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A Similarity-Based Process for Human Judgment in the Parietal Cortex
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB).
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI).
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB).
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2018 (English)In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-5161, E-ISSN 1662-5161, Vol. 12, article id 481Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

One important distinction in psychology is between inferences based on associative memory and inferences based on analysis and rules. Much previous empirical work conceive of associative and analytical processes as two exclusive ways of addressing a judgment task, where only one process is selected and engaged at a time, in an either-or fashion. However, related work indicate that the processes are better understood as being in interplay and simultaneously engaged. Based on computational modeling and brain imaging of spontaneously adopted judgment strategies together with analyses of brain activity elicited in tasks where participants were explicitly instructed to perform similarity-based associative judgments or rule-based judgments (n = 74), we identified brain regions related to the two types of processes. We observed considerable overlap in activity patterns. The precuneus was activated for both types of judgments, and its activity predicted how well a similarity-based model fit the judgments. Activity in the superior frontal gyrus predicted the fit of a rule-based judgment model. The results suggest the precuneus as a key node for similarity-based judgments, engaged both when overt responses are guided by similarity-based and rule-based processes. These results are interpreted such that similarity-based processes are engaged in parallel to rule-based-processes, a finding with direct implications for cognitive theories of judgment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2018. Vol. 12, article id 481
Keywords [en]
judgment and decision-making, fMRI, exemplar model, multiple-cue judgment, cognitive model
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-154869DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00481ISI: 000453235900001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85058995922OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-154869DiVA, id: diva2:1275178
Available from: 2019-01-04 Created: 2019-01-04 Last updated: 2019-05-21Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Similarity-based processes in human multiple-cue judgment: evidence from brain imaging and cognitive modelling
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Similarity-based processes in human multiple-cue judgment: evidence from brain imaging and cognitive modelling
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: We often make judgments that require the consideration of several sources of information. For example, a teacher that grades a student´s exam question often integrates multiple sources of information (cues: details provided in the answer) into a single criterion dimension (the grade). This is an example of a multiple-cue judgment: a continuous estimate based on multiple cues. One common idea in the literature is that people often utilize different memory representations during this kind of judgment process. People sometimes rely on rules, where they weigh the impact of different cues together in an additive linear way. At other times, people focus on the similarity between a probe and their experience of previous similar cases.  It has been proposed that similarity is an important organizing principle by which people make judgments, and that similarity always influence the judgment process to some degree. Behavioral methods with cognitive modelling (fitting cognitive models of rule-based and similarity-based processes to behavioral judgment data) have been used to test when people engage in either process, based on the classification of the better model fit. The brain networks that support human multiple-cue judgment could provide some answers to the role of similarity-based processes, but the existing knowledge on this topic is limited.  Here, I combined functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), cognitive modelling and experimental methods to extend previous behavioral research, and I focused on the nature of similarity in human multiple-cue judgment. I explored how the two types of memory representations are represented in the brain, if rule-based and similarity-based processes are exclusively engaged or operate as an interplay during the judgment process, and tested if similarity-based processes are the default process in rule-based judgment. 

Results: Study I investigated how the relationship between rule-based and similarity-based processes should be understood. The results revealed that a similarity-based process in the precuneus is shared between the two conditions: a key brain region for similarity-based processes is thus critical for human judgment. Study II further explored the precuneus role in similarity-based judgment learning, and demonstrated that the precuneus contribute to a mnemonic process related to storing and retrieving memory representations that are used for similarity comparison. Study III tested the influence of similarity-based processes in rule-based judgment when a learned rule could not be applied, and results suggested that similarity-based processes influenced rule-based behavior. 

Conclusion: These findings converge to the idea that similarity-based processes are critical for human multiple-cue judgment. Specifically, a similarity-based process in the precuneus, presumably involved in storage and retrieval of memory representations that are used for similarity comparison, stands out as a novel contribution to the neuroscience of human multiple-cue judgment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2019. p. 84
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 2044
Keywords
multiple-cue judgment, similarity-based, rule-based, exemplar-based model, fMRI, cognitive modelling
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-159209 (URN)978-91-7855-085-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-06-14, Bio.A.206, Biologihuset, Flygel A, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-05-24 Created: 2019-05-21 Last updated: 2019-06-13Bibliographically approved

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Karlsson Wirebring, LinneaStillesjö, SaraEriksson, JohanNyberg, Lars

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