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Dual-processes in learning and judgment: Evidence from the multiple cue probability learning paradigm


  • Rolison, Jonathan J.
  • Evans, Jonathan St. B.T.
  • Dennis, Ian
  • Walsh, Clare R.


Multiple cue probability learning (MCPL) involves learning to predict a criterion based on a set of novel cues when feedback is provided in response to each judgment made. But to what extent does MCPL require controlled attention and explicit hypothesis testing? The results of two experiments show that this depends on cue polarity. Learning about cues that predict positively is aided by automatic cognitive processes, whereas learning about cues that predict negatively is especially demanding on controlled attention and hypothesis testing processes. In the studies reported here, negative, but not positive cue learning related to individual differences in working memory capacity both on measures of overall judgment performance and modelling of the implicit learning process. However, the introduction of a novel method to monitor participants’ explicit beliefs about a set of cues on a trial-by-trial basis revealed that participants were engaged in explicit hypothesis testing about positive and negative cues, and explicit beliefs about both types of cues were linked to working memory capacity. Taken together, our results indicate that while people are engaged in explicit hypothesis testing during cue learning, explicit beliefs are applied to judgment only when cues are negative.

Suggested Citation

  • Rolison, Jonathan J. & Evans, Jonathan St. B.T. & Dennis, Ian & Walsh, Clare R., 2012. "Dual-processes in learning and judgment: Evidence from the multiple cue probability learning paradigm," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 189-202.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:118:y:2012:i:2:p:189-202
    DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2012.03.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hugh Kelley & Daniel Friedman, 2002. "Learning to Forecast Price," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 556-573, October.
    2. Balzer, William K. & Sulsky, Lorne M. & Hammer, Leslie B. & Sumner, Kenneth E., 1992. "Task information, cognitive information, or functional validity information: Which components of cognitive feedback affect performance?," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 35-54, October.
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