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This chapter reviews that nonverbal behavioral assessment of causal judgment is apt to be more veridical than is verbal assessment, which is compromised by the demand characteristics and ambiguities of language. Organisms presumably evolved the ability to learn cause-effect relationships in order to prepare for and sometimes influence future events in the real world, not in order to verbally describe these causal relationships. The use of nonverbal behavioral assessment invites direct comparisons between human causal judgment behavior and animal behavior in similar situations. Cues of high biological relevance appear to be relatively invulnerable to cue competition compared to cues of low biological relevance, which are quite susceptible to cue competition. It discusses that this convergence of findings in the causal judgment and animal learning literatures suggests that the two fields can each benefit by attending to the findings of the other. Another likely finding from studies of cue competition in animals that is profitably examined in causal judgment situations with humans is the learning-performance distinction. There is also some discussion that causal judgments results from those associations that have a forward relationship from one event to another and that are not nor in competition with other associations that are active at the time the target association is tested.
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... Esta se produce cuando se presenta el EC sin ser seguido temporalmente por el EI, así la fuerza de RC disminuye en función de las presentaciones del EC solo hasta que finalmente el EC no provoca la RC. Pavlov (1927) fue el primero en investigar sistemáticamente la extinción y desde entonces muchos investigadores han demostrado la extinción de una RC con diferentes especies y en diferentes preparaciones conductuales (ver Mackintosh, 1974), por lo que se puede afirmar que la extinción es uno de los fenómenos conductuales más robustos. ...
... Por ejemplo, Pavlov (1927) descubrió que un reflejo condicionado establecido por los emparejamientos sucesivos tono-comida, desaparecía o se extinguía, si el tono se presentaba sólo sin la comida. También se ha observado la desaparición de una RC cuando se utilizan como EI drogas (Siegel, 1977), descargas eléctricas (Hall y Perace, 1979) y otros estímulos (ver Mackintosh, 1974). Al parecer la condición necesaria es la ruptura de los emparejamientos causaresultado, lo que supone a la extinción como un efecto robusto que se observa independientemente de la especie o preparación empleada. ...
... La otra fuente de desacuerdo, es la posibilidad de que se adquieran diferentes niveles de condicionamiento después de un entrenamiento con una misma diferencia entre p 1 y p 2 , (Hallam, et al, 1992; Wasserman, Elek, Chatlosh & Baker, 1993). La confluencia entre los estudios de condicionamiento animal y la investigación sobre aprendizaje de juicios de contingencia ha sido señalada en repetidas ocasiones (Dickinson, Shanks & Evenden, 1984; véase Matute, 2002; Miller & Matute, 1996 y De Houwer & Beckers, 2002 para consultar revisiones al respecto). Empleando juicios causales en humanos es posible investigar la capacidad de los sujetos de detectar las relaciones entre una causa y una consecuencia de una manera muy similar a aquella empleada con ratas en la detección de las relaciones EC-EI. ...
... Finalmente, la TDS tiene la ventaja de poder comparar tanto distintas tareas como sujetos muy diferentes. Por ejemplo, el empleo de sujetos humanos o animales ha generado interesantes polémicas en el campo del condicionamiento (por ejemplo en contingencia, véase Miller & Matute, 1996). El empleo de las técnicas de la TDS de Allan et al. (2008) y el empleo mostrado en este trabajo permiten suponer que próximas investigaciones obtendrán ...
According to most conditioning theories, inhibitory learning will occurs if the probability of the unconditioned stimulus (US) in the presence of the conditioned stimulus (CS) or p1 is lower than the probability of the US in the absence of the CS or p2. This paper evaluates if the difference between p1 and p2 required to produce inhibitory conditioning is the same independently of the specific value of those two probabilities. Using an appetitive procedure of Pavlovian conditioning with rats, two extreme values of p2 (low and high) were experimentally compared suggesting that the difference between p1 and p2 required to produce inhibitory conditioning varies with the different value of p1 in a logarithmic fashion, in the same way as many sensory modalities. Also, the improvement of ROC curves over standard learning measures and the utility of Signal Detection Theory are discussed.
... Any theory by which we explain the operations of the understanding, or the origin and connexion of the passions in man, will acquire additional authority, if we find, that the same theory is requisite to explain the same phenomena in all other animals. (Hume, 1777(Hume, /1951 Hume might well have been surprised to see his associative account of causality detection so strongly bolstered by the voluminous literature on learning and behavior in animals (see, e.g., Miller & Matute, 1996; for an insightful comparison between results in human causal judgment and Pavlovian conditioning). ...
The associative learning theory of Robert Rescorla and Allan Wagner has been duly celebrated for its 50-year reign as the predominant model in learning science. One special recognition is warranted: its close correspondence with David Hume's associative theory of causality judgment. Hume's rules by which causes come to suggest effects are not only embraced by the Rescorla-Wagner model, but their mechanistic account makes precise quantitative predictions that can be assessed by empirical evidence rather than by speculation and argumentation. Framed in this way, the Rescorla-Wagner model truly represents the scientific culmination of Hume's philosophical theory of causation. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... Several associative learning experiments have characterized the functional relation between mixed signals and response patterns. These experiments have involved manipulating cue-outcome correlations in nonhumans (see Miller and Matute, 1996 for a review; Wasserman, 1974) and in humans (e.g., Beesley et al., 2015;Van Hamme et al., 1993;Wasserman, 1990;Wasserman and Shaklee, 1984). For example, Wasserman (1990) presented participants with a hypothetical scenario in which the participant was an allergist who was trying to determine which food within a compound, Food AX or Food BX, caused an allergic reaction in their patient. ...
The influence of cue informativeness on human temporal discrimination was evaluated using a peak-interval (PI) procedure. A target moved across the computer monitor, reaching the center at 2 or 4 s. Key presses shot the center of the screen. Participants earned points when shots hit the target and lost points for misses. The target was masked during occasional, extended PI trials, allowing for measurement of temporal discrimination. During PI trials, the screen background color could exert stimulus control by providing information about target speed. Cue informativeness was represented as the correlation (φ) between light or dark green backgrounds and the 2- or 4-s target and was manipulated across 4 conditions: a multiple schedule (φ=1), mixed signals (φ=0.8, 0.4), and a mixed schedule (φ=0). In Experiment 1, participants were randomly assigned to one of the 4 conditions. In Experiment 2, each participant experienced all 4 conditions. Participants learned to respond at both intervals in all conditions. Cue informativeness did not affect peak time or spread. For the most part, temporal distributions of responses for the two background colors suggested a cover-both-bases strategy in the presence of mixed signals. Participants incorporated probabilistic information from cues to allocate responding in time.
... Specifically, these revisions were prompted by the observation of retrospective revaluation in HCL (e.g., backward blocking, Shanks, 1985), which demonstrated that, contrary to the assumptions of traditional associative models, a cue's associative status could be updated on trials on which this cue was absent, but associatively activated by the presentation of a companion stimulus. Because retrospective revaluation was subsequently also detected in animal conditioning preparations (see, e.g., R. R. Miller & Matute, 1996) the study of HCL, which imported the associative account from the animal learning tradition, soon returned the favour by stimulating the identification of new animal learning phenomena. But the debate between associative and statistical models, despite its being so active during the nineties (e.g., Allan, 1993; Shanks, 1995; Shanks et al., 1996), lost some of its strength over the last few years. ...
For more than two decades, researchers have contrasted the relative merits of associative and statistical theories as accounts of human contingency learning. This debate, still far from resolution, has led to further refinement of models within each family of theories. More recently, a third theoretical view has joined the debate: the inferential reasoning account. The explanations of these three accounts differ critically in many aspects, such as level of analysis and their emphasis on different steps within the information-processing sequence. Also, each account has important advantages (as well as critical flaws) and emphasizes experimental evidence that poses problems to the others. Some hybrid models of human contingency learning have attempted to reconcile certain features of these accounts, thereby benefiting from some of the unique advantages of different families of accounts. A comparison of these families of accounts will help us appreciate the challenges that research on human contingency learning will face over the coming years.
... In any case, the predictions of the extended comparator hypothesis are not based merely on the relative strengths of the context–US and A–US associations in the condition in which extended A–US trials were given, but on the stronger context–US (and context–A) associations in the condition in which extended A–US training was given, relative to the condition in which few A–US trials were given. Matute, 1996; Miller & Matute, 1996a, 1996b) had shown that backward blocking is difficult to obtain in a first-order conditioning preparation, which is a result that we attribute to CS X's becoming biologically significant in Phase 1 (i.e., during AX–US trials). Therefore, instead of directly pairing CSs X and A with the US during training, we paired these CSs with a surrogate outcome (O) consisting of a neutral stimulus. ...
