A positive patterning advantage with complex but not simple patterning: A cue constellation approach

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Abstract

Determinants of a positive patterning advantage (that is, an advantage for positive patterning over negative patterning) in human causal reasoning were examined in an experiment that compared simple patterning discriminations (A, B vs. AB) to complex patterning discriminations (AB, BC, AC vs. ABC). As predicted by a cue constellation analysis of complex discriminations, a positive patterning advantage was found with complex patterning but not with simple patterning discriminations. This result may explain why some recent studies have found a positive patterning advantage where earlier studies had failed to find one. The interaction of patterning complexity with the positive patterning advantage appears to pose problems for rule-based accounts of patterning. The results support the view that associative theories of human causal reasoning are more easily distinguished from rule-based approaches when applied to conditions that make simple rules difficult to identify or implement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2118-2134
Number of pages17
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Volume66
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Physiology (medical)

Keywords

  • Causal learning
  • Configural cues
  • Human learning
  • Patterning discriminations

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