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      We do as we construe: extended behavior construed as one task is executed as one cognitive entity

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      Psychological Research

      Springer Berlin Heidelberg

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          Abstract

          We select and execute extended task episodes (‘make tea’) as one entity and not individually execute their very many components (find kettle, boil water, etc.). Such hierarchical execution is thought to occur in familiar task situations with pre-existing task episode-related scripts that once selected, control the identity and sequence of component steps. Here, in contrast, we show hierarchical execution of extended behavior in situations, where the identity and sequence of component steps were unknown and a predetermined script could not have existed. Participants performed a rule-switching task in which the rule to be applied on each trial could not be predicted. Crucially, they were biased into construing a recurring instance of three or five trials as a  single task episode. Behavioral signs of hierarchical execution, identical to those seen during memorized task-sequence executions, were present. These included longer reaction time on the first trial of each episode that was proportionate to the length of that episode, and absence of rule switch costs only between those consecutive trials that crossed episode boundaries. Hierarchical execution thus occurs every time the to-be-executed behavior is construed as one task episode, and is not limited to predictable sequences. We suggest that hierarchical execution occurs because task episodes are controlled and executed through goal-related entities assembled at the beginning of execution that subsume the execution and instantiate purposive control across time until the goal is complete.

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          Most cited references 49

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          We argue that to best comprehend many data sets, plotting judiciously selected sample statistics with associated confidence intervals can usefully supplement, or even replace, standard hypothesis-testing procedures. We note that most social science statistics textbooks limit discussion of confidence intervals to their use in between-subject designs. Our central purpose in this article is to describe how to compute an analogous confidence interval that can be used in within-subject designs. This confidence interval rests on the reasoning that because between-subject variance typically plays no role in statistical analyses of within-subject designs, it can legitimately be ignored; hence, an appropriate confidence interval can be based on the standard within-subject error term-that is, on the variability due to the subject × condition interaction. Computation of such a confidence interval is simple and is embodied in Equation 2 on p. 482 of this article. This confidence interval has two useful properties. First, it is based on the same error term as is the corresponding analysis of variance, and hence leads to comparable conclusions. Second, it is related by a known factor (√2) to a confidence interval of the difference between sample means; accordingly, it can be used to infer the faith one can put in some pattern of sample means as a reflection of the underlying pattern of population means. These two properties correspond to analogous properties of the more widely used between-subject confidence interval.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Ausaf.Farooqui@gmail.com
                Journal
                Psychol Res
                Psychol Res
                Psychological Research
                Springer Berlin Heidelberg (Berlin/Heidelberg )
                0340-0727
                1430-2772
                18 July 2018
                18 July 2018
                2019
                : 83
                : 1
                : 84-103
                Affiliations
                ISNI 0000 0001 2177 2032, GRID grid.415036.5, MRC-Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, ; 15 Chaucer Road, Cambridge, CB2 7EF UK
                Article
                1051
                10.1007/s00426-018-1051-2
                6373351
                30022243
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

                Funding
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000265, Medical Research Council;
                Award ID: MC-A060-5PQ20
                Award Recipient :
                Categories
                Original Article
                Custom metadata
                © Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry

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