Three conditioned lick suppression experiments with rats were performed to assess the influence, following compound training of two stimuli (A and X) with the same outcome (AX-O trials), of extending training of the blocking association (i.e., A-O) on responding to the target stimulus (X) at test. In Experiment 1, backward blocking was attenuated when the blocking association was extensively trained. Experiment 2 showed that forward blocking was also attenuated by extensive further training of the blocking association following the AX-O trials. Experiment 3 contrasted candidate explanations of the results of Experiments 1 and 2 and demonstrated that these results are consistent with the framework of the extended comparator hypothesis (Denniston, Savastano, & Miller, 2001).
... Backward blocking has proven to be more difficult to obtain, unless the associated cues are of low biological significance (Miller & Matute, 1996b ). Cues of high biological significance appear to be resistant to retroactive interference, which may be reasonable from an evolutionary point of view (for further discussion about possible species and task differences in backward blocking, see Miller & Matute, 1996a, 1996b). Backward blocking and recovery from overshadowing are interpretively embraced by the revised RW model. ...
It is said that "absence makes the heart grow fonder." But, when and why does an absent event become salient to the heart or to the brain? An absent event may become salient when its nonoccurrence is surprising. Van Hamme and Wasserman (1994) found that a nonpresented but expected stimulus can actually change its associative status-and in the opposite direction from a presented stimulus. Associative models like that of Rescorla and Wagner (1972) focus only on presented cues; so, they cannot explain this result. However, absent cues can be permitted to change their value by assigning different learning parameters to present and absent cues. Van Hamme and Wasserman revised the Rescorla-Wagner model so that the a parameter is positive for present cues, but negative for absent cues; now, changes in the associative strength of absent cues move in the opposite direction as presented ones. This revised Rescorla-Wagner model can thus explain such otherwise vexing empirical findings as backward blocking, recovery from overshadowing, and backward conditioned inhibition. Moreover, the revised model predicts new effects. For example, explicit information about the absence of nonpresented cues should increase their salience (that is, their negative a value should be larger), leading to stronger associative changes than when no explicit mention is made of cue absence. Support for this prediction is detailed in a new causal judgment experiment in which participants rated the effectiveness of different foods' triggering a patient's allergic reaction. Overall, these and other findings encourage us to view human causal learning from an associative perspective.
... Dickinson et al.'s (1984) study greatly stimulated the study of stimulus competition in humans within an associative framework. Stimulus competition effects, such as the above-mentioned blocking effect (Kamin, 1968), overshadowing (Pavlov, 1927), and relative stimulus validity effect (Wagner, Logan, Haberlandt, & Price, 1968) were initially found in experiments using nonhuman animals and then successfully replicated using predictive or causal judgment preparations with humans (for a demonstration of overshadowing, see Waldmann, 2001; for demonstrations of relative stimulus validity effect, see Kao & Wasserman, 1993; Matute, Arcediano, & Miller, 1996; Van Hamme & Wasserman, 1994). These studies of stimulus competition in human contingency learning demonstrated that, as in conditioning experiments with animals, responding to a target stimulus does not depend only on the number and quality of pairings with the outcome or US (i.e., contiguity), but also on the associative status of any other stimuli that were present during training of the target stimulus. ...
Three experiments examined human processing of stimuli as predictors and causes. In Experiments 1A and 1B, two serial events that both preceded a third were assessed as predictors and as causes of the third event. Instructions successfully provided scenarios in which one of the serial (target) stimuli was viewed as a strong predictor but as a weak cause of the third event. In Experiment 2, participants' preexperimental knowledge was drawn upon in such a way that two simultaneous antecedent events were processed as predictors or causes, which strongly influenced the occurrence of overshadowing between the antecedent events. Although a tendency toward overshadowing was found between predictors, reliable overshadowing was observed only between causes, and then only when the test question was causal. Together with other evidence in the human learning literature, the present results suggest that predictive and causal learning obey similar laws, but there is a greater susceptibility to cue competition in causal than predictive attribution.
... sory preconditioning preparation, whether responding to either a forward or backward blocked CS can be recovered by interpolating a retention interval between blocking treatment and testing of the blocked CS. A sensory preconditioning preparation was used in this experiment because previous studies from our laboratory (e.g., Denniston et al., 1996;R. R. Miller & Matute, 1996a, 1996b showed that backward blocking is difficult to obtain in a first-order conditioning preparation, a result that we attribute to CS X becoming biologically significant in Phase 1 (i.e., during AX-US trials). Therefore, in Experiment 2, instead of directly pairing CSs X and A with the US during training, we paired these CSs with a su ...
This article demonstrates and analyzes spontaneous recovery of stimulus control following both forward and backward blocking in a conditioned suppression preparation with rats. Experiment 1 found, in first-order conditioning, robust forward blocking and an attenuation of it following a retention interval. Experiment 2 showed, in sensory preconditioning, recovery of responding following both forward and backward blocking. Also, the results of this experiment indicated that response recovery to the blocked stimulus cannot be explained by an impaired status of the blocking stimulus after a retention interval. Experiment 3, also in sensory preconditioning, suggested that spontaneous recovery following both forward and backward blocking in Experiment 2 was due to impaired associative activation of the blocking stimulus' representation during testing with the blocked stimulus. Although no contemporary model of associative learning can explain these results, a modification of R. R. Miller and L. D. Matzel's (1988) comparator hypothesis is proposed to do so.
... To maintain consistency throughout the series, Experiment 1 was also conducted within sensory preconditioning. On the one hand, the use of sensory preconditioning potentially limits the generality of the results of this research to instances in which the outcomes are of low biological significance (see Miller & Matute, 1996a, for a discussion). On the other hand, most learning, particularly by humans, involves outcomes of low biological significance; thus, a demonstration of superconditioning effect between neutral stimuli is important, and as far as we know, this is the first examination of the superconditioning effect in a sensory preconditioning paradigm. ...
Three conditioned taste aversion experiments with rats investigated superconditioning. In each experiment, alternate exposures of 2 flavor compounds with a common element (i.e., AB/AS) were administered to establish an inhibitory relationship between the 2 unique elements, B and S, and prior to testing, S was paired with lithium chloride (LiCl). In Experiment 1, pairings of a neutral cue (X) with S in compound with B after the AB/AS exposures resulted in superconditioning between X and S. Extinction of the common element (A) just before the S-LiCl pairing attenuated both the inhibitory relationship between B and S (Experiment 2) and superconditioning between X and S (Experiment 3). These observations suggest that superconditioning consists of enhanced performance rather than enhanced associative acquisition.
... s tradition " sees conditioning as a kind of low-level mechanical process in which the control over a response is passed from one stimulus to another " (p. 152). Rescorla contrasts this interpretation with that which, following Tolman, considers conditioning as a cognitive operation that " involves the learning of relations among events " (p. 158). Miller and Matute (1996), somewhat more eclectic, suggest that in Pavlovian conditioning it may be necessary to distinguish between a " mechanistic " form of acquisition and a form of acquisition in which " the critical learning can be regarded as a purely predictive relation ... such as a cause has to an effect " (p. 134). " Mechanistic " acquisition would per ...
The concept of conditioning as signalization proposed by Ivan P. Pavlov (1927, 1928) is studied in relation to the theory of stimulus-substitution, which is also attributed to him. In the so-called theory of stimulus-substitution a distinction must be made between an empirical principle of substitution and an actual theory of substitution, which can adopt different forms. The Pavlovian theory of substitution--which conceives substitution as a substitution of the unconditioned stimulus (US) by the conditioned stimulus (CS) in the activation of the representation of the former--can be understood as an explanation or model of signalization. Signalization and substitution are answers to different questions, and the level of analysis to which signalization corresponds, is that which concerns the nature of conditioning as an operation of the animal in the environment.
... Demonstrations of "latent learning" in that literature [e.g., (21)] are consistent with the dissociation claimed here. Moreover, modern treatments of conditioning theory often maintain the view that associations between neutral stimuli are readily formed (e.g., [24,31,32)], and that conditioned responses based on such associations can be present or absent, depending upon the incentive value currently assigned to the associated stimuli [e.g., ]. Thus, contemporary learning theory informs us that we might very well expect a dissociation between expression and acquisition effects of drugs upon CPPs. ...
