Cognitive Psychology

  • Breaking the rules in perceptual information integration
    Publication date: June 2017
    Source:Cognitive Psychology, Volume 95

    Author(s): Maxim A. Bushmakin, Ami Eidels, Andrew Heathcote

    We develop a broad theoretical framework for modelling difficult perceptual information integration tasks under different decision rules. The framework allows us to compare coactive architectures, which combine information before it enters the decision process, with parallel architectures, where logical rules combine independent decisions made about each perceptual source. For both architectures we test the novel hypothesis that participants break the decision rules on some trials, making a response based on only one stimulus even though task instructions require them to consider both. Our models take account of not only the decisions made but also the distribution of the time that it takes to make them, providing an account of speed-accuracy tradeoffs and response biases occurring when one response is required more often than another. We also test a second novel hypothesis, that the nature of the decision rule changes the evidence on which choices are based. We apply the models to data from a perceptual integration task with near threshold stimuli under two different decision rules. The coactive architecture was clearly rejected in favor of logical-rules. The logical-rule models were shown to provide an accurate account of all aspects of the data, but only when they allow for response bias and the possibility for subjects to break those rules. We discuss how our framework can be applied more broadly, and its relationship to Townsend and Nozawa’s (1995) Systems-Factorial Technology.





  • Learning to allocate limited time to decisions with different expected outcomes
    Publication date: June 2017
    Source:Cognitive Psychology, Volume 95

    Author(s): Arash Khodadadi, Pegah Fakhari, Jerome R. Busemeyer

    The goal of this article is to investigate how human participants allocate their limited time to decisions with different properties. We report the results of two behavioral experiments. In each trial of the experiments, the participant must accumulate noisy information to make a decision. The participants received positive and negative rewards for their correct and incorrect decisions, respectively. The stimulus was designed such that decisions based on more accumulated information were more accurate but took longer. Therefore, the total outcome that a participant could achieve during the limited experiments’ time depended on her “decision threshold”, the amount of information she needed to make a decision. In the first experiment, two types of trials were intermixed randomly: hard and easy. Crucially, the hard trials were associated with smaller positive and negative rewards than the easy trials. A cue presented at the beginning of each trial would indicate the type of the upcoming trial. The optimal strategy was to adopt a small decision threshold for hard trials. The results showed that several of the participants did not learn this simple strategy. We then investigated how the participants adjusted their decision threshold based on the feedback they received in each trial. To this end, we developed and compared 10 computational models for adjusting the decision threshold. The models differ in their assumptions on the shape of the decision thresholds and the way the feedback is used to adjust the decision thresholds. The results of Bayesian model comparison showed that a model with time-varying thresholds whose parameters are updated by a reinforcement learning algorithm is the most likely model. In the second experiment, the cues were not presented. We showed that the optimal strategy is to use a single time-decreasing decision threshold for all trials. The results of the computational modeling showed that the participants did not use this optimal strategy. Instead, they attempted to detect the difficulty of the trial first and then set their decision threshold accordingly.





  • Grounding principles for inferring agency: Two cultural perspectives
    Publication date: June 2017
    Source:Cognitive Psychology, Volume 95

    Author(s): bethany l. ojalehto, Douglas L. Medin, Salino G. García

    The present research investigates cultural variation in grounding principles for inferring agency in order to address an important theoretical debate: does cultural diversity in agency concepts reflect an animistic overextension of (universal) folkpsychology, as many have argued, or an alternative theory of folkcommunication based on relational principles? In two experiments, mind perception measures were adapted to assess beliefs concerning the agency of non-animal kinds (plants, abiotic kinds, complex artifacts) among Indigenous Ngöbe adults in Panama and US college students. Agency attributions varied systematically, with Ngöbe ascribing greater agency to non-animal natural kinds and US college participants ascribing greater agency to complex artifacts. Analysis of explanations revealed divergent interpretations of agency as a prototypically human capacity requiring consciousness (US), versus a relational capacity expressed in directed interactions (Ngöbe). Converging measures further illuminated the inferential principles underlying these agency attributions. (1) An experimental relational framing of agency probes facilitated Ngöbe but not US agency attributions. (2) Further analysis showed that three key dimensions of agency attribution (experience, cognition, animacy) are organized differently across cultures. (3) A Bayesian approach to cultural consensus modeling confirmed the presence of two distinct consensus models rather than variations on a single (universal) model. Together, these results indicate that conceptual frameworks for agency differ across US college and Ngöbe communities. We conclude that Ngöbe concepts of agency derive from a distinct theory of folkcommunication based on an ecocentric prototype rather than overextensions of an anthropocentric folkpsychology. These observations suggest that folkpsychology and mind perception represent culture specific frameworks for agency, with significant implications for domain-specificity theory and our understanding of cognitive diversity.





