Over-selectivity decreases with increased training: A role for within-compound associations

These results show that ratings of the relationship between the symptoms and the illnesses developed over successive blocks of training

Phil Reed; Martyn Quigley


Scholarcy highlights

  • Over-selectivity occurs when one element of a complex-stimulus controls behavior at the expense of other elements of that stimulus; a phenomenon common in populations subject to cognitive challenge
  • The current study demonstrated that this diminution of cue competition was not a product of the repeated judgments made about the stimuli in Experiment 1, but could be noted when using a between-group design when only one judgment had been made
  • The current studies explored the degree to which stimulus over-selectivity could be observed in a human judgment procedure, and to determine the impact of different levels of training on this effect
  • The results from all three experiments demonstrate that, when two stimuli were presented in compound prior to an outcome, one of these stimuli would be rated as more related to the outcome than the other, despite the stimuli having a similar predictive validity with respect to that outcome. These findings mirror those produced in studies of over-selectivity using a concurrent discrimination procedure, in which the elements of a compound stimulus, which are of equal predictive validity to one another, are differentially effective in controlling behavior when presented separately from one another. This over-selectivity effect is similar to a unilateral overshadowing effect, which has been noted in studies of animal conditioning
  • The current over-selectivity effect decreased with increased levels of training in all studies, irrespective of whether there were multiple judgments or one judgment at the end of different amounts of training
  • A similar impact of extended training has been observed in studies of over-selectivity using a simultaneous discrimination procedure with humans, and in studies of overshadowing using nonhumans; that is, as training proceeds, the level of overshadowing between two stimuli presented in compound diminishes
  • It is worth noting that in a range of over-selectivity studies, as described in the General Introduction, the difference in the extent to which the elements of a compound stimulus control behavior decreases as learning about the target becomes stronger

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