Evan J Livesey's research while affiliated with The University of Sydney and other places

Publications (105)

Article
Full-text available
Response inhibition is our ability to suppress or cancel actions when required. Deficits in response inhibition are linked with a range of psychopathological disorders including addiction and OCD. Studies on response inhibition have largely focused on reactive inhibition—stopping an action when explicitly cued. Less work has examined proactive inhi...
Article
Background Choice has been proposed as a method of enhancing placebo effects. However, there have been no attempts to systematically evaluate the magnitude, reliability, and moderators of the influence of choice on the placebo effect. Purpose To estimate the effect size of choice on the placebo effect and identify any moderators of this effect. M...
Article
Full-text available
Beliefs about cause and effect, including health beliefs, are thought to be related to the frequency of the target outcome (e.g., health recovery) occurring when the putative cause is present and when it is absent (treatment administered vs. no treatment); this is known as contingency learning. However, it is unclear whether unvalidated health beli...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental cues associated with an action can prime the motor system, decreasing response times and activating motor regions of the brain. However, when task goals change, the same responses to former go-associated cues are no longer required and motor priming needs to be inhibited to avoid unwanted behavioural errors. The present study tested w...
Article
Full-text available
Psychopathic traits and the childhood analogue, callous-unemotional traits, have been severely neglected by the research field in terms of mechanistic, falsifiable accounts. This is surprising given that some of the core symptoms of the disorder point towards problems with basic components of associative learning. In this manuscript we describe a n...
Article
Full-text available
Outcome predictability effects in associative learning paradigms describe better learning about outcomes with a history of greater predictability in a similar but unrelated task compared to outcomes with a history of unpredictability. Inspired by the similarities between this phenomenon and the effect of uncontrollability in Learned Helplessness pa...
Article
Full-text available
The brain’s response to sensory input is modulated by prediction. For example, sounds that are produced by one’s own actions, or those that are strongly predicted by environmental cues, elicit an attenuated N1 component in the auditory evoked potential. It has been suggested that this form of sensory attenuation to stimulation produced by one’s own...
Article
People often fail to use base-rate information appropriately in decision-making. This is evident in the inverse base-rate effect, a phenomenon in which people tend to predict a rare outcome for a new and ambiguous combination of cues. While the effect was first reported in 1988, it has recently seen a renewed interest from researchers concerned wit...
Article
Nocebo hyperalgesia is a pervasive problem that significantly adds to the burden of pain. Conditioning is a key mechanism of nocebo hyperalgesia and recent evidence indicates that, once established, nocebo hyperalgesia is resistant to extinction. This means that preventive strategies are critical. We therefore tested whether two novel strategies –...
Article
Full-text available
Studying generalisation of associative learning requires analysis of response gradients measured over a continuous stimulus dimension. In human studies, there is often a high degree of individual variation in the gradients, making it difficult to draw conclusions about group-level trends with traditional statistical methods. Here, we demonstrate a...
Article
Full-text available
One of the mechanisms proposed to underpin perceptual learning is the reduction in salience of predicted stimuli. This reduction is held to affect the representation of (conditioned) stimuli before they have been associated with motivationally meaningful consequences but may also affect (unconditioned) stimuli that automatically elicit responding....
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, several studies of human predictive learning demonstrated better learning about outcomes that have previously been experienced as consistently predictable compared to outcomes previously experienced as less predictable, namely the outcome predictability effect. As this effect may have wide-reaching implications for current theories...
Article
Full-text available
The inverse base-rate effect is a tendency to predict the rarer of two outcomes when presented with cues that make conflicting predictions. Attention-based accounts of the effect appeal to prioritised attention to predictors of rare outcomes. Changes in the processing of these cues is predicted to increase the rate at which they are learned about i...
Article
Full-text available
Causal and predictive learning research often employs intuitive and familiar hypothetical scenarios to facilitate learning novel relationships. The allergist task, in which participants are asked to diagnose the allergies of a fictitious patient, is one example of this. In such studies, it is common practice to ask participants to ignore their exis...
Article
Full-text available
Teachers sometimes believe in the efficacy of instructional practices that have little empirical support. These beliefs have proven difficult to efface despite strong challenges to their evidentiary basis. Teachers typically develop causal beliefs about the efficacy of instructional practices by inferring their effect on students' academic performa...
