by persistent betting even in face of accruing debts and psychosocial hardship. Gambling Disorder behavior has been linked to conditioning, cognitive distortions and superstitious behavior. Previous studies have demonstrated that during response-outcome analytical tests (ROAT), non-gambling individuals are precluded from response extinction when failure feedback is suppressed, and develop superstitious behaviors and illusion of control instead. Gambling can be regarded as a ROAT paradigm in which disordered gamblers (DGs) fail to compute failure feedback; hence they do not perceive the independence between response and outcome. In order to investigate early phenomena on response and outcome processing in DGs, we developed two short ROAT versions, one with a controllable outcome and one with an uncontrollable outcome, both with explicit failure feedback. Twenty DGs and twenty healthy controls were assessed using this novel paradigm. Compared to controls, DGs reported higher distress during the controllable ROAT, less self-confidence in the uncontrollable ROAT, and more random responses and less use of analytical strategies in both tests, evidencing potential deficits in cognitive control. In contrast to previous findings, DGs did not demonstrate more superstitious beliefs, or illusion of control, and were generally more skeptical than controls regarding the controllability of both ROAT versions. Taken together, our findings provide some support for deficits in cognitive control in GD that precede illusion of control and superstitious behaviors.
... In recent years, there have also been attempts to manipulate and enhance perceived control experimentally [11,12]. For example, in experiments, instructions that influence the nature of information sampled in a given situation can increase perceptions of control [13,14]. One instance of this is that increasing levels of behaviour via instruction enables participants to experience high levels of action-outcome occurrences. ...
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The relationship between the constructs of perceived control and symptoms of mood disorders has been demonstrated. The current study evaluates cultural values both as an individual difference moderating variable and as one of the mechanisms through which the association between perceived control and mood disturbances may operate. The hypotheses were examined with a sample of 615 participants recruited in Saudi Arabia. Participants completed measures of perceived control, individualism and collectivism, and symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder. In general, the results supported a model in which higher levels of perceived control promote a less symptomatic mood state. In most cases, cultural values positively mediated the relationship between perceived control and mood disturbance with lower symptom levels predicted. However, when the components of perceived control were examined separately, high perceived mastery together with highly individualistic values predicted higher levels of bipolar symptoms. In this sample, there was less evidence of cultural values moderating the control-mood disturbance relationship. Only one moderator relationship was identified, which showed low control linking to higher symptom levels only in those who disagreed with individualistic values. Overall, our data are in agreement with the notion that pre-existing cultural values have an important effect on mood disorder symptoms.
... 44 (2) There is also the semiotic model of perception, which explains AIR as illusions or perceptual distortions of a causal type that the individual fabricates to reduce the uncertainty of a past problem. 28,38 They are called illusions of control and are very common in believing subjects in the existence of the paranormal. 31 They differ from hallucinations in that they do not represent pathological behaviors in themselves. ...
Article
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Context An Anomalous Information Reception (AIR) experiment was developed. Objective To statistically examine the occurrence of AIR in multiple experimental tests and explore their predictive psychological mechanisms. Design First, we investigated whether human beings could guess the positive or negative content from 30 randomly selected images that would be presented on a computer screen, one at a time. Ninety participants reported being mediums and another 90 claimed to be nonbelievers in the paranormal. The participants were randomly assigned to three experimental conditions: (1) positive-relaxing environments, (2) neutral environments, and (3) negative-stimulating environments. Second, the prediction of successes recorded in the AIR experiment was tested using five Multivariable Multiaxial Suggestibility Inventory-2 (MMSI-2) scales that measured the altered state of consciousness (ASC) and suggestibility. Results The successes did not exceed the estimated chance. The only significant results revealed that mediums obtained a greater number of correct answers than the non-believing participants. Bayesian estimation also confirmed these results. In the same way, the altered states of consciousness and suggestibility negatively predicted 25.8% of successes in the AIR experiment. Conclusions Insufficient statistical evidence was obtained for AIR. The results raise doubts about previous theories on AIR. Further research is required. Nevertheless, mediums obtained more success answers than nonbelievers did. This means that the anomalous sheep-goat effect is also present in mediums and supports results obtained in previous studies.
... People often face learning environments in which they must gauge whether their behaviours trigger a desired outcome (e.g. an evening at the casino, or the earlier example of the elevator 'door close' button). In these settings, high rates of responding and high rates of positive outcomes are seen to fuel 'illusory correlations' or exhibit 'superstitious conditioning' (14,61), and within this framework, instructions that encouraged analytical thinking were effective at reducing the illusion of control (62), with relevance to the educational programs discussed above. Using this kind of procedure, people with gambling problems were seen to overestimate the effectiveness of a hypothetical new medication in treating an illness, witnessed over a series of observations (63). ...
Article
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E. J. Langer's paper, 'The illusion of control' (1975), showed that people act in ways that suggest they hold illusory beliefs in their ability to control the outcome of chance-determined games. This highly cited paper influenced the emerging field of gambling studies, and became a building block for cognitive approaches to problem gambling. Over time, this work has inspired therapeutic approaches based on cognitive restructuring, preventative programmes focused upon gambling myths and regulatory scrutiny of skill mechanics in modern gambling products. However, the psychological mechanisms underlying the 'illusion of control' remain elusive.
... With infrequently occurring outcomes, judgments are closer to zero and more consistent with P (e.g., Jenkins, 1980, 1983;Dickinson et al., 1984). This difference in judgments between the two conditions is known as the "outcome density effect" (for a discussion see Allan, 1993) but is also referred to as the "illusion of control" (e.g., Alloy et al., 1981;Matute, 1996;Blanco et al., 2011). The illusion of control refers to the observation that while the objective contingency is zero, participants feel that they have at least a moderate degree of control over the outcome. ...