Two experiments investigated the role of the opioid system in sucrose-reinforced conditioned place preferences (CPPs) in rats. Experiment 1 examined the effects of a general opioid antagonist, naltrexone, on the expression of a CPP acquired in the absence of the drug. Subjects were trained to associate one compartment of a two-compartment chamber with sucrose and the other compartment with water. Rats displayed a preference for the sucrose-associated compartment in a choice test without sugar or water available following vehicle saline treatment. Naltrexone doses of 2.5 and 5.0 mg/kg reduced this preference for the sucrose-associated compartment. Experiment 2 examined the effects of naltrexone on the acquisition as well as the expression of CPPS. Different groups of rats received daily injections of either saline, 0.1, 1.0, or 5.0 mg/kg of naltrexone prior to each training session, and then these groups were given a choice test for the CPP after saline or naltrexone injections. Although naltrexone treatment attenuated the expression of CPPs in each group relative to saline treatment, there were no group differences during these tests in the magnitude of the preferences. Moreover, all groups displayed equal acquisition of CPPs despite the fact that naltrexone dose dependently decreased sucrose intake during the training phase. Together, the results indicate that the opioid system modulates the expression but not the acquisition of sucrose-reinforced CPPs.
... These are the prototypical kinds of causes, important enough for survival that many animals have evolved sensitivity to them. Parameters that are indicators of efficient causes-contiguity in space and time, temporal priority, regularity of association, and similarity-affect both judgments of causality by humans (Allan, 1993) and speed of conditioning (Miller & Matute, 1996). ...
Comprehension of a phenomenon involves identifying its origin, structure, substrate, and function, and representing these factors in some formal system. Aristotle provided a clear specification of these kinds of explanation, which he called efficient causes (triggers), formal causes (models), material causes (substrates or mechanisms), and final causes (functions). In this article, Aristotle's framework is applied to conditioning and the computation-versus-association debate. The critical empirical issue is early versus late reduction of information to disposition. Automata theory provides a grammar for models of conditioning and information processing in which that constraint can be represented.
... However, since no real appetitive and aversive outcomes were presented in the present experiment (i.e., the outcomes were endowed with motivational value through instructions), in order for Konorski's theory to explain the present results, it should assume that the instructions enabled the presentation and expectation of the outcomes to activate antagonist central emotional systems. However, this assumption is questionable since one of the most prominent features of this kind of preparations for the study of human learning is precisely their use of stimuli of low (or even null) biological significance (see Miller & Matute, 1996). The results of this experiment can be straightforwardly explained by Pineño and Matute's (2003) integrative model of associative learning (IMAL). ...
Efectos Diferenciales de la Ausencia de Reforzamiento y e l Castigo en Humanos. En una preparación de aprendizaje asociativo, los participantes recibieron reforzamiento parcial (RP) con dos claves diferentes. Para una de las claves, las presentaciones no reforzadas consistieron en emparejamientos de la clave con una consecuencia neutra, mientras que estas presentaciones consistieron en emparejamientos con una consecuencia aversiva para la otra clave. Los resultados mostraron que el entrenamiento de RP produjo una fuerte respuesta ante la clave emparejada con la consecuencia neutra en los ensayos no reforzados. Sin embargo, la respuesta ante la clave emparejada con la consecuencia aversiva en los ensayos no reforzados resultó fuertemente suprimida. Los presentes resultados son problemáticos para las teorías actuales del aprendizaje (p. ej., Rescorla y Wagner, 1972), pero pueden ser explicados por teorías clásicas que incluyen mecanismos motivacionales (p. ej., Konorski, 1967), así como por un modelo recientemente desarrollado, en el cual las expectativas de consecuencias incompatibles compiten por su expresión en la conducta (i.e., Pineño & Matute, 2003).
... Even the classic associationist principle of similarity plays a role in conditioning (e.g., Rescorla and Gillan, 1980;Steinhauer, 1982). There are numerous fine summaries of these important parallels (e.g., Dickinson, 2001;Lovibond, 2003;Miller and Matute, 1996a;Shanks et al., 1996). Recent research has used these associative hypotheses as default explanations for causal reasoning in non-human animals (Blaisdell et al., 2006). ...
Four experiments measured pigeons' pecking at a small touch-screen image (the CS) that moved towards or away from a source of food (the US). The image's effectiveness as a CS was dependent on its motion, direction, and distance relative to the US. Pecking to the CS increased with proximity to the US when the CS moved towards the US (Experiment 1). This held true even when a departing CS signalled a US of greater magnitude (Experiment 2). Response rates to stationary stimuli were greater the closer they were to the hopper; but rate was less than when the same spot was part of a motion towards food, and greater than when it was part of a motion away (Experiment 3). The rate of responding in all three cases (motion towards, stationary, motion away) decreased exponentially with distance from the hopper. The distance and motion effects observed under these Pavlovian contingencies were different when pecking to the spot was required for reinforcement (Experiment 4).
... According to associative models, the strength of the associative link between the cue and the outcome is directly mapped onto a causal judgment, denying or ignoring the possible existence of any further inductive or reasoning process. The importance of these models was increased by their success at accounting for several effects in causal and contingency judgment tasks that had been previously found in animal conditioning preparations, such as acquisition functions (Shanks, 1987), overshadowing, and cue competition (Chapman and Robbins, 1990, Miller & Matute, 1996 Prices & Yates, 1995 for reviews). These effects initially showed that an associative mechanism could account for covariation judgments and causal learning better than a statistical one. ...
Efecto de la frecuencia de juicio en el aprendizaje de relaciones causales generativas y preventivas. El efecto de la frecuencia de juicio es un caso especial del modo de respuesta en el aprendizaje humano de relaciones causales y de covariación, con el que se muestra que el ajuste de los juicios -a DP-, depende del tipo de ensayo previo al juicio, aunque este efecto sólo ocurre cuando la frecuencia del juicio es alta. En dos experimentos se demostró la fiabilidad y generalidad de dicho efecto en tareas de aprendizaje de relaciones causales generativas y preventivas. El primer experimento demostró ese mismo efecto, con un mayor número de ensayo (16) y un mayor grado de contingencia positiva (DP= 0.71) que en estudios previos. El Experimento 2 demostró que la frecuencia del juicio modula también la detección de relaciones de contingencia negativas (DP= -0.5), dado que el ajuste a dicha contingencia dependía del tipo de ensayo precedente en condiciones de alta frecuencia del juicio. Los modelos basados en la acción de un único mecanismo, sea asociativo o estadístico, no pueden explicar fácilmente estos resultados sin incorporar nuevos supuestos. Por tanto, estos resultados aportan nueva evidencia experimental al cuerpo de datos que sugieren que el aprendizaje de relaciones causales en humanos depende de la acción integrada de diferentes mecanismos, como propone el modelo de revisión de creencias. The frequency of judgment effect is a special case of Response Mode effect in human covariation and causal learning. Judgment adjustment -to DP-, depends on the trial type preceding that judgment, but that effect is restricted to situations in which participants are asked to make their judgments with a high frequency. Two experiments further demonstrated the reliability and the generality of this effect in positive and negative causal learning tasks. Experiment 1 yielded similar judgment frequency effects with a higher positive contingency (DP= 0.71) and a larger block size (n=16) than in previous studies. Experiment 2 showed that judgment frequency also modulates the detection of negative contingency (DP= -0.5), as far as judgment accuracy was shown to be a function of the type of trial just preceding that judgment in the high frequency group. Associative and statistical models of covariation learning cannot easily explain these results without incorporating relevant post-hoc assumptions. These findings add new-evidence to the growing body of data showing that human causal learning depends on the action of several mechanisms, as proposed by the Belief Revision Model.
... One might wonder whether the same principles apply in a conditioned suppression situation (as in the rat studies of Escobar et al., 2003) and a causal judgment situation (as in the present article). However, the similarities in the effects of preexposure, context change, negative summation, and breaks between preexposure and conditioning in the two response systems suggest that the preparation described here provides a human latentinhibition situation with good face and construct validity (see, e.g., Miller & Matute, 1996;Shanks & Dickinson, 1987, for further discussion of this similarity). The reliability of our manipulation is yet to be demonstrated with other tasks and response systems. ...
Latent inhibition refers to attenuated responding to Cue X observed when the X-outcome pairings are preceded by X-alone presentations. It has proven difficult to obtain in human adults unless the preexposure (X-alone) presentations are embedded within a masking (i.e., distracting) task. The authors hypothesized that the difficulty in obtaining latent inhibition with unmasked tasks is related to the usual training procedures, in which the preexposure and conditioning experiences are separated by a set of instructions. Experiment 1 reports latent inhibition without masking in a task in which preexposure and conditioning occur without interruption. Experiments 2 and 3 demonstrate that this attenuation in responding to target Cue X does not pass a summation test for conditioned inhibition and is context specific, thereby confirming that it is latent inhibition. Experiments 3 and 4 confirm that introducing instructions between preexposure and conditioning disrupts latent inhibition.
