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Exploring the Effect of Stimulus Similarity on the Summation Effect in Causal Learning

Pérez, Omar D. and San Martín, René and Soto, Fabián A. (2018) Exploring the Effect of Stimulus Similarity on the Summation Effect in Causal Learning. Experimental Psychology, 65 (4). pp. 183-200. ISSN 1618-3169. doi:10.1027/1618-3169/a000406.

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Several contemporary models anticipate that the summation effect is modulated by the similarity between the cues forming a compound. Here, we explore this hypothesis in a series of causal learning experiments. Participants were presented with two visual cues that separately predicted a common outcome and later asked for the outcome predicted by the compound of the two cues. Similarity was varied between groups through changes in shape, spatial position, color, configuration, and rotation. In variance with the predictions of these models, we observed similar and strong levels of summation in both groups across all manipulations of similarity. The effect, however, was significantly reduced by manipulations intended to impact assumptions about the causal independence of the cues forming the compound, but this reduction was independent of stimulus similarity. These results are problematic for similarity-based models and can be more readily explained by rational approaches to causal learning.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Pérez, Omar D.0000-0002-4168-5435
Soto, Fabián A.0000-0002-1001-679X
Additional Information:© 2018 Hogrefe Verlag. Received June 11, 2017; Revised October 2, 2017; Accepted February 13, 2018; Published online August 31, 2018.
Subject Keywords:generalization, causal learning, summation, associative learning, discrimination
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180904-091133929
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Official Citation:Exploring the Effect of Stimulus Similarity on the Summation Effect in Causal Learning. Omar D. Pérez, René San Martín, and Fabián A. Soto. Experimental Psychology 2018 65:4, 183-200
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:89348
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:04 Sep 2018 16:59
Last Modified:13 Apr 2023 17:42

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