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 ascribe to control influences these relationships. Here we hypothesize that values affect learning about control contingencies and influence the relationship between perceived control and symptoms of mood disorders. We tested these hypotheses with European university samples who were categorized as endorsing (or not) values relevant to control-individualist and collectivist values. Three online experimental contingency learning studies (N 1 = 127, N 2 = 324, N 3 = 272) were carried out. Evidence suggested that individualist values influenced basic learning processes via an effect on learning about the context in which events took place. Participants who endorsed individualist values made control judgments that were more in line with an elemental associative learning model, whilst those who were ambivalent about individualist values made judgments that were more consistent with a configural process. High levels of perceived control and individualist values were directly associated with increased euphoric symptoms of bipolar disorder, and such values completely mediated the relation between perceived control and symptoms. The effect of low perceived control on depression was moderated by collectivist values. Anxiety created by dissonance between values and task may be a catalyst for developing mood symptoms. Conclusions are that values play a significant intermediary role in the relation between perceived control and symptoms of mood disturbance.
... According to Uomoto (1986), members of minority groups, such as Ruby, formulate casual explanations that account for current and future noncontingencies. Matute (1996) explained Uomoto's response-outcome-contingency by stating that humans employ illusions of control to protect self-esteem. In other words, Ruby's alleged consensual relationship with Dr. Adams may have been a veiled attempt at controlling the perceived outcome of sexual abuse. ...
... For example, people overestimate control over events, believe that what happens to them is generally result of their own actions and thus they have the ability to make their lives better and prevent misfortunes from occurring (Baumeister & Bushman, 2011). That is, people show illusions of control, thereby they assume that their wishes can influence chance or near chance events (Pronin & Kugler, 2010;Matute, 1996;Langer, 1975). To the extent that illusions of control rely on the exaggerated role of individual's will, the illusion of control in specific near chance events may be stronger in the distant than the near future. ...
Article
People hold different beliefs about the causal role of will in shaping future life outcomes. We examine how temporal distance from a predicted event influences such beliefs, or attributions to will. Laypersons conceptualize will as acting according to one's goals, being free from constraints. We reasoned that construal of a future event or action in terms of individual's superordinate goals (rather than in terms of concrete aspects of the situation) would be associated with enhanced attributions to will. Drawing from Construal Level Theory, we proposed that predictions about temporally distant events rely more on high-level aspects (e.g., superordinate goals) than low-level aspects (e.g., contextual factors) and thus will result in greater attributions to will compared to predictions about near events. We show that an increase in temporal distance enhances beliefs in the causal impact of will in shaping outcomes of the self (Study 1) and others (Study 3). We also show that the individual tendency to construe actions in terms of goals (as assessed by the Behavior Identification Form) is associated with greater attributions to will (Study 2). We conclude that construal of an event in terms of superordinate goals (due to the manipulation of psychological distance or to individual differences) enhances attributions to will.
... Participants were asked to score on a scale the degree of control (e.g., ranging from 0 to 10, or from 0 to 100; Benvenuti et al., 2018;Blanco et al., 2009Blanco et al., , 2011. Some studies used bidimensional scales that ranged from -100 to 100: Positive values correspond to a positive illusion of control (judgments that the actions could produce the outcome), while negative values correspond to negative illusion (judgments that the actions could produce on the contrary of the outcome), and a null value indicating perception of response-outcome independence (Blanco & Matute, 2015;Matute, 1996;Simões, 2019;Simões et al., 2019). ...
Article
Illusion of control (IOC) is a bias in the judgment of personal success with implications to learning theories and health policies; some important questions in the investigation of IOC may be related to traditional measures in the field, namely self-assessment using Likert scales about the sense of control. Statistical process control (SPC) and Shewhart charts are methods developed to monitor and control industrial processes, never applied in psychological studies before. The present two studies investigated the use of the technique of Shewhart charts in the analysis of IOC. The purpose was to explore the use of SPC and Shewhart charts in the analysis of data sequences from psychological experiments; the objective was to analyze the results of reaction time (RT) data sequences plotted in SPC charts, in comparison with self-assessment judgments from an IOC task. Participants were 63 undergraduate students (Study 1) and 103 mine workers (Study 2) instructed to try to control a traffic light on a computer by pressing or not the keyboard. Higher probabilities of the successful outcome generated judgments of illusion and shifts (due to cognitive activity) in the charts of RT; lower probabilities resulted in null illusion and RT presented a random and stable profile. Patterns for different groups emerged in Shewhart charts. SPC can contribute to the analysis of the behavior of sequences of data in psychological studies, so that the charts indicate changes and patterns not detected by traditional ANOVA and other linear models.
... As a result, traders will rarely be wrong in their choices and most decisions will be positively reinforced. Traders will therefore, often falsely, infer continency between their actions and positive outcomes, an effect which is known to be stronger when the probability of reinforcement is high (Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo, 2011;Matute, 1996). As a result, traders may gain a sense of invincibility or perception that they cannot lose and this may contribute to greater risk taking, for example: speculation of large amounts in just one speculative coin; not planning for strategies to exit the market at the right time; or, moving money from a more balanced portfolio towards purchasing riskier altcoins. ...