Article
Full-text available
Across a series of studies, our lab has shown that the efficiency of action stopping is associated with the strength of GABAA-mediated short-intracortical inhibition (SICI) as measured using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). However, these studies used fixed TMS parameters, which may not optimally probe GABAA receptor activity for each indiv...
Article
Full-text available
We have recently shown that the efficiency in stopping a response, measured using the stop signal task, is related to GABAA-mediated short intracortical inhibition (SICI) in the primary motor cortex (M1). In the present study, we conducted two experiments on humans to determine whether training participants in the stop signal task within one sessio...
Article
Failure to learn and generalize abstract relational rules has critical implications for education. In this study, we aimed to determine which training conditions facilitate relational transfer in a relatively simple (patterning) discrimination versus a relatively complex (biconditional) discrimination. The amount of training participants received h...
Preprint
Failure to learn and generalise abstract relational rules has critical implications for education. In this study, we aimed to determine which training conditions facilitate relational transfer in a relatively simple (patterning) discrimination versus a relatively complex (biconditional) discrimination. The amount of training participants received h...
Preprint
Full-text available
The brain's response to sensory input is modulated by prediction. For example, sounds that are produced by one's own actions, or those that are strongly predicted by environmental cues, are perceived as less salient and elicit an attenuated N1 component in the auditory evoked potential. Here we examined whether the neural response to direct stimula...
Article
Impairments in response inhibition have been implicated in gambling psychopathol-ogy. This behavioral impairment may suggest that the neural mechanisms involved in response inhibition, such as GABA A-mediated neurotransmission in the primary motor cortex (M1), are also impaired. The present study obtained paired-pulse trans-cranial magnetic stimula...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Evidence from a variety of learning tasks suggests that cues that are more predictive of an outcome attract greater attention and are learned about more effectively in subsequent tasks. We tested whether this learned predictiveness effect is due to the objective strength of the cue-outcome association (cue-outcome correlation), or the degree to whi...
Article
Full-text available
Preparing actions to achieve goals, overriding habitual responses, and substituting actions that are no longer relevant are aspects of motor control often assumed to be driven by deliberate top-down processes. In the present study, we investigated whether motor control could come under involuntary control of environmental cues that have been associ...
Article
Response inhibition - the suppression of prepotent behaviours when they are inappropriate - has been thought to rely on executive control. Against this received wisdom, it has been argued that external cues repeatedly associated with response inhibition can come to trigger response inhibition automatically without top-down command. The current proj...
Article
Full-text available
We have recently shown that the efficiency of stopping a response is correlated with GABAergic activity in primary motor cortex (M1) measured using the short interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) protocol. However, this finding was observed when SICI was measured in left M1 and when stopping efficiency was measured with a bimanual response task....
Article
Full-text available
Action tendencies can be elicited by motivationally salient stimuli (e.g., appetitive rewards) or objects that support utilization behaviors. These action tendencies can benefit behavioral performance through speeded RTs in response tasks and improve detection accuracy in attentional capture tasks. However, action tendencies can be counterproductiv...
Preprint
Full-text available
Response inhibition − the suppression of prepotent behaviours when they are inappropriate − has been thought to rely on executive control. Against this received wisdom, it has been argued that external cues repeatedly associated with response inhibition can come to trigger response inhibition automatically without top-down command. The current proj...
Article
Full-text available
Several attention-based models of associative learning are built upon the learned predictiveness principle, whereby learning is optimized by attending to the most predictive features and ignoring the least predictive features. Despite their functional similarity, these models differ in their formal mechanisms and thus may produce very different pre...
Article
Full-text available
Short interval intra-cortical inhibition (SICI), measured using paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is believed to reflect the activity of GABAergic interneurons in the motor cortex. In this project, we investigated the relationship between SICI and the ability to inhibit a prepotent response. In our first study (n = 40), we compar...
Article
The sensitivity of the blocking effect to outcome additivity pretraining has been used to argue that the phenomenon is the result of deductive inference, and to draw general conclusions about the nature of human causal learning. In two experiments, we manipulated participants’ assumptions about the additivity of the outcome using pretraining before...
Article
Full-text available
The time required to abort an initiated response can be measured as the Stop Signal Reaction Time (SSRT). We determined whether GABAergic activity in the primary motor cortex (M1), measured using paired-pulse Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) was related to SSRT. GABAergic activity in M1 was assessed by measuring Short-Interval Intracortical...