  • Comparing different kinds of words and word-word relations to test an habituation model of priming
    Publication date: June 2017
    Source:Cognitive Psychology, Volume 95

    Author(s): Cory A. Rieth, David E. Huber

    Huber and O’Reilly (2003) proposed that neural habituation exists to solve a temporal parsing problem, minimizing blending between one word and the next when words are visually presented in rapid succession. They developed a neural dynamics habituation model, explaining the finding that short duration primes produce positive priming whereas long duration primes produce negative repetition priming. The model contains three layers of processing, including a visual input layer, an orthographic layer, and a lexical-semantic layer. The predicted effect of prime duration depends both on this assumed representational hierarchy and the assumption that synaptic depression underlies habituation. The current study tested these assumptions by comparing different kinds of words (e.g., words versus non-words) and different kinds of word-word relations (e.g., associative versus repetition). For each experiment, the predictions of the original model were compared to an alternative model with different representational assumptions. Experiment 1 confirmed the prediction that non-words and inverted words require longer prime durations to eliminate positive repetition priming (i.e., a slower transition from positive to negative priming). Experiment 2 confirmed the prediction that associative priming increases and then decreases with increasing prime duration, but remains positive even with long duration primes. Experiment 3 replicated the effects of repetition and associative priming using a within-subjects design and combined these effects by examining target words that were expected to repeat (e.g., viewing the target word ‘BACK’ after the prime phrase ‘back to’). These results support the originally assumed representational hierarchy and more generally the role of habituation in temporal parsing and priming.





  • Editorial Board
    Publication date: May 2017
    Source:Cognitive Psychology, Volume 94









  • Task inhibition, conflict, and the n-2 repetition cost: A combined computational and empirical approach
    Publication date: May 2017
    Source:Cognitive Psychology, Volume 94

    Author(s): Nicholas J. Sexton, Richard P. Cooper

    Task inhibition (also known as backward inhibition) is an hypothesised form of cognitive inhibition evident in multi-task situations, with the role of facilitating switching between multiple, competing tasks. This article presents a novel cognitive computational model of a backward inhibition mechanism. By combining aspects of previous cognitive models in task switching and conflict monitoring, the model instantiates the theoretical proposal that backward inhibition is the direct result of conflict between multiple task representations. In a first simulation, we demonstrate that the model produces two effects widely observed in the empirical literature, specifically, reaction time costs for both (n-1) task switches and n-2 task repeats. Through a systematic search of parameter space, we demonstrate that these effects are a general property of the model’s theoretical content, and not specific parameter settings. We further demonstrate that the model captures previously reported empirical effects of inter-trial interval on n-2 switch costs. A final simulation extends the paradigm of switching between tasks of asymmetric difficulty to three tasks, and generates novel predictions for n-2 repetition costs. Specifically, the model predicts that n-2 repetition costs associated with hard-easy-hard alternations are greater than for easy-hard-easy alternations. Finally, we report two behavioural experiments testing this hypothesis, with results consistent with the model predictions.





  • Speeded saccadic and manual visuo-motor decisions: Distinct processes but same principles
    Publication date: May 2017
    Source:Cognitive Psychology, Volume 94

    Author(s): Aline Bompas, Craig Hedge, Petroc Sumner

    Action decisions are considered an emergent property of competitive response activations. As such, decision mechanisms are embedded in, and therefore may differ between, different response modalities. Despite this, the saccadic eye movement system is often promoted as a model for all decisions, especially in the fields of electrophysiology and modelling. Other research traditions predominantly use manual button presses, which have different response distribution profiles and are initiated by different brain areas. Here we tested whether core concepts of action selection models (decision and non-decision times, integration of automatic and selective inputs to threshold, interference across response options, noise, etc.) generalise from saccadic to manual domains. Using two diagnostic phenomena, the remote distractor effect (RDE) and ‘saccadic inhibition’, we find that manual responses are also sensitive to the interference of visual distractors but to a lesser extent than saccades and during a shorter time window. A biologically-inspired model (DINASAUR, based on non-linear input dynamics) can account for both saccadic and manual response distributions and accuracy by simply adjusting the balance and relative timings of transient and sustained inputs, and increasing the mean and variance of non-decisional delays for manual responses. This is consistent with known neurophysiological and anatomical differences between saccadic and manual networks. Thus core decision principles appear to generalise across effectors, consistent with previous work, but we also conclude that key quantitative differences underlie apparent qualitative differences in the literature, such as effects being robustly reported in one modality and unreliable in another.





  • The impact of object type on the spatial analogies in Korean preschoolers
    Publication date: May 2017
    Source:Cognitive Psychology, Volume 94

    Author(s): Youjeong Park, Marianella Casasola

    We tested young children’s spatial reasoning in a match-to-sample task, manipulating the objects in the task (abstract geometric shapes, line drawings of realistic objects, or both). Korean 4- and 5-year-old children (N =161) generalized the target spatial configuration (i.e., on, in, above) more easily when the sample used geometric shapes and the choices used realistic objects than the reverse (i.e., realistic-object sample to geometric-shape choices). With within-type stimuli (i.e., sample and choices were both geometric shapes or both realistic objects), 5-year-old, but not 4-year-old, children generalized the spatial relations more easily with geometric shapes than realistic objects. In addition, children who knew more locative terms (e.g., “in”, “on”) performed better on the task, suggesting a link to children’s spatial vocabulary. The results demonstrate an advantage of geometric shapes over realistic objects in facilitating young children’s performance on a match-to-sample spatial reasoning task.





http://rss.sciencedirect.com/publication/science/00100285

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