Article
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Background and aims Crypto-currency trading is a rapidly growing form of behaviour characterised by investing in highly volatile digital assets based largely on blockchain technology. In this paper, we review the particular structural characteristics of this activity and its potential to give rise to excessive or harmful behaviour including over-spending and compulsive checking. We note that there are some similarities between online sports betting and day trading, but also several important differences. These include the continuous 24-hour availability of trading, the global nature of the market, and the strong role of social media, social influence and non-balance sheet related events as determinants of price movements. Methods We review the specific psychological mechanisms that we propose to be particular risk factors for excessive crypto trading, including: over-estimations of the role of knowledge or skill, the fear of missing out (FOMO), preoccupation, and anticipated regret. The paper examines potential protective and educational strategies that might be used to prevent harm to inexperienced investors when this new activity expands to attract a greater percentage of retail or community investors. Discussion and conclusions The paper suggests the need for more specific research into the psychological effects of regular trading, individual differences and the nature of decision-making that protects people from harm, while allowing them to benefit from developments in blockchain technology and crypto-currency.
... Le joueur tentera aussi d'utiliser et de contrôler la chance des autres en demandant par exemple à un ami, à un buraliste ou toute autre personne qu'il considère chanceuse de jouer à sa place (Rothbaum et al., 1982;Wohl & Enzle, 2009). Il utilisera des rituels et des objets fétiches pour invoquer la chance (Matute, 1996). Ces différentes croyances erronées conduisent le joueur à percevoir la possibilité de gagner un gros lot comme plus probable qu'elle ne l'est en réalité (p. ...
Thesis
Dans les jeux de hasard et d’argent (JHA), l’individu est exposé à au moins deux paradoxes. Le premier paradoxe est relatif au contrôle : d’une part, le joueur croit pouvoir contrôler le jeu en vue d’augmenter ses chances de gain (illusion de contrôle) et, d’autre part, il a tendance à perdre le contrôle de ses impulsions. Pour jouer sans risque, le joueur devrait donc jouer de manière contrôlée mais sans tenter de contrôler le jeu. Le second paradoxe réside dans le besoin, pour les opérateurs de jeu, de commercialiser les jeux tout en cherchant à prévenir les risques liés aux JHA. Ils doivent, notamment, aider le joueur à garder le contrôle de ses impulsions. A cette fin, les opérateurs de jeu utilisent des messages de prévention promouvant le Jeu Responsable (p. ex. « Pour que le jeu reste un jeu »). Selon nous, ces messages pourraient être ambigus et véhiculer des intentions promotionnelles au joueur, plutôt que préventives. Le but de cette thèse est alors d’examiner la compréhension des messages promouvant le Jeu Responsable. Nous étudions l’ambiguïté de leur contenu sémantique ainsi que l’influence de facteurs extrinsèques au message (i.e. les caractéristiques de la source et du récepteur) sur la compréhension du message. Quatre expériences ont été conduites en ligne auprès de 1438 participants. Les résultats de ces études montrent que les messages de prévention promouvant le Jeu Responsable agissent comme une injonction paradoxale : ils sont ambigus (Expérience 1) et peuvent être compris à la fois comme des messages de prévention et des messages de promotion du jeu (Expérience 2). En situation réelle de jeu, ces messages augmentent la prise de risque du joueur par rapport à des messages informatifs clairs (Expérience 3). De plus, nous avons montré que les messages de prévention, qu’ils soient clairs ou ambigus, sont mieux compris lorsque le message est perçu comme provenant du gouvernement plutôt que d’un opérateur de jeu et lorsque la crédibilité de la source est élevée. En revanche, les attitudes et la familiarité des joueurs avec le jeu ou leur niveau de risque de jeu pathologique n’influencent pas la compréhension du message dans notre échantillon (Expérience 4). Cette thèse montre que les messages actuellement utilisés par les opérateurs de jeu ne sont pas adaptés pour prévenir du jeu excessif. Notre travail contribue donc à l’amélioration des stratégies de communication préventive des opérateurs de jeux et des gouvernements. Version intégrale disponible ici : https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-03233558
... Cognitive distortions endorsed by older adult gamblers from a multi-ethnic Asian background of illusion of control, probability control and interpretive control corresponded with the findings of Toneatto et al. [8]. Illusion of control is defined as the tendency to believe that one's behavior is the cause of the occurrence of desired outcome, an outcome which in fact occurs independently of any action on the person's part [34,35]. This distortion might result from attempts to gain control by gamblers in an uncertain environment wherein chances of success are low. ...
Article
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Aims The study aims to describe the construct of cognitive distortions based on the narratives of older adult gamblers (aged 60 years and above) in Singapore. Methods Singapore residents (citizens or permanent residents) aged 60 years and above, who were current or past regular gamblers were included in the study. Participants were recruited using a combination of venue based approach, referrals from service providers as well as by snowball sampling. In all, 25 in-depth interviews were conducted with older adult gamblers. The six-step thematic network analysis methodology was adopted for data analysis. Results The mean age of the participants was 66.2 years. The majority were male (n = 18), of Chinese ethnicity (n = 16), with a mean age of gambling initiation at 24.5 years. Among older adult gamblers, cognitive distortions emerged as a significant global theme comprising three organizing themes–illusion of control, probability control and interpretive control. The organizing themes comprised nine basic themes: perception of gambling as a skill, near miss, concept of luck, superstitious beliefs, entrapment, gambler’s fallacy, chasing wins, chasing losses, and beliefs that wins are more than losses. Conclusions Cognitive distortions were endorsed by all gamblers in the current study and were shown to play a role in both maintaining and escalating the gambling behaviour. While the surface characteristics of the distortions had a culture-specific appearance, the deeper characteristics of the distortions may in fact be more universal than previously thought. Future research must include longitudinal studies to understand causal relationships between cognitive distortions and gambling as well as the role of culture-specific distortions both in the maintenance and treatment of the disorder.
