Jeffrey (1983) proposed a generalization of conditioning as a means of updating probability distributions when new evidence drives no event to certainty. His rule requires the stability of certain conditional probabilities through time. We tested this assumption (“invariance”) from the psychological point of view. In Experiment 1 participants offered probability estimates for events in Jeffrey’s candlelight example. Two further scenarios were investigated in Experiment 2, one in which invariance seems justified, the other in which it does not. Results were in (...) rough conformity to Jeffrey (1983)’s principle. (shrink)
This article argues against the non-cognitivist theory of vision that has been formulated in the work of Nico Orlandi. It shows that, if we understand ‘representation’ in the way Orlandi recommends, then the visual system’s response to abstract regularities must involve the formation of representations. Recent experiments show that those representations must be used by the visual system in the production of visual experiences. Their effects cannot be explained by taking them to be non-visual effects involving attention or memory. This (...) contradicts Orlandi’s version of the non-cognitivist hypothesis, but does so while vindicating her methodological position. (shrink)
Polarization is pervasive in the current sociopolitical discourse. Polarization tends to increase cognitive inflexibility where people become less capable of updating their beliefs upon new information or switching between different ways of thinking. Cognitive inflexibility can in turn increase polarization. We propose that this positive feedback loop between polarization and cognitive inflexibility is a form of threat response that has benefited humans throughout their evolutionary history. This feedback loop, which can be driven by conflict mindset, group conformity, and simplification of (...) information, facilitates the formation of strong bonds within a group that are able to eliminate threats and increase individual fitness. Although cognitive inflexibility is conventionally seen as maladaptive, here we argue that cognitive inflexibility may be an adaptation under polarization. That is, in a highly polarized society most people only interact with members of their own social group, without having to confront perspectives from another group or interacting with out-group members. In this context, cognitive inflexibility creates rigid cognitive specialization, a set of cognitive traits that allow people to operate efficiently within their social circles but not outside of it. Although rigid cognitive specialization benefits individuals in the short term, it may lead to more polarization over the long run, and thus produce more conflict between groups. We call on future research to examine the link between cognitive inflexibility and rigid cognitive specialization. (shrink)
We explore the ability to distinguish random from non-random events. Randomness is deﬁned in terms of radioactive decay whereas non-randomness is quantiﬁed by excess repetitions (“repeat”) or alternations (“switch”) between successive bits. In the ﬁrst four experiments no mention was made of randomness, probability, or related concepts in task instructions. We found superior performance in distinguishing random stimuli from repeat stimuli compared to switch stimuli. The last three experiments explicitly evoked the concept of randomness, thus allowing comparison of perceptual and (...) conceptual performance. The ability to identify random events from switch distracters was inferior to the ability to discriminate random from switch stimuli. In contrast, for repeat stimuli the concept of randomness appears to roughly coincide with perceptual discriminability. Finally, the ability to identify or produce stimuli as random did not co-vary with the ability to discriminate random from non-random stimuli. (shrink)
We argue that i-frame interventions can and do increase support for systemic reforms, and s-frame interventions should be pursued in parallel to address key societal issues. Without accompanying i-frame interventions, s-frame interventions can fail. We offer an operant conditioning framework to generate positive spillover effects. Behavioral scientists should develop i-frame interventions that enhance, rather than compete with, s-frame interventions.