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Publication Detail
Learning in a changing environment.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    Speekenbrink M, Shanks DR
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    266, 298
  • Journal:
    J Exp Psychol Gen
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Country:
    United States
  • PII:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Adult, Analysis of Variance, Attention, Cognition, Cues, Environment, Female, Humans, Male, Models, Psychological, Probability Learning, Problem Solving
Multiple cue probability learning studies have typically focused on stationary environments. We present 3 experiments investigating learning in changing environments. A fine-grained analysis of the learning dynamics shows that participants were responsive to both abrupt and gradual changes in cue-outcome relations. We found no evidence that participants adapted to these types of change in qualitatively different ways. Also, in contrast to earlier claims that these tasks are learned implicitly, participants showed good insight into what they learned. By fitting formal learning models, we investigated whether participants learned global functional relationships or made localized predictions from similar experienced exemplars. Both a local (the associative learning model) and a global learning model (the Bayesian linear filter) fitted the data of the first 2 experiments. However, the results of Experiment 3, which was specifically designed to discriminate between local and global learning models, provided more support for global learning models. Finally, we present a novel model to account for the cue competition effects found in previous research and displayed by some of our participants.
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