... Por ejemplo, la relación entre agencia personal y causación también ha sido estudiada desde una perspectiva asociacionista, sin los compromisos teóricos de Piaget. Matute (1996) considera que la dimensión causal de la agencia individual es primitiva y, en ese sentido, tiende a ser sobreestimada. Desde este marco, se ha encontrado que la probabilidad de la consecuencia, con independencia de la contingencia real entre las acciones de los organismos y sus consecuencias, puede generar la ilusión de control (Blanco, Ma- tute, & Vadillo, 2011). ...
Article
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Like other cognitive skills, the ability to reason causally changes during the course of development from early childhood to adulthood. There is, however, no agreement about how its development occurs. In this paper we propose a theoretical analysis to understand this process, namely, the idea that causal reasoning is a domain-general ability that is gradually enriched by the refinement of metacognitive skills, which allows reasoning independently from the immediate context. This proposal is based on the analysis of evidence of causal reasoning in young children, as well as evidence of integration of these skills during early adolescence with processes of argumentation and explanation. The paper also points out some methodological differences in studies with children and adolescents.
... A "percentage of control" over presentation of the event can be calculated by subtracting the percentage of event presence in the absence of a response from the percentage of the same event after the occurance of response (e.g., Alloy & Abramson, 1979). By the end of the sessions, with similar contingencies experimenters usually ask the subjects to judge the degree of control they had over the presentation of the event (e.g., Alloy & Abramson, 1979;Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo, 2009, 2012Matute, 1993Matute, , 1994Matute, , 1995Matute, , 1996Matute, Vadillo, Vegas, & Blanco, 2007;Matute, Yarritu & Vadillo, 2011;Vadillo, Matute, & Blanco, 2013). Behavior produced in this kind of situation sometimes is called "superstitious" (e.g. ...
Article
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Superstition has been analyzed in behavioral sciences through the use of several terms (e.g., superstition, superstitious behavior, superstitious rules, and superstitious beliefs). This paper argues that the interpretation of the results of studies on superstition depend on: a) the experimental arrangements that are used to study this subject, b) what each of these arrangements enable us to conclude about behavioral relations, and c) assumptions about the role that is attributed to verbal behavior during the construction of superstitions. The role that is attributed to verbal behavior and the experimental arrangements that are chosen are related to underlying concepts of the effects of environmental variables on the control of behavior, namely whether these variables have a direct or indirect (mediational) effect over behavior. Based on these discussions, an alternative course of action is to emphasize existing functional relations between variables as a direct contingency effect, regardless of whether these variables or effects are verbal or nonverbal.
... First, and to emulate real-world situations, experimental paradigms in conditioning and contingency/causal learning usually maintain some of the cognitive requirements of realworld experiences. Thus, in contingency learning tasks, the most widely used presentation format shows the information about the potential cause and the alleged consequence on a trialby-trial basis [46][47][48]. More specifically, participants are sequentially presented with a series of events in which the cause and the consequence under assessment can be either present or absent. ...
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 probability (outcome-density bias). Given that children and adults differ in several important features involved in causal judgment, including prior knowledge and basic cognitive skills, developmental studies can be considered an outstanding approach to detect and further explore the psychological processes and mechanisms underlying this bias. However, the outcome density bias has been mainly explored in adulthood, and no previous evidence for this bias has been reported in children. Thus, the purpose of this study was to extend outcome-density bias research to childhood. In two experiments, children between 6 and 8 years old were exposed to two similar setups, both showing a non-contingent relation between the potential cause and the outcome. These two scenarios differed only in the probability of the outcome, which could either be high or low. Children judged the relation between the two events to be stronger in the high probability of the outcome setting, revealing that, like adults, they develop causal illusions when the outcome is frequent.
... This lack of a difference was probably not due to the sample size, because the number of participants in the present study (24 in each condition), although perhaps small compared with some studies in decision making, was comparable to other illusion of control studies. For instance, in the original Langer and Roth (1975) study, there were 15 participants in each condition; in Sanderson, Rapee, and Barlow's (1989) study, there were 10 participants in each condition; and in Matute's (1996) study there were 8 participants in each condition. ...
Article
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Proximity to an event or task can alter one's perception or judgment in many situations. We extended such findings to two cognitive biases in decision making and showed that one's psychological proximity to the task was a prerequisite that had to be met before the illusion of control and the framing effect could arise. In Experiment 1, a coin-tossing task was used to create an illusion of control. Unlike the participants who reported their guesses to the experimenter directly, participants who reported their guesses while watching themselves engage in the task on a monitor, and were thus distanced to some extent from the task, did not show an illusion of control. In Experiment 2, the Asian disease decision-making task was used to show a framing effect. The same distancing procedure as in Experiment 1 removed the participants' wording-based risk preference bias. Thus, the proximity prerequisite was shown to extend also to the framing effect. We discuss the findings within the framework of explanations offered for these two biases and suggest that a prerequisite of proximity may generalize to other decision-making biases.
... The probability of the action also influences illusion of control. The more people act, the greater their contingency judgments will be (e.g., Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo, 2009;Blanco et al., 2011;Matute, 1996). ...
... Consistent with the idea that a belief or perception of control is more potent than objective control, an illusion of control basically reflects the subjective judgment that an action-outcome causal relation exists when in fact there is no contingency. When probabilities of reward and action are high, the probability that both coincide is also high, hence affecting estimations of action-outcome causal relationships, which could contribute to the false belief that one has control (Alloy and Abramson, 1979;Matute, 1996;Orgaz et al., 2013). ...
