Attentional mechanisms in learned predictiveness

Chris J. Mitchell, Oren Griffiths, Joyce Seetoo, Peter F. Lovibond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Cues that reliably predict an outcome in an initial phase of training (Phase 1) are learned faster in a second phase of training (Phase 2) than cues that were unreliable in Phase 1. This result is observed despite objectively equal relationships between the cues and the outcomes in Phase 2, and consequently constitutes a nonnormative bias in learning. The present experiments sought to confirm that this learned predictiveness effect is the product of attentional processes (Experiment 1), and to test further whether these processes are under voluntary control or are automatic in nature (Experiment 2). In addition to the usual outcome prediction measure, eye-gaze behavior was also monitored. The results indicated an important role for top-down strategic attentional processes in the learned predictiveness task. In contrast, no evidence for an automatic attentional bias was found.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-202
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of experimental psychology: animal behavior processes
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • predictiveness
  • training
  • Attentional bias
  • Associative
  • Reasoning
  • Attention
  • Human learning


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