Article
Full-text available
Illusory causation refers to a consistent error in human learning in which the learner develops a false belief that two unrelated events are causally associated. Laboratory studies usually demonstrate illusory causation by presenting two events—a cue (e.g., drug treatment) and a discrete outcome (e.g., patient has recovered from illness)—probabilis...
Article
Full-text available
A wealth of recent studies have demonstrated that predictive cues involved in a linearly solvable component discrimination gain associability in subsequent learning relative to non-predictive cues. In contrast, contradictory findings have been reported about the fate of cues involved in learning biconditional discriminations in which the cues are r...
Article
Full-text available
Much empirical work and theoretical discussion in the associative learning literature has focussed on when and how a cue changes in its associability. A series of new findings in human learning preparations (collectively referred to as the “outcome predictability” effect) appear to show that outcomes vary in their capacity to enter into novel assoc...
Poster
Full-text available
Investigating the relationship between people's causal belief about a range of health treatments and possible outcomes, and their estimates of the contingency between cue and outcome events.
Poster
Full-text available
To what extent are the predictions that are important for human learning under flexible control?
Article
Full-text available
After discrimination learning between two stimuli that lie on a continuum, animals typically exhibit generalization on the basis of similarity to the physical features of the stimuli, often producing a peak-shifted gradient. However, post-discrimination generalization in humans usually resembles a monotonically increasing (e.g., linear) gradient th...
Article
Full-text available
Extensive evidence suggests that people use base rate information inconsistently in decision making. A classic example is the inverse base rate effect (IBRE), whereby participants classify ambiguous stimuli sharing features of both common and rare categories as members of the rare category. Computational models of the IBRE have posited that it aris...
Data
Number of trials where common and rare responses were made for each participant over the 24 ambiguous scene-object test trials.
Poster
Full-text available
Illusory causation is a consistent error in human learning in which people perceive two unrelated events as being causally related. Causal illusions are greatly increased when the target outcome occurs frequently rather than rarely, a characteristic known as the outcome density bias. Unlike most experimental designs using binary outcomes, real-worl...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Illusory causation is a consistent error in human learning in which people perceive two unrelated events as being causally related. Causal illusions are greatly increased when the target outcome occurs frequently rather than rarely, a characteristic known as the outcome density bias. Unlike most experimental designs using binary outcomes, real-worl...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Cue competition effects in human contingency learning appear to be sensitive to the causal nature of cue-outcome relationships. While blocking effects are reliably demonstrated in scenarios where cues are presented as causes of outcomes, several studies have failed to find blocking in scenarios where cues are presented as effects of outcomes, a fin...
Poster
Full-text available
Illusory causation is the erroneous belief that the presence of one event (a cue) causes or prevents the other (outcome). This effect greatly increases when the outcome occurs more frequently, a characteristic known as outcome density bias. Prediction-error models account for this bias by predicting greater learning when salient cue and outcomes ar...
Article
The Perruchet effect refers to a dissociation between the conscious expectancy of an outcome and the strength or speed of responding in anticipation of that outcome. This dissociation is considered by some to be the best evidence for multiple learning processes with expectancy governed by participants’ explicit beliefs and responding driven by the...
Article
Full-text available
Two experiments examined biases in selective attention during contextual cuing of visual search. When participants were instructed to search for a target of a particular colour, overt attention (as measured by the location of fixations) was biased strongly towards distractors presented in that same colour. However, when participants searched for ta...
Article
Full-text available
Paired-pulse Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is used to study inhibitory and excitatory mechanisms in the motor cortex through the measurement of short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI), indicative of GABAergic activity, and intracortical facilitation (ICF), indicative of glutamatergic activity. In the present study, TMS was delivere...
Article
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the motor cortex produces motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) in contralateral muscles. The amplitude of these MEPs can be used to measure the excitability of the corticospinal tract during motor planning. In two experiments, we investigated learning-related changes in corticospinal excitability as subjects pre...
Preprint
Full-text available
Behavioral evidence suggests that people use base rate information ineffectively in category learning. A classic example is the inverse base rate effect, whereby participants classify ambiguous stimuli sharing features of both common and rare categories as members of the rare category. Explanations of this effect have focused primarily on selective...