Article
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Perceived control can be broadly defined as the belief in one’s ability to exert control over situations or events. It has long been known that perceived control is a major contributor toward mental and physical health as well as a strong predictor of achievements in life. However, one issue that limits a mechanistic understanding of perceived control is the heterogeneity of how the term is defined in models in psychology and neuroscience, and used in experimental settings across a wide spectrum of studies. Here, we propose a framework for studying perceived control by integrating the ideas from traditionally separate work on perceived control. Specifically, we discuss key properties of perceived control from a reward-based framework, including choice opportunity, instrumental contingency, and success/reward rate. We argue that these separate reward-related processes are integral to fostering an enhanced perception of control and influencing an individual’s behavior and well-being. We draw on select studies to elucidate how these reward-related elements are implicated separately and collectively in the investigation of perceived control. We highlight the role of dopamine within corticostriatal pathways shared by reward-related processes and perceived control. Finally, through the lens of this reward-based framework of perceived control, we consider the implications of perceived control in clinical deficits and how these insights could help us better understand psychopathology and treatment options.
... The results showed that a control threat manipulation did not affect the extent to which people perceived and developed illusory contingencies. Previous studies using similar paradigms have indicated that people readily develop illusions of control in a lab-based setting (Langer, 1975;Langer & Roth, 1975;Matute, 1996) and these so-called 'positive illusions' have been related to a basic motivational need to maintain self-esteem (Taylor & Brown, 1988). Still, it could be argued that the perception of illusory contingencies in the tasks that we used, does not fulfill the need for having ' epistemic structuring tendencies' that help people need to cope when faced with a loss of control (Landau et al., 2015). ...
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... In recent years, there have also been attempts to manipulate and enhance perceived control experimentally [11,12]. For example, in experiments, instructions that influence the nature of information sampled in a given situation can increase perceptions of control [13,14]. One instance of this is that increasing levels of behaviour via instruction enables participants to experience high levels of action-outcome occurrences. ...
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... The probability of the action also influences illusion of control. The more people act, the greater their contingency judgments will be (e.g., Blanco, Matute, & Vadillo, 2009;Blanco et al., 2011;Matute, 1996). ...
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Studies of people's beliefs about how much they control events have shown that people often overestimate the extent to which the result depends on their own behavior. The purpose of this study is to test the assumption of reducing the illusion of control by using a causal question in desirable and undesirable results. The influence of the causal question on the size of the illusion of control, measured by the self-esteem of the subjects, was not found. Keywords: cognitive distortions, illusion of control.
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Studies of people's beliefs about how much they control events have shown that people often overestimate the extent to which the result depends on their own behavior. The purpose of this study is to test the assumption of reducing the illusion of control by using a causal question in desirable and undesirable results. The influence of the causal question on the size of the illusion of control, measured by the self-esteem of the subjects, was not found. Keywords: cognitive distortions, illusion of control.
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Freudian psychoanalytic theory has greatly influenced the modern definition of criminal culpability. Indeed, much of the language of key criminal statutes, cases, and psychiatric testimony is framed by psychoanalytic concepts. This impact is particularly evident in the Model Penal Code's mens rea provisions and defenses, which were developed in the 1950s and 1960s, a time of Freudian reign in the United States. For contemporary criminal law, however, this degree of psychoanalytic presence is troublesome. Freudian theory is difficult to apply to group conflicts and legal situations, and the theory emphasizes unconscious (rather than conscious) thoughts. The rising new science of consciousness and conscious will provides continuity with Freudian theory. Yet, in contrast to Freudian principles, this new science offers criminal law a means of enlightening existing mens rea doctrine with advanced discoveries that more easily comport with human behavior and evidentiary standards. The results of this author's unprecedented statewide study of criminal jury instructions also suggest that courts are wrong to distort or reduce the significance of mens rea in the ways juries interpret criminal cases. This article concludes that current consciousness research provides a sound vehicle for criminal law doctrine to return the law's focus to the defendant's mental state, thereby retaining the moral insights, but not the muddle, that Freudian theory originally contributed.
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Like other cognitive skills, the ability to reason causally changes during the course of development from early childhood to adulthood. There is, however, no agreement about how its development occurs. In this paper we propose a theoretical analysis to understand this process, namely, the idea that causal reasoning is a domain-general ability that is gradually enriched by the refinement of metacognitive skills, which allows reasoning independently from the immediate context. This proposal is based on the analysis of evidence of causal reasoning in young children, as well as evidence of integration of these skills during early adolescence with processes of argumentation and explanation. The paper also points out some methodological differences in studies with children and adolescents.
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Empirical information available for causal judgment in everyday life tends to take the form of quasi-experimental designs, lacking control groups, more than the form of contingency information that is usually presented in experiments. Stimuli were presented in which values of an outcome variable for a single individual were recorded over six time periods and an intervention was introduced between the fifth and sixth time periods. Participants judged whether and how much the intervention affected the outcome. With numerical stimulus information, judgments were higher for a pre-intervention profile in which all values were the same than for pre-intervention profiles with any other kind of trend. With graphical stimulus information, judgments were more sensitive to trends, tending to be higher when an increase after the intervention was preceded by a decreasing series than when it was preceded by an increasing series ending on the same value at the fifth time period. It is suggested that a feature-analytic model, in which the salience of different features of information varies between presentation formats, may provide the best prospect of explaining the results.
