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J Exp Psychol Gen. 2006 May;135(2):282-97.

Dissociating uncertainty responses and reinforcement signals in the comparative study of uncertainty monitoring.

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  • 1Department of Psychology and Center for Cognitive Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA. psysmith@buffalo.edu

Abstract

Although researchers are exploring animals' capacity for monitoring their states of uncertainty, the use of some paradigms allows the criticism that animals map avoidance responses to error-causing stimuli not because of uncertainty monitored but because of feedback signals and stimulus aversion. The authors addressed this criticism with an uncertainty-monitoring task in which participants completed blocks of trials with feedback deferred so that they could not associate reinforcement signals to particular stimuli or stimulus-response pairs. Humans and 1 of 2 monkeys were able to make cognitive, decisional uncertainty responses that were independent of feedback or reinforcement history within a task. This finding unifies the comparative literature on uncertainty monitoring. The dissociation of performance from reinforcement has theoretical implications, and the deferred-feedback technique has many applications.

2006 APA, all rights reserved

PMID:
16719654
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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