... Other more complex causal ordering experiments have been conducted with rats that indicate that rats can solve these causal problems. Blocking (Kamin, 1969), Backward blocking (Miller & Matute, 1996), and the difference between common cause and common effect training (Beckers, Miller, De Houwer, & Urushihara, 2006) have all been ...
Theories of causal cognition describe how animals code cognitive primitives such as causal strength, directionality of relations, and other variables that allow inferences on the effect of interventions on causal links. We argue that these primitives and importantly causal generalization can be studied within an animal learning framework. Causal maps and other Bayesian approaches provide a normative framework for studying causal cognition, and associative theory provides algorithms for computing the acquisition of data-driven causal knowledge.
... Such attempts to compare learning in humans and non-human animals are rare (see Miller and Matute, 1996, for a notable exception), primarily due to the problem of developing a human conditioning task that is analogous to animal studies and also lends itself to analysis in terms of general theories of delay (e.g., Revusky, 1971). While humans undoubtedly employ higherorder cognitive processes that are unavailable to other species, there are some striking similarities between learning across delays in humans and animals, and in light of the present data it seems likely that under at least some conditions learning across species may be governed by the same mechanisms. ...
... Instead, relatively weakly reliable signals can trigger preparatory avoidance behavior, and this behavior is enhanced, as the outcome is more likely to follow them. We used humans as subjects but given the enormous similarities between humans and other species in their detection of contingencies and conditioned behavior (for reviews see Escobar & Miller, 2012;Lo´pez & Shanks, 2008;Miller & Matute, 1996;Wasserman et al., 1996) we assume that the results can possibly be extended to other animals as well. An interesting question for further research would be whether this finding can be extended to other, more autonomic response systems, such as salivation, nausea or immune reactions, to mention just a few. ...
A stimulus is a reliable signal of an outcome when the probability that the outcome occurs in its presence is different from in its absence. Reliable signals of important outcomes are responsible for triggering critical anticipatory or prepara-tory behavior, which is any form of behavior that prepares the organism to receive a biologically significant event. Previous research has shown that humans and other animals prepare more for outcomes that occur in the presence of highly reliable (i.e., highly contingent) signals, that is, those for which that difference is larger. However, it seems reason-able to expect that, all other things being equal, the probability with which the outcome follows the signal should also affect preparatory behavior. In the present experiment with humans, we used two signals. They were differentially fol-lowed by the outcome, but they were equally (and relatively weakly) reliable. The dependent variable was preparatory behavior in a Martians video game. Participants prepared more for the outcome (a Martians' invasion) when the out-come was most probable. These results indicate that the probability of the outcome can bias preparatory behavior to occur with different intensities despite identical outcome signaling.
... Intuition suggests that it is our memories of event co-occurrences that influences these associations. (Allan, 1980;Baker, Murphy, & Vallee-Tourangeau, 1996;Miller & Matute, 1996;Wasserman, Dorner, & Kao, 1990). The study of how events become associated, the content of the association, and how the association is influenced by unpaired presentations of the events provide insights into how humans extract a relational structure of events in their environment and potentially use these memories to make causal inferences (Griffiths & Tenenbaum, 2005). ...
The strength of the learned relation between two events, a model for causal perception, has been found to depend on their overall statistical relation, and might be expected to be related to both training trial frequency and trial duration. We report five experiments using a rapid-trial streaming procedure containing Event 1-Event 2 pairings (A trials), Event 1-alone (B trials), Event 2-alone (C trials), and neither event (D trials), in which trial frequencies and durations were independently varied. Judgements of association increased with increasing frequencies of A trials and decreased with increasing frequencies of both B and C trials but showed little effect of frequency of D trials. Across five experiments, a weak but often significant effect of trial duration was also detected, which was always in the same direction as trial frequency. Thus, both frequency and duration of trials influenced learning, but frequency had decidedly stronger effects. Importantly, the benefit of more trials greatly outweighed the observed reduction in effect size caused by a proportional decrease in trial duration. In experiment 5, more trials of proportionately shorter duration enhanced effects on contingency judgments despite a shortening of the training session. We consider the observed 'frequency advantage' with respect to both frequentist models of learning and models based on information. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... -1-0-+1-From a functional viewpoint, conditioning can be seen as a capacity aimed at predicting, or anticipating, significant outcomes. Consequently, it is not surprising that many researchers proposed that causal learning is just another type of associative learning, or at least that it can be understood by appealing to similar mechanisms (Miller and Matute, 1996;Shanks and Dickinson, 1987). After all, both of them seem to serve the common goal of adapting be hav ior to better predict and produce relevant events. ...
In the last decades, cognitive Psychology has provided researchers with a powerful background and the rigor of experimental methods to better understand why so many people believe in pseudoscience, paranormal phenomena and superstitions. According to recent evidence, those irrational beliefs could be the unintended result of how the mind evolved to use heuristics and reach conclusions based on scarce and incomplete data. Thus, we present visual illusions as a parallel to the type of fast and frugal cognitive bias that underlies pseudoscientific belief. In particular, we focus on the causal illusion, which consists of people believing that there is a causal link between two events that coincide just by chance. The extant psychological theories that can account for this causal illusion are described, as well as the factors that are able to modulate the bias. We also discuss that causal illusions are adaptive under some circumstances, although they often lead to utterly wrong beliefs. Finally, we mention several debiasing strategies that have been proved effective in fighting the causal illusion and preventing some of its consequences, such as pseudoscientific belief.
... Another possibility is that food, being more biologically salient, provides a more effective framework for discovering MHD strategies. Miller and Matute (1996) found that in conditioning experiments, rats exhibit backward blocking (decrease in response when exposed to a previously conditioned stimulus) when the target stimuli have low biological significance that is not observed with target stimuli of high biological significance. In other words, the significance of the potential prize may change the effectiveness of training the strategy. ...
Organisms undertake actions on the basis of perceptions. Perceptions serve as the basis for what an agent takes to be the case; that is, for the agent’s beliefs. However, the idea of belief is freighted with notions of fallibility and subjectivity, since belief is often considered insofar as it is distinct from knowledge. Here, an attempt is made to link belief more closely with perception and action. This linkage is shown by considering the role belief plays in determining behavior, which is distinct from the role belief plays in language-based philosophical accounts of content and intention. These two notions of belief, and the separation between them, are the subjects of four experiments in which a method of introducing bias in participant responses is employed. In a perceptual task based on the Asch line-length judgment paradigm, participants showed a propensity to respond in keeping with the induced bias rather than with stimulus properties. In a cognitive task based on the Monty Hall Dilemma, participants’ responses were consistent with the induced bias but were less consistent with the best MHD strategy. Experiment 1 established the line-length methodology, which was extended in Experiment 2. Experiment 3 employed the MHD paradigm. Experiment 4 brought the current line-length paradigm into closer contact with the classic Asch paradigm. The overall results were consistent with the claim that belief-as-action and belief-as-assent can, theoretically and methodologically, be treated separately.
... 4 The male chased red crossbills down an alley between two buildings while the female interrupted their flight so the crossbills turned their direction and flew into a pane of glass in one of the buildings. Because of the 1 See, for instance, Miller and Matute (1996). 2 See Brown and Cook (2006) and its many references. ...
The sense of causality is something we have inherited from our long-gone ancestors. Today we know that many higher animals, besides Homo sapiens, are capable of causal understanding. In the paper I give some examples of how birds and animals have an embodied insight in causal processes, and I discuss what we can learn from them about our own causal intuitions. Next, I argue that these intuitions determine the criteria by which we are able to decide what counts as causes in physics or biology. Hence I try to give a naturalistic account of our concept of causality. However, when it comes to explanations in the sciences I make a pragmatic distinction between causes and causal processes. I do so by holding that causes are external to a particular system whereas causal processes are internal to a particular system. But at the same time I hold that how we divide between system and sub-system depends on the research problems we are interested in and therefore on the type of explanation-seeking questions we seek to answer. Finally, I discuss emergence in connection with System biology and causation.
... However, some deem these parallels to be inadequate to prove causal understanding in animals, because these studies concern merely making predictions about the temporal and spatial relations between observable events. This might be a bogus argument; causal understanding even in humans is based on the observation of temporal and spatial regularities in the environment (e.g., Allan, 1993;Dickinson, 2001;Miller & Matute, 1996;Shanks, 1995;Wasserman, 1990b). ...
