Contrasting cue-density effects in causal and prediction judgments

Abstract : Many theories of contingency learning assume (either explicitly or implicitly) that predicting whether an outcome will occur should be easier than making a causal judgment. Previous research suggests that outcome predictions would depart from normative standards less often than causal judgments, which is consistent with the idea that the latter are based on more numerous and complex processes. However, only indirect evidence exists for this view. The experiment presented here specifically addresses this issue by allowing for a fair comparison of causal judgments and outcome predictions, both collected at the same stage with identical rating scales. Cue density, a parameter known to affect judgments, is manipulated in a contingency learning paradigm. The results show that, if anything, the cue-density bias is stronger in outcome predictions than in causal judgments. These results contradict key assumptions of many influential theories of contingency learning
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Miguel Vadillo, Serban Musca, Fernando Blanco, Helena Matute. Contrasting cue-density effects in causal and prediction judgments. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, Psychonomic Society, 2011, 18 (1), pp.110-115. ⟨10.3758/s13423-010-0032-2⟩. ⟨hal-01958185⟩

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