A common error term regulates acquisition but not extinction of causal judgments in people

Oren Dennis Griffiths, Fred Westbrook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In three experiments, we used the allergist task to examine the role of error correction mechanisms in the acquisition and extinction of causal judgments in people. Consistent with existing human and animal studies, acquisition of causal judgments was influenced by the discrepancy between the allergenic outcome and that predicted by all of the cues present on a trial (the "common error" term). However, in the present experiments, we failed to detect any evidence for the use of a common error term in extinction learning: Judgments of the allergenic properties of a cue were unaffected by the predictive value of the other cues present on a trial. This asymmetry in the use of a common error term in acquisition and extinction learning is inconsistent with previous animal studies and also with most models of associative learning. However, approaches that allow learning to be specific to a particular arrangement of elemental cues (context specific and state based) offer some explanation of the observed asymmetry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-221
Number of pages15
JournalLEARNING & BEHAVIOR
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

Keywords

  • human causal learning
  • extinction
  • associative learning
  • Extinction
  • Associative learning
  • Human causal learning

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