Although its origins can be traced to philosophical speculations of the 16th and 17th centuries, for the past 100 years research in comparative cognition has used the methods of natural science to discover the extent to which our mental functions are similar to those of other animals. Are animals intelligentWhat do we know about animals' cognitive capacitiesWhat forms and aspects of cognition have been studiedWhat methods have been used in this research realmWhat findings have emergedIn this chapter, we will see how animals respond to the passage of time, how they remember the past, how they respond effectively in the present, and how they plan for the future. We will also learn that animals can master abstract and numerical concepts, and even exhibit signs of analogical reasoning as well as many of the precursors to human symbolic language. We will also consider the possibility that animals may monitor their current state of knowledge to control their own behavior in an adaptive way. This sampling of topics, methods, and findings should provide a good introduction to the current state of the science of comparative cognition.Keywords:Comparative psychology;animal cognition;abstract conceptualization
A noncontingent experience affects the subsequent detection of positive and negative contingencies between the same events.
Experiments 1 and 2 showed that such preexposure can produce both an impairment in the detection of subsequent positive contingency
and a facilitation of a negative one, independent of the level of contingency during the contingent phase. Experiment 3 raised
difficulties for a model that assumes that associations to the context can explain this asymmetrical effect. Experiment 4
suggested that the different weights usually assigned to the different types of trials when computing the contingency between
events can change as a result of a noncontingent experience with the same events. This change supports an account of the asymmetrical
effect by a belief revision model based on a mechanism that updates the weights of the different trial types as a function
of previous experience. More generally, the belief revision model is a statistical (i.e., nonassociative) model of learning
that is capable of accounting for trial-order effects, which have long posed problems for statistical models.
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).
Associative and statistical theories of causal and predictive learning make opposite predictions for situations in which the most recent information contradicts the information provided by older trials (e.g., acquisition followed by extinction). Associative theories predict that people will rely on the most recent information to best adapt their behavior to the changing environment. Statistical theories predict that people will integrate what they have learned in the two phases. The results of this study showed one or the other effect as a function of response mode (trial by trial vs. global), type of question (contiguity, causality, or predictiveness), and postacquisition instructions. That is, participants are able to give either an integrative judgment, or a judgment that relies on recent information as a function of test demands. The authors concluded that any model must allow for flexible use of information once it has been acquired.
Two experiments examined the impact of response-independent outcome delivery on human rates of response and judgments of control in an instrumental conditioning task. In Experiment 1, when participants responded on a schedule with a relatively high probability of a response producing an outcome, a random ratio (RR-5), judgments of control declined as rates of response-independent outcomes increased. However, when response-dependent outcomes were delivered with a relatively low probability (RR-15), increasing the rate of response-independent outcomes increased rates of response and judgments of control. Experiment 2 replicated this effect, but also noted a differential effect of response-independent outcome and response-independent sensory presentations on response rate and judgments of causal effectiveness. Ratings of the context in which the conditioning occurred suggested these were correlated with total outcome presentation, and that the role of context on response rate and judgments of control may be important to consider.
Este libro nace a partir de un symposium titulado "Extinción y recuperación de la información en aprendizaje causal: perspectivas teóricas" organizado en el marco del XV Congreso de la Sociedad Española de Psicología Comparada, celebrado en Barcelona en septiembre del año 2003 y en el que la mayoría de los grupos hispanos dedicados a este tema presentaron los últimos avances de sus investigaciones y reflexiones teóricas.
Trabajos en extenso presentados en el Symposium titulado "Extinción y recuperación de la
información en aprendizaje causal: perspectivas teóricas" organizado en el marco del XV
Congreso de la Sociedad Española de Psicología Comparada, celebrado en Barcelona en
septiembre del año 2003 y en el que la mayoría de los grupos hispanos dedicados a este
tema presentaron los últimos avances de sus investigaciones y reflexiones teóricas.
Continuous causation, in which incremental changes in one variable cause incremental changes in another, has received little attention in the causal judgment literature. A video game was adapted for the study of continuous causality in order to examine the novel cues to causality that are present in these paradigms. The spatial proximity of an object to an "enemy detector" produced auditory responses as a function of the object's proximity. Participants' behavior was a function of the range of the effect's auditory sensitivity and the moment-to-moment likelihood of detection. This new paradigm provides a rich platform for examining the cues to causation encountered in the learning of continuous causal relations.
Five conditioned lick-suppression experiments with water-deprived rats examined the possibility that simultaneous and backward associations are learned, but are not expressed as anticipatory responses in common indexes of associative strength. Experiments 1–4 used a sensory preconditioning procedure in which clicks preceded the onset of a tone. Subsequently, the tone was paired with footshock in either a forward, simultaneous, or backward arrangement. In no case did the tone trained in the simultaneous or backward manner elicit a conditioned response. However, Experiments 1, 2, and 3 determined that the clicks, which predicted the tone, evoked equally strong conditioned responses regardless of whether the tone was paired with the shock in a forward, simultaneous, or backward manner. Experiment 4 found that responding to the clicks was degraded following postconditioning extinction of the tone, regardless of whether the tone had been paired with the shock in a forward or simultaneous manner. Experiment 5 determined that if the click and tone were paired simultaneously, the click failed a test for excitation following tone-shock simultaneous pairings but passed a test for excitation following tone-shock forward pairings. Collectively, these findings suggest that predictive information (i.e., a forward relationship between stimuli) is not necessary for the acquisition of an association, but may promote the expression of the association in an anticipatory response system. Moreover, these results suggest that associations are not simple linkages, but contain information regarding the temporal relationship of the associates.
Detecting the causal relations among environmental events is an important facet of learning. Certain variables have been identified which influence both human causal attribution and animal learning: temporal priority, temporal and spatial contiguity, covariation and contingency, and prior experience. Recent research has continued to find distinct commonalities between the influence these variables have in the two domains, supporting a neo-Humean analysis of the origins of personal causal theories. The cues to causality determine which event relationships will be judged as causal; personal causal theories emerge as a result of these judgments and in turn affect future attributions. An examination of animal learning research motivates further extensions of the analogy. Researchers are encouraged to study real-time causal attributions, to study additional methodological analogies to conditioning paradigms, and to develop rich learning accounts of the acquisition of causal theories.
Recent research has shown superstitious behaviour and illusion of control in human subjects exposed to the negative reinforcement conditions that are traditionally assumed to lead to the opposite outcome (i.e. learned helplessness). The experiments reported in this paper test the generality of these effects in two different tasks and under different conditions of percentage (75% vs. 25%) and distribution (random vs. last-trials) of negative reinforcement (escape from uncontrollable noise). All three experiments obtained superstitious behaviour and illusion of control and question the generality of learned helplessness as a consequence of exposing humans to uncontrollable outcomes.
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.
Argues that people use systematic rules for assessing cause, both in science and everyday inference. By explicating the processes that underlie the judgment of causation, the authors review and integrate various theories of causality proposed by psychologists, philosophers, statisticians, and others. Because causal judgment involves inference and uncertainty, the literature on judgment under uncertainty is also considered. It is suggested that the idea of a "causal field" is central for determining causal relevance, differentiating causes from conditions, determining the salience of alternative explanations, and affecting molar versus molecular explanations. Various "cues-to-causality" such as covariation, temporal order, contiguity in time and space, and similarity of cause and effect are discussed, and it is shown how these cues can conflict with probabilistic ideas. A model for combining the cues and the causal field is outlined that explicates methodological issues such as spurious correlation, "causalation," and causal inference in case studies. The discounting of an explanation by specific alternatives is discussed as a special case of the sequential updating of beliefs. Conjunctive explanations in multiple causation are also considered. (120 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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)
The "knowledge structure" approach in attribution theory suggests that events interpretable as serving an actor's goals may dispose toward conjunctive explanations. In 2 studies, 68 undergraduates were presented vignettes about an individual undertaking goal-related activities and were asked to assign probability ratings to single explanatory reasons and to their conjunctions. Conjunctive explanations were rated more probable than one or more of their components for both mundane and important actions, for triple as well as simple conjunctions, for both goal-based and precondition-based reasons, and for various average probability levels. Conjunction effects were not found, however, for explanations of why an actor failed to take an action. Three theoretical approaches that might account for these results are compared, and it is concluded that a knowledge structure approach is less problematic than either a multiple-necessary and multiple-sufficient schema approach, or one based on H. J. Einhorn and R. M. Hogarth's (1983) model of causal strength. An attempt is made to reconcile conjunction effects with the "discounting principle" of classical attribution theory. (25 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Water-deprived rats served in seven conditioned lick suppression experiments designed to assess the effects on responding
to a target CS of a series of unsignaled USs given in the training context following completion of CS training. Such treatment
has been hypothesized to increase (inflate) the associative strength of the background cues from training (putatively, the
CS’s comparator stimuli), thereby reducing responding to excitatory CSs and increasing the inhibitory potential of inhibitory
CSs. Although posttraining extinction (deflation) of the CS’s comparator stimuli usually decreases inhibitory potential and
increases excitatory potential of the target CS, posttraining inflation of the comparator stimuli had no effect on either
excitatory responding to the target CS or summation test performance indicative of conditioned inhibition. This outcome was
consistently obtained across a number of training, inflation, and test conditions selected to maximize sensitivity to any
possible effects of comparator inflation. Implications of these null results for the comparator hypothesis of conditionedresponse
In 4 experiments, 144 depressed and 144 nondepressed undergraduates (Beck Depression Inventory) were presented with one of a series of problems varying in the degree of contingency. In each problem, Ss estimated the degree of contingency between their responses (pressing or not pressing a button) and an environmental outcome (onset of a green light). Depressed Ss' judgments of contingency were suprisingly accurate in all 4 experiments. Nondepressed Ss overestimated the degree of contingency between their responses and outcomes when noncontingent outcomes were frequent and/or desired and underestimated the degree of contingency when contingent outcomes were undesired. Thus, predictions derived from social psychology concerning the linkage between subjective and objective contingencies were confirmed for nondepressed but not for depressed Ss. The learned helplessness and self-serving motivational bias hypotheses are evaluated as explanations of the results. (41/2 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
Recent research on contingency judgment indicates that the judged predictiveness of a cue is dependent on the predictive strengths of other cues. Two classes of models correctly predict such cue interaction: associative models and statistical models. However, these models differ in their predictions about the effect of trial order on cue interaction. In five experiments reported here, college students viewed trial-by-trial data regarding several medical symptoms and a disease, judging the predictive strength of each symptom with respect to the disease. The results indicate that trial order influences the manner in which cues interact, but that neither the associative nor the statistical models can fully account for the data pattern. A possible variation of an associative account is discussed.
