Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

The influence of reward magnitude on stimulus memory and stimulus generalization in categorization decisions


Schlegelmilch, René; von Helversen, Bettina (2020). The influence of reward magnitude on stimulus memory and stimulus generalization in categorization decisions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

Reward magnitude is a central concept in most theories of preferential decision making and learning. However, it is unknown whether variable rewards also influence cognitive processes when learning how to make accurate decisions (e.g., sorting healthy and unhealthy food differing in appeal). To test this, we conducted 3 studies. Participants learned to classify objects with 3 feature dimensions into two categories before solving a transfer task with novel objects. During learning, we rewarded all correct decisions, but specific category exemplars yielded a 10 times higher reward (high vs. low). Counterintuitively, categorization performance did not increase for high-reward stimuli, compared with an equal-reward baseline condition. Instead, performance decreased reliably for low-reward stimuli. To analyze the influence of reward magnitude on category generalization, we implemented an exemplar-categorization model and a cue-weighting model using a Bayesian modeling approach. We tested whether reward magnitude affects (a) the availability of exemplars in memory, (b) their psychological similarity to the stimulus, or (c) attention to stimulus features. In all studies, the evidence favored the hypothesis that reward magnitude affects the similarity gradients of high-reward exemplars compared with the equal-reward baseline. The results from additional reward-judgment tasks (Studies 2 and 3) strongly suggest that the cognitive processes of reward-value generalization parallel those of category generalization. Overall, the studies provide insights highlighting the need for integrating reward- and category-learning theories.

Abstract

Reward magnitude is a central concept in most theories of preferential decision making and learning. However, it is unknown whether variable rewards also influence cognitive processes when learning how to make accurate decisions (e.g., sorting healthy and unhealthy food differing in appeal). To test this, we conducted 3 studies. Participants learned to classify objects with 3 feature dimensions into two categories before solving a transfer task with novel objects. During learning, we rewarded all correct decisions, but specific category exemplars yielded a 10 times higher reward (high vs. low). Counterintuitively, categorization performance did not increase for high-reward stimuli, compared with an equal-reward baseline condition. Instead, performance decreased reliably for low-reward stimuli. To analyze the influence of reward magnitude on category generalization, we implemented an exemplar-categorization model and a cue-weighting model using a Bayesian modeling approach. We tested whether reward magnitude affects (a) the availability of exemplars in memory, (b) their psychological similarity to the stimulus, or (c) attention to stimulus features. In all studies, the evidence favored the hypothesis that reward magnitude affects the similarity gradients of high-reward exemplars compared with the equal-reward baseline. The results from additional reward-judgment tasks (Studies 2 and 3) strongly suggest that the cognitive processes of reward-value generalization parallel those of category generalization. Overall, the studies provide insights highlighting the need for integrating reward- and category-learning theories.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics

Altmetrics

Downloads

131 downloads since deposited on 24 Mar 2020
131 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > General Psychology
Life Sciences > Developmental Neuroscience
Language:English
Date:19 March 2020
Deposited On:24 Mar 2020 13:09
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 14:56
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0096-3445
Additional Information:This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000747
PubMed ID:32191082
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPP00P1_157432
  • : Project TitleUnderstanding the Role of Memory in Judgments and Decisions: The Influence of Exemplars

Download

Green Open Access

Download PDF  'The influence of reward magnitude on stimulus memory and stimulus generalization in categorization decisions'.
Preview
Content: Accepted Version
Language: English
Filetype: PDF
Size: 2MB
View at publisher