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Signal detection analysis of contingency assessment: Associative interference and nonreinforcement impact cue-outcome contingency sensitivity, whereas cue density affects bias

Jozefowiez, Jérémie; Urcelay, Gonzalo P.; Miller, Ralph R.

Signal detection analysis of contingency assessment: Associative interference and nonreinforcement impact cue-outcome contingency sensitivity, whereas cue density affects bias Thumbnail


Authors

Jérémie Jozefowiez

Ralph R. Miller



Abstract

In a signal detection theory approach to associative learning, the perceived (i.e., subjective) contingency between a cue and an outcome is a random variable drawn from a Gaussian distribution. At the end of the sequence, participants report a positive cue-outcome contingency provided the subjective contingency is above some threshold. Some researchers have suggested that the mean of the subjective contingency distributions and the threshold are controlled by different variables. The present data provide empirical support for this claim. In three experiments, participants were exposed to rapid streams of trials at the end of which they had to indicate whether a target outcome O1 was more likely following a target cue X. Interfering treatments were incorporated in some streams to impend participants' ability to identify the objective X-O1 contingency: interference trials (X was paired with an irrelevant outcome O2), nonreinforced trials (X was presented alone), plus control trials (an irrelevant cue W was paired with O2). Overall, both interference and nonreinforced trials impaired participants' sensitivity to the contingencies as measured by signal detection theory's d', but they also enhanced detection of positive contingencies through a cue density effect, with nonreinforced trials being more susceptible to this effect than interference trials. These results are explicable if one assumes interference and nonreinforced trials impact the mean of the associative strength distribution, while the cue density influences the threshold. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

Citation

Jozefowiez, J., Urcelay, G. P., & Miller, R. R. (2022). Signal detection analysis of contingency assessment: Associative interference and nonreinforcement impact cue-outcome contingency sensitivity, whereas cue density affects bias. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 48(3), 190-202. https://doi.org/10.1037/xan0000334

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 3, 2022
Publication Date Jul 1, 2022
Deposit Date Aug 12, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 15, 2022
Journal Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition
Print ISSN 2329-8456
Electronic ISSN 2329-8464
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Issue 3
Pages 190-202
DOI https://doi.org/10.1037/xan0000334
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/9905032
Publisher URL https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fxan0000334
Additional Information This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. The final article is available, upon publication, at: https://doi.org/10.1037/xan0000334

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