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.
Proposes a theoretical framework for understanding and integrating people's and animals' covariation assessment. It is argued that covariation perception is determined by the interaction between 2 sources of information: (a) the organism's prior expectations about the covariation between 2 events and (b) current situational information provided by the environment about the objective contingency between the events. Both accuracies and errors in people's and animals' covariation assessments are analyzed within this interactional theoretical framework. Four lines of research are reviewed in support of this analysis. The issue of accuracy vs rationality in covariation assessment is considered. (8 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Ciiven the task of di the source of a patient's aUer^'ic reav-tion. college students jiuigcii the causal efficacy of common (A') and distinctive (A and Bj elements of compound stimuli: AX and BX. As the differential correlation of AX and BX with the occurrence and nonoccurrence ofthe allergic reaction rose from .00 to 1.00. ratings of ihe distinctive A and B elements diverged; most importantly, ratings ofthe common X element fell. These causal judgments of humans closely parallel the conditioned responses of animals in associa-tive learning studies, and clearly disclose that stimuli compete with one another for control over behavior.
The influence of the prior causal knowledge of subjects on the rate of learning, the categories formed, and the attributes attended to during learning is explored. Conjunctive concepts are thought to be easier for subjects to learn than disjunctive concepts. Conditions are reported under which the opposite occurs. In particular, it is demonstrated that prior knowledge can influence the rate of concept learning, and that the influence of prior causal knowledge can dominate the influence of the logical form. A computational model of this learning task is presented. To represent the prior knowledge of the subjects, an extension to explanation-based learning is developed to deal with imprecise domain knowledge.
Three experiments tested a simple connectionist network approach to human categorization. The specific network considered consists of a layer of input nodes, each representing a feature of the exemplar to be categorized, connected in parallel to a layer of output nodes representing the categories. Learning to categorize exemplars consists of adjusting the weights in the network so as to increase the probability of making correct categorizations; weight changes are determined by the Rescorla-Wagner (1972) learning rule. The experiments used a simulated medical diagnosis procedure in which subjects have to decide which disease (the category) each of a series of patients is suffering from on the basis of the patients' symptoms (the features). After a series of trials, the subjects rated the extent to which particular symptoms were associated with particular diseases. In each of the experiments, it is shown that a process of selective learning occurs in this categorization task and that selection in turn depends on the relative predictiveness of the symptom for the disease. Such effects parallel results found in animal conditioning experiments and are readily reproduced by the connectionist network model. The results are also discussed in terms of a variety of traditional theories of categorization.
Three experiments examined the role of the degree of temporal contiguity between an action and an outcome in human causality judgement. In all the experiments subjects were required to perform an action—pressing a key on a computer keyboard—and to judge the extent to which the action caused an outcome on the computer screen to occur. The action and outcome occurred on a free-operant schedule. In the first experiment a 2-sec delay between the action and outcome reduced causality judgements relative to a situation in which there was no delay. In the second experiment judgements in conditions with delays of 0, 4, 8, and 16 sec were compared with judgements in conditions in which the same pattern of outcomes occurred non-contingently with respect to the subjects' responding. In both of these experiments the events were controlled by random ratio schedules, following the procedure of Wasserman, Chatlosh, and Neunaber (1983), in which each condition was divided into 1-sec intervals. In the third experiment judgements in conditions with delays of 0, 2, 4, or 8 sec were compared in a continuous procedure rather than one divided into 1-sec intervals. In all experiments the increasing delays led to progressively lower judgements of causality. The results are related to three accounts of the mechanism underlying human causality judgement and are also compared with results from analogous animal conditioning studies.
In the first experiment subjects were presented with a number of sets of trials on each of which they could perform a particular action and observe the occurrence of an outcome in the context of a video game. The contingency between the action and outcome was varied across the different sets of trials. When required to judge the effectiveness of the action in controlling the outcome during a set of trials, subjects assigned positive ratings for a positive contingency and negative ratings for a negative contingency. Furthermore, the magnitude of the ratings was related systematically to the strength of the actual contingency. With a fixed probability of an outcome given the action, judgements of positive contingencies decreased as the likelihood that the outcome would occur without the action was raised. Correspondingly, the absolute value of ratings of negative contingencies was increased both by an increment in the probability of the outcome in the absence of the action and by a decrement in the probability of the outcome following the action. A systematic bias was observed, however, in that positive judgements were given under a non-contingent relationship when the outcome frequency was relatively high. However, this bias could be reduced by giving extended exposure to the non-contingent schedule (Experiment 2).
This pattern of contingency judgements can be explained if it is assumed that a process of selective attribution operates, whereby people are less likely to attribute an outcome to some potential target cause if another effective cause is present. Experiments 2 and 3 demonstrated the operation of this process by showing that initially establishing another agent as an effective cause of the outcome subsequently reduced or blocked the extent to which the subjects attributed the outcome to the action.
Finally, we argue that the pattern and bias in contingency judgements based upon interactions with a causal process can be explained in terms of contemporary conditioning models of associative learning.
According to Martin and Levey (1987) evaluative conditioning is different from signal learning, i.e. the acquisition of knowledge about predictive relations between environmental events. The hypothesis was tested that evaluative conditioning, unlike signal learning, does not require awareness of the CS-US contingency. In three pilot experiments it was demonstrated that pairing neutral stimuli with either liked or disliked stimuli is sufficient to change neutral stimuli into a positive or negative direction. As indicated by postconditioning recognition questionnaires, this evaluative shift did not require and was not even influenced by contingency awareness. These findings were replicated and corroborated in an experiment, using a concurrent awareness assessment procedure and more fine-grained evaluative response measurements. The relevance of this conditioning without contingency awareness is discussed in the context of recent information processing models of Pavlovian conditioning.
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.
College students rated the causal efficacy of Elements X, A, and B of food compounds AX and BX in producing the allergic reaction of a hypothetical patient. The results of a 16-day allergy test were presented to subjects in a serial, trial-by-trial manner. The response format used was a running estimate, in which subjects were asked to rate all of the three foods after each of the 16 trials. Ratings of distinctive Elements A and B diverged and ratings of common Element X decreased as the difference in the correlation of AX and BX with the occurrence and nonoccurrence of the allergic reaction increased. These human causal judgments closely correspond with stimulus selection effects observed in the conditioned responses of animals in associative learning studies. The experiment also directly demonstrated the fact that significant changes in the causal ratings of a stimulus occur on trials in which the cue is not presented. Associative theories such as that of Rescorla and Wagner (1972) predict changes in associative strength only for those stimulus elements that are presented on a particular trial. A modification of the Rescorla-Wagner model is described that correctly predicts immediate changes in the associative strengths of all relevant cues on each trial—whether presented or not.
