Recency and primacy in causal judgments: Effects of probe question and context switch on latent inhibition and extinction
Memory & Cognition, Volume 36, Number 6, September 2008 , pp. 1087-1093(7)
Traditional associative models assume that associative weights are updated on a trial-by-trial basis. As a result, it is usually expected that responses based on these weights will tend to reflect the most recently presented contingencies. However, a number of studies of human causal judgments have shown primacy effects, wherein judgments obtained at the end of a series of trials are more strongly influenced by a contingency that was in force early in the sequence than by a contingency that was in force later in the sequence. The experiments described in this article replicated other work showing that requesting causal judgments during a sequence can reverse primacy and produce strong recency effects. Evidence was also obtained to suggest that primacy effects are produced by an interaction between latent inhibition and extinction processes and that requesting a judgment affects both of these processes.