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ecco: An error correcting comparator theory

Author:
Ghirlanda, Stefano
Source:
Behavioural processes 2018 v.154 pp. 36-44
ISSN:
0376-6357
Subject:
conditioned behavior, learning, models
Abstract:
Building on the work of Ralph Miller and coworkers (Miller and Matzel, 1988; Denniston et al., 2001; Stout and Miller, 2007), I propose a new formalization of the comparator hypothesis that seeks to overcome some shortcomings of existing formalizations. The new model, dubbed ecco for “Error-Correcting COmparisons,” retains the comparator process and the learning of CS–CS associations based on contingency. ecco assumes, however, that learning of CS–US associations is driven by total error correction, as first introduced by Rescorla and Wagner (1972). I explore ecco's behavior in acquisition, compound conditioning, blocking, backward blocking, and unovershadowing. In these paradigms, ecco appears capable of avoiding the problems of current comparator models, such as the inability to solve some discriminations and some paradoxical effects of stimulus salience. At the same time, ecco exhibits the retrospective revaluation phenomena that are characteristic of comparator theory.
Agid:
6120686