This chapter discusses the associative accounts of causality judgment. The perceptual and cognitive approaches to causal attribution can be contrasted with a more venerable tradition of associationism. The only area of psychology that offered an associative account of a process sensitive to causality is that of conditioning. An instrumental or operant conditioning procedure presents a subject with a causal relationship between an action and an outcome, the reinforcer; performing the action either causes the reinforcer to occur under a positive contingency or prevents its occurrence under a negative one, and the subjects demonstrate sensitivity to these causal relationships by adjusting their behavior appropriately. Most of these associative theories are developed to explain classic or Pavlovian conditioning rather than the instrumental or operant variety, but there are good reasons for assuming that the two types of conditioning are mediated by a common learning process.
Three experiments investigated whether a process akin to L. J. Kamin's (1969) blocking effect would occur with human contingency judgments in the context of a video game. 102 students were presented with sets of trials on each of which they could perform a particular action and observe whether the action produced a particular outcome in a situation in which there was an alternative potential cause of the outcome. Exp I showed that prior observation of the relationship between the alternative cause and the outcome did indeed block or reduce learning about the subsequent action-outcome relationship. However, exposure to the relationship between the alternative cause and the outcome after observing the association between the action and the outcome also reduced judgments of the action-outcome contingency (backward blocking), a finding at variance with conditioning theory. In Exp II, it was found that the degree of backward blocking depended on the predictive value of the alternative cause. Finally, Exp III showed that the backward blocking effect was not the result of greater forgetting about the action-outcome relationship in the experimental than in the control condition. Results cast doubt upon the applicability of contemporary theories of conditioning to human contingency judgment.
Examines the varied measures of contingency that have appeared in the psychological judgment literature concerning binary variables. It is argued that accurate judgments about related variables should not be used to infer that the judgments are based on appropriate information. (9 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
When 2 cues occur together and reliably predict an outcome, Ss often judge the effect of the compound as reducible to the individual effects of the elements. This elemental processing in predictive learning is perhaps the single most important aspect of most theories of human inference. Surprisingly, selectional processing was not observed in either blocking or conditioned inhibition problems. Only when the learner had past experience with another problem encouraging an elemental strategy were the expected selectional processes observed. These proactive effects of prior learning were abolished if the earlier problem required a nonadditive solution. The results suggest that configural cues were guiding predictive inferences in the absence of elemental processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
When faced with the task of making a prediction or estimating a likelihood, it is argued that people often reason about the presence or absence and relative strength of possible causal mechanisms for the production of relevant outcomes. In so doing people rely on “causal cues” or properties of an inferential problem which indicate the nature of the particular causal processes which give rise to specific outcomes. It is hypothesized that causal cues, precisely because they focus attention and thought on specific causal mechanisms, can obscure the relevance of mathematical laws of probability and lead to statistically biased judgment. Two experiments were conducted. Their results support the hypothesis, showing that the incidence of the conjunction fallacy and the base rate fallacy depend on task-specific cues for causal reasoning.
Much literature attests to the existence of order effects in the updating of beliefs. However, under what conditions do primacy, recency, or no order effects occur? This paper presents a theory of belief updating that explicitly accounts for order-effect phenomena as arising from the interaction of information-processing strategies and task characteristics. Key task variables identified are complexity of the stimuli, length of the series of evidence items, and response mode (Step-by-Step or End-of-Sequence). A general anchoring-and-adjustment model of belief updating is proposed. This has two forms depending on whether information is processed in a Step-by-Step or End-of-Sequence manner. In addition, the model specifies that evidence can be encoded in two ways, either as a deviation relative to the size of the preceding anchor or as positive or negative vis-à-vis the hypothesis under consideration. Whereas the former (labeled estimation mode) results in data consistent with averaging models of judgment, the latter (labeled evaluation mode) implies adding models. Conditions are specified under which (a) evidence is encoded in estimation or evaluation modes and (b) use is made of the Step-by-Step or End-of-Sequence processing strategies. The theory is shown both to account for much existing data and to make novel predictions for combinations of task characteristics where current data are sparse. Some of these predictions are examined and validated in a series of five experiments. Finally, both the theory and the experimental results are discussed with respect to the structure of models of updating processes, limitations and extensions of the present work, and the importance of developing a procedural theory of judgment.
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)
Stimulus competition was studied in college students' correlational judgments in a medical decision-making setting. In accord
with prior findings, subjects making cause-to-effect (predictive) judgments discounted a stimulus event that was moderately
correlated with a target event when rival stimuli were more highly correlated with the effect. However, subjects making effect-to-cause
(diagnostic) judgments were not at all disposed to discount a stimulus event which was moderately correlated with a target
event when rival stimuli were more highly correlated with the cause. The theoretical implications of these results are considered
in connection with associative and mentalistic models of causal attribution.
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.
An unsalient stimulus, or one imperfectly correlated with reinforcement, may acquire significant control over responding, provided that it is the only available signal for reinforcement, but may fail to acquire control if it is reinforced only in conjunction with a second, more salient or more valid stimulus. A stimulus imperfectly correlated with reinforcement may also lose control over responding if having initially been reinforced in isolation, it is subsequently reinforced only in conjunction with another, more valid stimulus. If the effects of relative salience are to be explained in exactly the same way as those of relative validity, we should expect a similar loss of control by an unsalient stimulus, A, if, after initial consistently reinforced trials to A alone, subjects subsequently receive reinforcement only in the presence of a compound stimulus, A + B. Two experiments on discrete-trial discrimination learning in pigeons and one on conditioned suppression in rats confirm this expectation. The results have implications for theories of selective association in conditioning and discrimination learning.
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.
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.
Three experiments are reported in which conditioned lick suppression by water-deprived rats was used as an index of associative strength. In Experiment 1, overshadowing of a light by a tone was observed when the light-tone compound stimulus was paired with foot shock. After initial compound pairings, the tone-shock association was extinguished in one group of subjects. Subsequently, these animals demonstrated significantly higher levels of suppression to the light relative to a control group in which the tone had not been extinguished. Experiment 2 replicated this effect while failing to find evidence to support the possibilities that extinction presentations of the overshadowing tone act as retrieval cues for the light-shock association, or that, via second-order conditioning, the light-shock association is actually formed during extinction of the tone. Experiment 3 determined that the recovery from overshadowing observed in Experiments 1 and 2 was specific to the extinction of the overshadowing stimulus rather than the extinction of any excitatory cue. Collectively, these results suggest that the debilitated response to an overshadowed stimulus does not represent an acquisition failure, but rather the failure of an acquired association to be manifest in behavior.
A second-order conditioning procedure was used to evaluate the associative consequences of forward versus simultaneous pairings of the first-order CS and US with water-deprived rats as subjects in a conditioned lick suppression task. In Phase 1, a tone was presented in a forward, simultaneous, or explicitly unpaired relationship to shock. In order to assess what was learned in Phase 1, all animals in Phase 2 were exposed to clicks in a forward relationship to the tone. In order to determine the mediational role of the tone in promoting conditioned responding to the clicks, in Phase 3 the first-order tone was extinguished for some animals and not extinguished for others. A test for conditioned lick suppression to the first-order tone found responding to be superior in the subjects that received the tone and shock in a forward arrangement relative to subjects that experienced the tone and shock in a simultaneous arrangement. However, a test for suppression to the second-order clicks revealed substantial and equal fear of the clicks in those groups which were exposed to either forward or simultaneous tone-shock pairings in Phase 1, followed in both cases by forward click-tone pairings in Phase 2. These results indicate that temporal contiguity is a sufficient condition for the establishment of an association; however, a forward temporal relationship between stimuli (e.g., clicks → tone) appears necessary for expression of the association appropriate for anticipation of the US. Phase 3 tone extinction did not attenuate the ability of the second-order clicks to control behavior in either the forward or simultaneous case, which suggests that a representation of the first-order tone played no mediational role in behavior controlled by the second-order clicks. The structures of forward and simultaneous associations are compared.
Human behaviour includes an important component which may conveniently be called evaluative. Using postcard reproductions as stimulus materials, 10 volunteer subjects selected the two pictures most liked and the two most disliked. These were then used as UCSs with appropriate controls from the neutral category. The conditioning hypothesis—that a neutral stimulus followed by a positively or negatively valued stimulus will acquire the evaluative weight of the second stimulus—was supported at a highly statistically significant level. The effect of negative evaluation was demonstrably stronger than that for positive evaluation, a result consistent with our knowledge of aversive conditioning. The possibility is discussed that evaluation of the UCS by the subject, shown to be a sufficient condition for learning, may also be the only necessary condition. This would imply a model of conditioning based on affective evaluation rather than on response production.
