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Neural substrates of similarity and rule-based strategies in judgment


von Helversen, Bettina; Karlsson, Linnea; Rasch, Björn; Rieskamp, Jörg (2014). Neural substrates of similarity and rule-based strategies in judgment. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience:8:809.

Abstract

Making accurate judgments is a core human competence and a prerequisite for success in many areas of life. Plenty of evidence exists that people can employ different judgment strategies to solve identical judgment problems. In categorization, it has been demonstrated that similarity-based and rule-based strategies are associated with activity in different brain regions. Building on this research, the present work tests whether solving two identical judgment problems recruits different neural substrates depending on people's judgment strategies. Combining cognitive modeling of judgment strategies at the behavioral level with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we compare brain activity when using two archetypal judgment strategies: a similarity-based exemplar strategy and a rule-based heuristic strategy. Using an exemplar-based strategy should recruit areas involved in long-term memory processes to a larger extent than a heuristic strategy. In contrast, using a heuristic strategy should recruit areas involved in the application of rules to a larger extent than an exemplar-based strategy. Largely consistent with our hypotheses, we found that using an exemplar-based strategy led to relatively higher BOLD activity in the anterior prefrontal and inferior parietal cortex, presumably related to retrieval and selective attention processes. In contrast, using a heuristic strategy led to relatively higher activity in areas in the dorsolateral prefrontal and the temporal-parietal cortex associated with cognitive control and information integration. Thus, even when people solve identical judgment problems, different neural substrates can be recruited depending on the judgment strategy involved.

Abstract

Making accurate judgments is a core human competence and a prerequisite for success in many areas of life. Plenty of evidence exists that people can employ different judgment strategies to solve identical judgment problems. In categorization, it has been demonstrated that similarity-based and rule-based strategies are associated with activity in different brain regions. Building on this research, the present work tests whether solving two identical judgment problems recruits different neural substrates depending on people's judgment strategies. Combining cognitive modeling of judgment strategies at the behavioral level with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we compare brain activity when using two archetypal judgment strategies: a similarity-based exemplar strategy and a rule-based heuristic strategy. Using an exemplar-based strategy should recruit areas involved in long-term memory processes to a larger extent than a heuristic strategy. In contrast, using a heuristic strategy should recruit areas involved in the application of rules to a larger extent than an exemplar-based strategy. Largely consistent with our hypotheses, we found that using an exemplar-based strategy led to relatively higher BOLD activity in the anterior prefrontal and inferior parietal cortex, presumably related to retrieval and selective attention processes. In contrast, using a heuristic strategy led to relatively higher activity in areas in the dorsolateral prefrontal and the temporal-parietal cortex associated with cognitive control and information integration. Thus, even when people solve identical judgment problems, different neural substrates can be recruited depending on the judgment strategy involved.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:03 Mar 2017 10:05
Last Modified:06 Aug 2017 11:32
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1662-5161
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00809
PubMed ID:25360099

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