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The Sense of agency (SoA) as conceived in experimental paradigms adheres to “cognitive penetration” and “cognitive phenomenology.” Cognitive penetrability is the assumption that agency states penetrate sensory modalities like time perception – the Intentional binding (IB) hypothesis – and auditory, visual and tactile perceptions – the Sensory attenuation (SA) hypothesis. Cognitive phenomenology, on the other hand, assumes that agency states are perceptual or experiential, akin to sensory states. I critically examine these operationalizations and argue that the SoA is a judgment effect rather than a perceptual/phenomenal state. My thesis criticizes the experimentally operationalized implicit SoA (in chapter 2), explicit SoA (in chapter 3) and cue-integrated SoA (in chapter 4) by arguing that: (a) There is uncertainty in the SoA experimental operationalization (making the participants prone to judgment effects); (b) There are inconsistencies and incoherence between different findings and reports in the SoA domain; (c) The SoA reports are influenced by prior as well as online-generated beliefs (under uncertainty); (d) The SoA operationalizations had inaccuracy or approximation standard for measuring perception/experience of agency; (e) Under certainty and accuracy standard (for perception), the SoA (biased or nonveridical) reports might not have occurred at all; and (f) Reported inconsistencies and, the effects of beliefs can be parsimoniously accounted by compositionality nature of judgment. Thus, my thesis concludes that SoA reports are not instances of feelings/perceptions but are judgments.
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We examined whether individual differences in susceptibility to the illusion of control predicted differential vulnerability to depressive responses after a laboratory failure and naturally occurring life stressors. The illusion of control decreased the likelihood that subjects (N= 145) would (a)show immediate negative mood reactions to the laboratory failure, (b) become discouraged after naturally occurring negative life events, and (c) experience increases in depressive symptoms a month later given the occurrence of a high number of negative life events. In addition, the stress-moderating effect of the illusion of control on later depressive symptoms appeared to be mediated in part by its effect on reducing the discouragement subjects experienced from the occurrence of negative life events. These findings provide support for the hopelessness theory of depression and for the optimistic illusion-mental health link.
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Learned helplessness and superstition accounts of uncontrollability predict opposite results for subjects exposed to noncontingent reinforcement. Experiment 1 used the instrumental-cognitive triadic design proposed by Hiroto and Seligman (1975) for the testing of learned helplessness in humans, but eliminated the "failure light" that they introduced in their procedure. Results showed that Yoked subjects tend to superstitious behavior and illusion of control during exposure to uncontrollable noise. This, in turn, prevents the development of learned helplessness because uncontrollability is not perceived. In Experiment 2, the failure feedback manipulation was added to the Yoked condition. Results of this experiment replicate previous findings of a proactive interference effect in humans—often characterized as learned helplessness. This effect, however, does not support learned helplessness theory because failure feedback is needed for its development. It is argued that conditions of response-independent reinforcement commonly used in human research do not lead to learned helplessness, but to superstitious behavior and illusion of control. Different conditions could lead to learned helplessness, but the limits between superstition and helplessness have not yet been investigated.
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Argues that individuals influence the amount of control they subjectively experience by means of their own actions. A review of the empirical evidence shows that (a) systematic interindividual differences exist in probability of action, implying that action can affect control judgments across a wide range of situations; and (b) the action–outcome data used in making control judgments are best described as confirming and disconfirming cases, implying that subjective control experience consists mainly of conjoint probability information. Simple probability theory leads to the conclusion that probability of action contributes to subjective control experience by directly affecting the probability of confirming and disconfirming cases. Implications are discussed in relation to individual difference and task factor determinants of control beliefs, discrepancies between control beliefs and objective conditions, and stability and development of control beliefs across the life span. (99 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Judgments about relationships or covariations between events are central to several areas of research and theory in social psychology. In the present article, the normative, or statistically correct, model for making covariation judgments is outlined in detail. Six steps of the normative model, from deciding what data are relevant to the judgment to using the judgment as a basis for predictions and decisions, are specified. Potential sources of error in social perceivers' covariation judgments are identified at each step, and research on social perceivers' ability to follow each step in the normative model is reviewed. It is concluded that statistically naive individuals have a tenuous grasp of the concept of covariation, and circumstances under which covariation judgments tend to be accurate or inaccurate are considered. Finally, implications for research on attribution theory, implicit personality theory, stereotyping, and perceived control are discussed. (137 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
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The intentional theory of instrumental performance proposes that performance of an action is determined in part by a belief about its causal effectiveness in producing a desired outcome. At variance with this notion, previous implicit learning experiments appear to have yielded dissociations between subjects' performance and beliefs. In two experiments, subjects were given an opportunity to perform an action--pressing a key on a computer keyboard--which was associated with an outcome on the computer screen according to a free-operant contingency. The subjects in one group were asked to judge the effectiveness of the action in causing the outcome, while those in a second group were asked to maximize their points score under a payoff schedule. In the first study, the effect of varying the contingency between the action and outcome was examined by keeping the probability of an outcome contiguous with an action constant and varying the probability of an outcome in the absence of an action. Performance and judgments showed a comparable sensitivity to variations of the instrumental contingency. In the second study, the delay between the action and the resultant outcome was varied. Increasing the action-outcome delay from 0 sec up to 4 sec produced a systematic decline in both causal judgments and performance relative to noncontingent, control conditions. These results are in accord with the intentional theory of performance, but they present difficulties for the notion of implicit learning.
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The study of the mechanism that detects the contingency between events. in both humans and non-human animals, is a matter of considerable research activity. Two broad categories of explanations of the acquisition of contingency information have received extensive evaluation: rule-based models and associative models. This article assesses the two categories of models for human contingency judgments. The data reveal systematic departures in contingency judgments from the predictions of rule-based models. Recent studies indicate that a contiguity model of Pavlovian conditioning is a useful heuristic for conceptualizing human contingency judgments.