Several researchers have recently claimed that higher order types of learning, such as categorization and causal induction, can be reduced to lower order associative learning. These claims are based in part on reports of cue competition in higher order learning, apparently analogous to blocking in classical conditioning. Three experiments are reported in which subjects had to learn to respond on the basis of cues that were defined either as possible causes of a common effect (predictive learning) or as possible effects of a common cause (diagnostic learning). The results indicate that diagnostic and predictive reasoning, far from being identical as predicted by associationistic models, are not even symmetrical. Although cue competition occurs among multiple possible causes during predictive learning, multiple possible effects need not compete during diagnostic learning. The results favor a causal-model theory.
People distinguish between a cause (e.g., a malfunctioning component in an airplane causing it to crash) and a condition (e.g., gravity) that merely enables the cause to yield its effect. This distinction cannot be explained by accounts of reasoning formulated purely in terms of necessity and sufficiency, because causes and enabling conditions hold the same logical relationship to the effect in those terms. Proposals to account for this apparent deviation from accounts based on necessity and sufficiency may be classified into three types. One approach explains the distinction in terms of an inferential rule based on the normality of the potential causal factors. Another approach explains the distinction in terms of the conversational principle of being informative to the inquirer given assumptions about his or her state of knowledge. The present paper evaluates variants of these two approaches, and presents our probabilistic contrast model, which takes a third approach. This approach explains the distinction between causes and enabling conditions by the covariation between potential causes and the effect in question over a focal set--a set of events implied by the context. Covariation is defined probabilistically, with necessity and sufficiency as extreme cases of the components defining contrasts. We report two experiments testing our model against variants of the normality and conversational views.
Current thinking about Pavlovian conditioning differs substantially from that of 20 years ago. Yet the changes that have taken place remain poorly appreciated by psychologists generally. Traditional descriptions of conditioning as the acquired ability of one stimulus to evoke the original response to another because of their pairing are shown to be inadequate. They fail to characterize adequately the circumstances producing learning, the content of that learning, or the manner in which that learning influences performance. Instead, conditioning is now described as the learning of relations among events so as to allow the organism to represent its environment. Within this framework, the study of Pavlovian conditioning continues to be an intellectually active area, full of new discoveries and information relevant to other areas of psychology.
Many people have argued that natural categories are organized in terms of a family resemblance principle. Members of family resemblance categories tend to share properties with each other but have no properties that are singly necessary and jointly sufficient (defining) for category membership. This paper reports seven experiments using a sorting task to evaluate the conditions under which people prefer to construct categories according to a family resemblance principle. The first set of studies followed the typical practice of defining family resemblance in terms of independent sets of matching and mismatching values. Across a variety of stimulus materials, instructions, procedures, and category structures, family resemblance sorting was almost never observed. Despite procedures designed to prevent it, participants persisted in sorting on the basis of a single dimension. The second set of studies explored the idea that interproperty relationships rather than independent features serve to organize categories. We found that people will abandon unidimensional sorting in favor of sorting by correlated properties, especially when they can be causally connected. In addition, when conceptual knowledge is added which makes interproperty relationships salient, family resemblance sorting becomes fairly common. Implications of the results for the development of family resemblance categories and the practice of treating properties or features as additive and independent are discussed.
Conducted 4 experiments using a CER procedure with a total of 120 male Sprague-Dawley rats. Exp. I-III provided demonstrations of 2nd-order fear conditioning and suggest that 2-order conditioning was unaffected by extinction of the 1st-order stimulus upon which it was based. In an analogous sensory preconditioning procedure in Exp. IV, extinction of the 1st-order stimulus did affect responding to the secondary stimulus. Results are inconsistent with an interpretation of 2nd-order conditioning in terms of associations between the 1st- and 2nd-order stimuli.
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.
Practicing psychodiagnosticians (N = 32), when surveyed, failed to report observing Wheeler-Rorschach Signs 7 and 8 as accompanying male homosexuality although research evidence indicates that these are valid. They instead reported observing Wheeler Signs 4, 5, 16, 19, and 20, which research literature indicates are invalid. These signs were found to have much stronger rated, verbal associative connections to male homosexuality than the unpopular valid signs. 693 undergraduates (divided among 13 conditions) viewed 30 Rorschach cards on each of which was arbitrarily designated a patient's response and his 2 symptoms. The Ss "rediscovered" the same invalid Rorschach content signs of homosexuality as the clinicians reported, although these relationships were absent in the experimental materials. They did so regardless of the degree to which the clinically valid signs were valid in the contrived task materials.
2 EXPERIMENTS WITH MALE SPRAGUE-DAWLEY RATS INDICATE THAT CS-UCS CONTINGENCY IS AN IMPORTANT DETERMINANT OF FEAR CONDITIONING AND THAT PRESENTATION OF UCS IN THE ABSENCE OF CS INTERFERES WITH FEAR CONDITIONING. IN EXP. I, EQUAL PROBABILITY OF A SHOCK UCS IN THE PRESENCE AND ABSENCE OF A TONE CS PRODUCED NO CONDITIONED EMOTIONAL RESPONSE SUPPRESSION TO CS; THE SAME PROBABILITY OF UCS GIVEN ONLY DURING CS PRODUCED SUBSTANTIAL CONDITIONING. IN EXP. II, WHICH EXPLORED 4 DIFFERENT PROBABILITIES OF UCS IN THE PRESENCE AND ABSENCE OF CS, AMOUNT OF CONDITIONING WAS HIGHER THE GREATER THE PROBABILITY OF UCS DURING CS AND WAS LOWER THE GREATER THE PROBABILITY OF UCS IN THE ABSENCE OF CS; WHEN THE 2 PROBABILITIES WERE EQUAL, NO CONDITIONING RESULTED.
Conditioned lick suppression in rats was used to examine the effectiveness of three different “reminder” treatments in reactivating associations to a blocked stimulus in a Kamin blocking paradigm. Experiment I indicated that with our parameters prior tone-footshock pairings could block manifestation of a light-footshock association that would otherwise be evident following pairings of a light-tone compound stimulus with footshock. In Experiment II, exposure to either the US, the blocked stimulus (light), or the apparatus cues between the compound conditioning trials and testing decreased blocking. Experiments III(a) and III(b) replicated the unblocking effects seen in Experiment II and included control groups that received the identical training and reminder treatments except for the omission of the light from the compound stimulus. These latter animals failed to display behaviour comparable to the blocked and reminded subjects, thereby establishing the associative basis of suppression to the light in the animals reminded following treatment known to produce blocking. Experiment IV also replicated the results of Experiment II and included control groups that received identical light-tone compound trials and reminder treatments without prior conditioning to the tone alone. In these control groups, reminder treatments tended to disrupt rather than increase evidence of conditioning to the light. The results suggest that associations are formed to the added element of a compound despite prior conditioning to the initial element, and that failure on the test trial to retrieve these associations to the blocked CS, rather than a failure to attend to or learn about the added element, is at least in part responsible the Kamin blocking effect.
This research examined whether the effect of relative stimulus validity (A.R. Wagner, F.A. Logan, K. Haberlandt, & T. Price, 1968) is a deficit of acquisition or performance. Experiment 1 demonstrated the relative validity effect using rats in a conditioned lick suppression. task. A target cue trained in the presence of another cue that was a more valid predictor of reinforcement exhibited less behavioral control than a target cue that had been trained in the presence of an equally valid predictor of reinforcement. In Experiment 2, the more valid predictor was extinguished after training. This manipulation increased responding to the target cue, thereby attenuating the effect of low relative validity. This outcome suggests that the relative validity effect is a performance deficit. In addition, recovery from the relative validity deficit was specific to the particular target stimulus that was trained in the presence of the subsequently extinguished cue.
Associative blocking in human conditioning was investigated using electrodermal and self-reported US expectancy measures. Previous null results using a design reported by Lovibond, Siddle, and Bond (1988) suggested that a clearly demarcated phase structure and visual cues with semantic content may have distracted attention from the experimental contingencies. Therefore the current experiment intermixed pre-training and compound training trials and masked the transition to the test phase to remove or reduce phase boundaries. Simple coloured squares were used as CSs to reduce semantic content. A significant blocking effect was observed on both the expectancy measure and on the electrodermal measure. Both results were due to improved transfer of conditioning to the target CS in the overshadowing control group in comparison to previous experiments. The results were interpreted as providing evidence that previous null results were due to failure of transfer of learning across clearly distinct phases. There was no evidence of a dissociation between the electrodermal and self-report measures. Theoretical and procedural implications for human Pavlovian conditioning are discussed.