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|Title:||Associative and Non-Associative Performance Phenomena in Learning Social Contingencies from Rich and Heterogeneous Stimuli|
|Authors:||Skye, Aimee L.|
|Advisor:||Brooks, L. R.|
|Keywords:||human contingency learning (HCL), associative learning, cognitive, heterogeneous, stimuli|
|Abstract:||<p>One of the most central and current debates among those studying human contingency learning (HCL) concerns whether it is best understood as the result of associative learning, a product of higher-order cognitive processes, or some combination thereof. Though the field appears to be moving toward the latter accounts, much of the evidence being generated to evaluate and select among them comes from tasks that typically present only information about the few variables involved in the contingency(s), in the exact same manner on every trial. While effective for examining how the statistical properties of experience affect learning, these procedures do not capture some of the conditions of everyday cognition and are apt to be less effective for engaging non-associative and top-down influences on performance.</p> <p>The current work introduces a task that involves learning contingencies in others' behavior from descriptions that require the learner to determine the focus of learning, and to deal with both variability in manifestation of the objects of learning and extraneous information. Across several experiments, performance reflects phenomena, including ΔP, outcome density and blocking effects, which have been well established in HCL and are consistent with associative accounts. At the same time, the findings also suggest that (a) domain-specific theories affect the weighting of evidence in contingency perception and the discoverability of contingencies, and (b) outcome predictions, a typical measure in HCL, are influenced by specific instance memory in addition to abstract contingency knowledge. These findings are difficult to reconcile with the data-driven nature of associative views, and join a growing number of demonstrations suggesting that a viable account of HCL must involve higher-order cognitive processes or top-down influences on performance.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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