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This chapter discusses that experimental psychology is no longer a unified field of scholarship. The most obvious sign of disintegration is the division of the Journal of Experimental Psychology into specialized periodicals. Many forces propel this fractionation. First, the explosion of interest in many small spheres of inquiry has made it extremely difficult for an individual to master more than one. Second, the recent popularity of interdisciplinary research has lured many workers away from the central issues of experimental psychology. Third, there is a growing division between researchers of human and animal behavior; this division has been primarily driven by contemporary cognitive psychologists, who see little reason to refer to the behavior of animals or to inquire into the generality of behavioral principles. The chapter considers the study of causal perception. This area is certainly at the core of experimental psychology. Although recent research in animal cognition has taken the tack of bringing human paradigms into the animal laboratory, the experimental research is described has adopted the reverse strategy of bringing animal paradigms into the human laboratory. A further unfortunate fact is that today's experimental psychologists are receiving little or no training in the history and philosophy of psychology. This neglected aspect means that investigations of a problem area are often undertaken without a full understanding of the analytical issues that would help guide empirical inquiry.
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Previous investigations have shown that perceived contingency between responses and outcomes increases with the frequency of positive outcomes in the absence of actual contingency. In the present experiment with 30 undergraduates, judgments were obtained when both response alternatives were active choices (as in previous experiments), and when one alternative was to make no response. In the latter case, judgments were more accurate and less influenced by the frequency of positive outcomes. This result was predicted by the hypothesis that when both alternatives are active, Ss tend to assume that in the absence of any response no positive outcomes would occur. This faulty assumption, which is hypothesized to be one source of distortion in the judgment of contingency, is ruled out when no response is an explicit alternative within the task. (French abstract) (9 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Investigated the possible role of the conditional probabilities of an outcome given a response P(O/R) and of an outcome given the absence of a response P(O/NoR) in mediating college students' judgments of response–outcome contingency. A total of 150 Ss in 3 experiments were asked to describe the effect that telegraph key tapping had on the brief illumination of a lamp. Ss' ratings along a prevent–cause scale closely approximated the scheduled contingencies between response (R = key tapping) and outcome (O = lamp illumination), as measured by the delta coefficient δP = P(O/R) – P(O/NoR) (Exps 1 and 3). Ss also sensitively rated the conditional probabilities of an outcome when they tapped the key and when they refrained from doing so (Exps 2 and 3). Nevertheless, the evidence failed to support the hypothesis that causal ratings were mediated by subjective judgments of P(O/R) and P(O/NoR) because the errors made in judging the conditional probabilities were not consistent with the errors made judging δP. The authors suggest that an associative explanation derived from a model devised by R. A. Rescorla and A. R. Wagner (1972) might account for these and other results. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Conducted a series of 6 studies involving 631 adults to elucidate the "illusion of control" phenomenon, defined as an expectancy of a personal success probability inappropriately higher than the objective probability would warrant. It was predicted that factors from skill situations (competition, choice, familiarity, involvement) introduced into chance situations would cause Ss to feel inappropriately confident. In Study 1 Ss cut cards against either a confident or a nervous competitor; in Study 2 lottery participants were or were not given a choice of ticket; in Study 3 lottery participants were or were not given a choice of either familiar or unfamiliar lottery tickets; in Study 4, Ss in a novel chance game either had or did not have practice and responded either by themselves or by proxy; in Study 5 lottery participants at a racetrack were asked their confidence at different times; finally, in Study 6 lottery participants either received a single 3-digit ticket or 1 digit on each of 3 days. Indicators of confidence in all 6 studies supported the prediction. (38 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Studies concerned with judgments of contingency between binary variables have often ignored what the variables stand for. The two values of a binary variable can be represented as a prevailing state (nonevent) or as an active state (event). Judgments under the four conditions resulting from the combination of a binary input variable that can be represented as event-nonevent or event-event with an outcome variable that can be represented in the same way were obtained. It is shown in Experiment 1, that judgments of data sets which exhibit the same degree of covariation depend upon how the input and output variables are represented. In Experiment 2 the case where both the input and output variables are represented as event-nonevent is examined. Judgments were higher when the pairing of the input event was with the output event and the input nonevent with the output nonevent that when the pairing was of event with nonevent, suggesting a causal compatibility of event-event pairings and a causal incompatibility of event-nonevent pairings. Experiment 3 demonstrates that judgments of the strength of the relation between binary input and output variables is not based on the appropriate statistical measure, the difference between two conditional probabilities. The overall pattern of judgments in the three experiments is mainly explicable on the basis of two principles: (1) judgments tend to be based on the difference between confirming and disconfirming cases and (2) causal compatibility in the representation of the input and output variables plays a critical role.
Article
In two experiments, positive, negative, and zero response-outcome contingencies were responded to and rated by college students under a free-operant procedure. In Experiment 1, outcomes were either neutral or were associated with point gain. In Experiment 2, subjects were administered different outcome treatments: neutral outcomes, outcomes associated with money gain, or outcomes associated with money loss. In both experiments, subjects' judgments of response-outcome contingency and their operant responses were each strong linear functions of ΔP, the difference between the probability of an outcome given a response and the probability of an outcome given no response. Appetitive and aversive outcomes produced opposite and symmetrical response patterns. In Experiment 1, no differences in ratings occurred with neutral or appetitive outcomes; however, in Experiment 2, more potent appetitve outcomes led to somewhat more extreme ratings than either neutral or aversive outcomes. Increasing outcome probability produced only a slight bias in ratings of noncontingent problems in Experiment 1 and no bias in Experiment 2. Contrary to predictions derived from an analysis of superstitious behavior, increasing outcome probability in noncontingent problems decreased operant responding when outcomes were appetitive and increased operant responding when outcomes were aversive. Trend analyses revealed that Δ P was superior to several other metrics in predicting subjects' estimates of contingency and the behavioral effects of contingency. Operant responding was in closer accord with matching predictions than with maximizing predictions.