Article
One of Mackintosh’s many contributions to the comparative psychology of associative learning was in developing the distinction between the mental processes responsible for learning about features and learning about relations. His research on discrimination learning and generalisation served to highlight differences and commonalities in learning mec...
Article
Learning categories defined by the relations among objects supports the transfer of knowledge from initial learning contexts to novel contexts that share few surface similarities. Often relational categories have correlated (but nonessential) surface features, which can be a distraction from discovering the category-defining relations, preventing k...
Article
Full-text available
Motor impulsivity, which is an impairment in withholding and cancelling inappropriate responses, may account for the inability for pathological gamblers (PGs) to inhibit their urges to gamble. The aim of this systematic review was to perform a quantitative and qualitative synthesis of existing studies in order to assess whether PGs without comorbid...
Article
The inverse base-rate effect (IBRE) describes an apparent irrationality in human decision making whereby people tend to ignore category base rates and choose rarer options when classifying ambiguous stimuli. According to associative learning theories, people choose rare categories for ambiguous stimuli because rare cues draw more attention. Alterna...
Article
Although we agree with Lake et al.'s central argument, there are numerous flaws in the way people use causal models. Our models are often incorrect, resistant to correction, and applied inappropriately to new situations. These deficiencies are pervasive and have real-world consequences. Developers of machines with similar capacities should proceed...
Article
Full-text available
Contextual cuing refers to a response time (RT) benefit that occurs when observers search through displays that have been repeated over the course of an experiment. Although it is generally agreed that contextual cuing arises via an associative learning mechanism, there is uncertainty about the type(s) of process(es) that allow learning to influenc...
Article
Full-text available
The Learned Predictiveness effect refers to the observation that learning about the relationship between a cue and an outcome is influenced by the predictive relevance of the cue for other outcomes. Similarly, the Outcome Predictability effect refers to a recent observation that the previous predictability of an outcome affects learning about this...
Article
Full-text available
The prototype distortion task demonstrates that it is possible to learn about a category of physically similar stimuli through mere observation. However, there have been few attempts to test whether different encoding conditions affect learning in this task. This study compared prototypicality gradients produced under incidental learning conditions...
Article
Full-text available
Participants in two human goal-tracking experiments were simultaneously trained with Negative Patterning (NP) and Positive Patterning (PP) discriminations (A+, B+, AB-, C-, D-, CD+). Both elemental and configural models of associative learning predict a PP advantage, such that NP is solved less readily than PP. However, elemental models like the Un...
Article
Background: Nocebo nausea is a debilitating and prevalent side effect that can develop after conditioning occurs between cues present in the treatment context and the experience of nausea. Interventions that retard conditioning may therefore be able to reduce nocebo nausea. Purpose: To test whether 'latent inhibition', where pre-exposing cues in...
Article
Full-text available
Associative learning theories offer one account of the way animals and humans assess the relationship between events and adapt their behavior according to resulting expectations. They assume knowledge about event relations is represented in associative networks, which consist of mental representations of cues and outcomes and the associative links...
Article
Full-text available
The Stop Signal Task (SST), a commonly used measure of response inhibition, uses standard psychophysical methods to gain an estimate of the time needed to withhold a prepotent response. Under some circumstances, conventional forms of the SST are impractical to use because of the large number of trials necessary to gain a reliable estimate of the sp...
Article
Full-text available
The inverse base-rate effect is a bias in contingency learning in which participants tend to predict a rare outcome for a conflicting set of perfectly predictive cues. Although the effect is often explained by attention biases during learning, inferential strategies at test may also contribute substantially to the effect. In three experiments, we m...
Article
The Perruchet effect constitutes a robust demonstration that it is possible to dissociate conditioned responding and expectancy in a random partial reinforcement design across a variety of human associative learning paradigms. This dissociation has been interpreted as providing evidence for multiple processes supporting learning, with expectancy dr...
Article
Two episodes of attentional selection cannot occur very close in time. This is the traditional account of the attentional blink, whereby observers fail to report the second of two temporally proximal targets. Recent analyses have challenged this simple account, suggesting that attentional selection during the attentional blink is not only (a) suppr...
Article
Numerous studies have demonstrated that associative learning can affect visual cognition. In one such effect, search times for a target hidden among similar distractors are faster for repeated search configurations compared with novel configurations. This contextual cuing effect is particularly interesting, because researchers routinely have failed...