Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Illusory Correlation and Valenced Outcomes
by Derringer, Cory, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2019, 94; 22617522
Abstract (Summary)

Accurately detecting relationships between variables in the environment is an integral part of our cognition. The tendency for people to infer these relationships where there are none has been documented in several different fields of research, including social psychology, fear learning, and placebo effects. A consistent finding in these areas is that people infer these illusory correlations more readily when they involve negative (aversive) outcomes; however, previous research has not tested this idea directly. Four experiments yielded several empirical findings: Valence effects were reliable and robust in a causal learning task with and without monetary outcomes, they were driven by relative rather than absolute gains and losses, and they were not moderated by the magnitude of monetary gains/losses. Several models of contingency learning are discussed and modified in an attempt to explain the findings, although none of the modifications could reasonably explain valence effects.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rottman, Benjamin M
Commitee: Nokes-Malach, Timothy, Fiez, Julie, Danks, David
School: University of Pittsburgh
Department: Dietrich School Arts and Sciences
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-B 81/7(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cognitive psychology
Keywords: Cognitive psychology
Publication Number: 22617522
ISBN: 9781392347126
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