Article
In three experiments, college studients responded to and rated a range of positive, random, and negative response-outcome contingencies presented in free-operant formats. These experiments sought a paradigm that would yield sensitive and unbiased judgments of response-outcome relations and explored the role of time in the judgment of response-outcome covariation. In Experiment 1, the effects of making continuous and discrete responses on subjects' contingency judgments were compared. In Experiment 2, the effects of changing the temporal definition of discrete responses were examined as were the effects of the amount of exposure to contingency problems. In Experiment 3, the effects of temporal regularity in defining response occurrence and nonoccurrence were investigated. In all three experiments, subjects' judgments were strong linear functions of the programmed contingencies between telegraph key operation and the illumination of a brief light. This result shows free-operant scheduling of response-outcome contingencies to be a highly sensitive and unbiased method of investigating causal perception. Additionally, judgment accuracy was found to be higher for males than for females and to improve as the probability of the subject's making a recorded response rose from .00 toward .50. Finally, a correlational analysis of several possible judgment rules supported the conclusion that subjects rated response-outcome relations on the basis of the difference in the probability of an outcome given their having recently made or not made a response.
Article
Two experiments investigated the way in which judgments of the extent to which an action caused an outcome changed as more experience of the actionoutcome contingency was presented. In the first experiment judgments increased across trials when there was a positive contingency and decreased when there was a negative contingency. In noncontingent situations judgments were biased by the overall probability of the outcome. In the second experiment the changes across trials under positive and negative contingencies persisted even when the subjects were given the opportunity to dissociate their causality judgments from their degree of confidence in those judgments. The results are at variance with the dP and dD theories which attempt to account for causality judgments in terms of statistical rules based on the probabilities or frequencies of the relevant events. If such theories were modified, however, to take account of the regression of the subjects' estimates onto the actual probabilities or frequencies, then the data could be accommodated. On the other hand, a simple associative view is also able to account for the data.
Article
Tested the hypothesis that an individual will feel control over an outcome if he causes the outcome and if he knows before causing it what he hopes to obtain. 65 male undergraduates were shown 2 consumer items and told that they would get to win 1 by a chance drawing. 2 marbles of different colors were placed in a can and mixed up. One-third of the Ss were told that the E would pick a marble to determine their prize and were told beforehand which marble stood for which prize. Another third were told to select a marble to determine their prize and were told beforehand which marble stood for which prize. The remaining Ss were told to select a marble to determine their prize but were not told until after they had picked their marble which marble stood for which prize. Ss then received a marble which led them to win either the item they preferred or the item they did not prefer. Results strongly support the hypothesis: Ss who caused their own outcome and knew beforehand what they hoped to obtain perceived themselves to have more control over the outcome, more choice about which outcome they received, and more responsibility for their outcome than Ss in the remaining conditions. These results were replicated in a 2nd experiment with the same Ss. The relationship between these studies and previous experiments on control is explored, and some possibilities for future research on control are considered. (23 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
The contingency between conditional and unconditional stimuli in classical conditioning paradigms, and between responses and consequences in instrumental conditioning paradigms, is analyzed. The results are represented in two- and three-dimensional spaces in which points correspond to procedures, or procedures and outcomes. Traditional statistical and psychological measures of association are applied to data in classical conditioning. Root mean square contingency, Ø, is proposed as a measure of contingency characterizing classical conditioning effects at asymptote. In instrumental training procedures, traditional measures of association are inappropriate, since one degree of freedom-response probability-is yielded to the subject. Further analysis of instrumental contingencies yields a surprising result. The well established "Matching Law" in free-operant concurrent schedules subsumes the "Probability Matching" finding of mathematical learning theory, and both are equivalent to zero contingency between responses and consequences.
Article
80 Ss were instructed that their responses on a circular array of pushbuttons determined whether a reward or nonreward would occur. Reward occurrence was preprogrammed and random with the independent variable the relative frequency of reward. Superstitious response preferences and patterns were established as a function of the probability of reward, but rotational sequences for the systematic testing of responses were also established as orderly scanning rules, especially following nonreward. The author distinguishes between collecting and using information in that they are differentially influenced by the uncertainty of outcome and the probability of reward.
Article
Two experiments investigated the role of temporal contiguity in college students' responding to and rating of contingency relations during operant conditioning. Schedules were devised that determined when but not whether appetitive or aversive events would occur. Subjects' reports concerning the schedules were obtained by means of a 200-point rating scale, anchored by the phrases "prevents the light from occurring" (-100) and "causes the light to occur" (+100). When tapping a telegraph key advanced the time of point gain, responding was maintained or increased and subjects gave positive ratings. When tapping a telegraph key advanced the time of point loss, subjects also gave positive ratings, but responding now decreased. When key tapping delayed the time of point gain, responding decreased and subjects gave negative ratings. When key tapping delayed the time of point loss, subjects also gave negative ratings, but responding now increased. These findings implicate response-outcome contiguity as an important contributor to causal perception and to reinforcement and punishment effects. Other accounts-such as those stressing the local probabilistic relation between response and outcome or the molar correlation between response rate and outcome rate-were seen to be less preferred interpretations of these and other results.
Human contingency judgments: Rule based or associative? P.sjcliologiccrl Biillcfin. 114. 435448 Thejudgment ofcontingency and the nature of response alternatives The effect of representations of binary variables on judgment of influence
  • Allan L G L G Allan
  • H Jenkins
Allan. L.G. (1993). Human contingency judgments: Rule based or associative? P.sjcliologiccrl Biillcfin. 114. 435448. Allan. L.G.. & Jenkins, H.hl. (1980). Thejudgment ofcontingency and the nature of response alternatives. Ctinadicin Joitrncil of Psychology, 34, 1-1 I. Allan. L.G.. & Jenkins. H.hl. (1983). The effect of representations of binary variables on judgment of influence. Lrcrrning cmd hlufircifion, 14, 381-105.