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Type: Journal article
Title: Are preventive and generative causal reasoning symmetrical? Extinction and competition
Author: Baetu, I.
Baker, A.
Citation: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 2012; 65(9):1675-1698
Publisher: Psychology Press
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 1747-0218
Statement of
Irina Baetu & A. G. Baker
Abstract: We tested whether preventive and generative reasoning processes are symmetrical by keeping the training and testing of preventive (inhibitory) and generative (excitatory) causal cues as similar as possible. In Experiment 1, we extinguished excitors and inhibitors in a blocking design, in which each extinguished cause was presented in compound with a novel cause, with the same outcome occurring following the compound and following the novel cause alone. With this novel extinction procedure, the inhibitory cues seemed more likely to lose their properties than the excitatory cues. In Experiment 2, we investigated blocking of excitatory and inhibitory causes and found similar blocking effects. Taken together, these results suggest that acquisition of excitation and inhibition is similar, but that inhibition is more liable to extinguish with our extinction procedure. In addition, we used a variable outcome, and this enabled us to test the predictions of an inferential reasoning account about what happens when the outcome level is at its minimum or maximum (De Houwer, Beckers, & Glautier, 2002). We discuss the predictions of this inferential account, Rescorla and Wagner’s (1972) model, and a connectionist model—the auto-associator.
Keywords: Causal reasoning
Connectionist or associative model
Outcome magnitude
Inferential reasoning.
Rights: ® 2012 The Experimental Psychology Society
DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2012.667424
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Psychology publications

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