Contiguity and the outcome density bias in action-outcome contingency judgements

Vallee-Tourangeau, F., Murphy, R.A. and Baker, A.G. (2005) Contiguity and the outcome density bias in action-outcome contingency judgements. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section B, 58(2), pp. 177-192. ISSN (print) 0272-4995

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In cause-outcome contingency judgement tasks, judgements often reflect the actual contingency but are also influenced by the overall probability of the outcome, P(O). Action-outcome instrumental learning tasks can foster a pattern in which judgements of positive contingencies become less positive as P(O) increases. Variable contiguity between the action and the outcome may produce this bias. Experiment 1 recorded judgements of positive contingencies that were largely uninfluenced by P(O) using an immediate contiguity procedure. Experiment 2 directly compared variable versus constant contiguity. The predicted interaction between contiguity and P(O) was observed for positive contingencies. These results stress the sensitivity of the causal learning mechanism to temporal contiguity.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council [grant number R000222542].
Uncontrolled Keywords: temporal contiguity, causality judgment, reinforcement, induction
Research Area: Psychology
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (until 2017) > School of Social Science (until November 2012)
Depositing User: Cheryl Clark
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2007
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2012 15:51

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