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      Persistence of Causal Illusions After Extensive Training

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          Abstract

          We carried out an experiment using a conventional causal learning task but extending the number of learning trials participants were exposed to. Participants in the standard training group were exposed to 48 learning trials before being asked about the potential causal relationship under examination, whereas for participants in the long training group the length of training was extended to 288 trials. In both groups, the event acting as the potential cause had zero correlation with the occurrence of the outcome, but both the outcome density and the cause density were high, therefore providing a breeding ground for the emergence of a causal illusion. In contradiction to the predictions of associative models such the Rescorla-Wagner model, we found moderate evidence against the hypothesis that extending the learning phase alters the causal illusion. However, assessing causal impressions recurrently did weaken participants’ causal illusions.

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          Most cited references34

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          Bayesian inference for psychology. Part II: Example applications with JASP

          Bayesian hypothesis testing presents an attractive alternative to p value hypothesis testing. Part I of this series outlined several advantages of Bayesian hypothesis testing, including the ability to quantify evidence and the ability to monitor and update this evidence as data come in, without the need to know the intention with which the data were collected. Despite these and other practical advantages, Bayesian hypothesis tests are still reported relatively rarely. An important impediment to the widespread adoption of Bayesian tests is arguably the lack of user-friendly software for the run-of-the-mill statistical problems that confront psychologists for the analysis of almost every experiment: the t-test, ANOVA, correlation, regression, and contingency tables. In Part II of this series we introduce JASP (http://www.jasp-stats.org), an open-source, cross-platform, user-friendly graphical software package that allows users to carry out Bayesian hypothesis tests for standard statistical problems. JASP is based in part on the Bayesian analyses implemented in Morey and Rouder’s BayesFactor package for R. Armed with JASP, the practical advantages of Bayesian hypothesis testing are only a mouse click away.
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            Judgment of contingency in depressed and nondepressed students: sadder but wiser?

            How are humans' subjective judgments of contingencies related to objective contingencies? Work in social psychology and human contingency learning predicts that the greater the frequency of desired outcomes, the greater people's judgments of contingency will be. Second, the learned helplessness theory of depression provides both a strong and a weak prediction concerning the linkage between subjective and objective contingencies. According to the strong prediction, depressed individuals should underestimate the degree of contingency between their responses and outcomes relative to the objective degree of contingency. According to the weak prediction, depressed individuals merely should judge that there is a smaller degree of contingency between their responses and outcomes than nondepressed individuals should. In addition, the present investigation deduced a new strong prediction from the helplessness theory: Nondepressed individuals should overestimate the degree of contingency between their responses and outcomes relative to the objective degree of contingency. In the experiments, depressed and nondepressed students were present with one of a series of problems varying in the actual degree of contingency. In each problem, subjects estimated the degree of contingency between their responses (pressing or not pressing a button) and an environmental outcome (onset of a green light). Performance on a behavioral task and estimates of the conditional probability of green light onset associated with the two response alternatives provided additional measures for assessing beliefs about contingencies. Depressed students' judgments of contingency were surprisingly accurate in all four experiments. Nondepressed students, on the other hand, overestimated the degree of contingency between their responses and outcomes when noncontingent outcomes were frequent and/or desired and underestimated the degree of contingency when contingent outcomes were undesired. Thus, predictions derived from social psychology concerning the linkage between subjective and objective contingencies were confirmed for nondepressed students but not for depressed students. Further, the predictions of helplessness theory received, at best, minimal support. The learned helplessness and self-serving motivational bias hypotheses are evaluated as explanations of the results. In addition, parallels are drawn between the present results and phenomena in cognitive psychology, social psychology, and animal learning. Finally, implications for cognitive illusions in normal people, appetitive helplessness, judgment of contingency between stimuli, and learning theory are discussed.
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              Illusory correlation in interpersonal perception: A cognitive basis of stereotypic judgments

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1664-1078
                24 January 2019
                2019
                : 10
                Affiliations
                [1] 1Departament de Cognició, Desenvolupament y Psicologia de la Educació, Universitat de Barcelona , Barcelona, Spain
                [2] 2Departamento de Psicología Básica, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid , Madrid, Spain
                [3] 3Institut de Neurociències, Universitat de Barcelona , Barcelona, Spain
                Author notes

                Edited by: Tom Beckers, KU Leuven, Belgium

                Reviewed by: Jessica Lee, University of New South Wales, Australia; Kosuke Sawa, Senshu University, Japan

                *Correspondence: Itxaso Barberia, itsasobarberia@ 123456ub.edu

                This article was submitted to Cognition, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Article
                10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00024
                6353834
                12adb4ae-4479-4b28-bdc4-abc175844432
                Copyright © 2019 Barberia, Vadillo and Rodríguez-Ferreiro.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 1, Equations: 2, References: 38, Pages: 9, Words: 0
                Funding
                Funded by: Agencia Estatal de Investigación 10.13039/501100011033
                Award ID: PSI2016-75776-R (AEI/FEDER, UE)
                Funded by: European Regional Development Fund 10.13039/501100008530
                Award ID: PSI2016-75776-R (AEI/FEDER, UE)
                Funded by: Comunidad de Madrid 10.13039/100012818
                Award ID: 2016-T1/SOC-1395
                Categories
                Psychology
                Original Research

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                causal illusion,illusion of causality,contingency learning,causal learning,extensive training,rescorla-wagner model

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