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Similarity-based processes in human multiple-cue judgment: evidence from brain imaging and cognitive modelling
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI).
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 [en]
multiple-cue judgment, similarity-based, rule-based, exemplar-based model, fMRI, cognitive modelling
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-159209ISBN: 978-91-7855-085-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-159209DiVA, id: diva2:1317152
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
List of papers
1. A Similarity-Based Process for Human Judgment in the Parietal Cortex
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Similarity-Based Process for Human Judgment in the Parietal Cortex
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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
Keywords
judgment and decision-making, fMRI, exemplar model, multiple-cue judgment, cognitive model
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-154869 (URN)10.3389/fnhum.2018.00481 (DOI)000453235900001 ()2-s2.0-85058995922 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2019-01-04 Created: 2019-01-04 Last updated: 2019-05-21Bibliographically approved
2. Building Memory Representations for Exemplar-Based Judgment: A Role for Ventral Precuneus
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Building Memory Representations for Exemplar-Based Judgment: A Role for Ventral Precuneus
2019 (English)In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-5161, E-ISSN 1662-5161, Vol. 13, article id 228Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The brain networks underlying human multiple-cue judgment, the judgment of a continuous criterion based on multiple cues, have been examined in a few recent studies, and the ventral precuneus has been found to be a key region. Specifically, activation differences in ventral precuneus (as measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI) has been linked to an exemplar-based judgment process, where judgments are based on memory for previous similar cases. Ventral precuneus is implicated in various episodic memory processes, notably such that increased activity during learning in this region as well as in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and the medial temporal lobes (MTL) have been linked to retrieval success. The present study used fMRI during a multiple-cue judgment task to gain novel neurocognitive evidence informative for the link between learning-related activity changes in ventral precuneus and exemplar-based judgment. Participants (N = 27) spontaneously learned to make judgments during fMRI, in a multiple-cue judgment task specifically designed to induce exemplar-based processing. Contrasting brain activity during late learning to early learning revealed higher activity in ventral precuneus, the bilateral MTL, and the vmPFC. Activity in the ventral precuneus and the vmPFC was found to parametrically increase between each judgment event, and activity levels in the ventral precuneus predicted performance after learning. These results are interpreted such that the ventral precuneus supports the aspects of exemplar-based processes that are related to episodic memory, tentatively by building, storing, and being implicated in retrieving memory representations for judgment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2019
Keywords
multiple-cue judgment, exemplar-based model, cognitive modeling, fMRI, judgment and decision making, precuneus
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-159176 (URN)10.3389/fnhum.2019.00228 (DOI)000475956500001 ()31379536 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85069499904 (Scopus ID)
Note

Originally included in thesis in manuscript form.

Available from: 2019-05-21 Created: 2019-05-21 Last updated: 2019-08-08Bibliographically approved
3. Exemplar-effects in rule-based multiple-cue judgment under time pressure
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exemplar-effects in rule-based multiple-cue judgment under time pressure
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The field of multiple-cue judgment focuses on the cognitive representations and processes involved in tasks where people need to integrate information across several cues into a judgment on a single criterion dimension. We present here an experimental approach to examine the influence of exemplar-based processes in human judgment, hypothesizing that a default exemplar-based process underlie judgment with emphasis on when cue-abstraction is discontinued. Using predictions from detailed cognitive models, we evaluate participants judgments on two tests with and without time pressure, after extensive learning with cue-abstraction. Results confirmed that participants were unable to use cue-abstraction under time pressure, but failed to confirm the expected shift to exemplar-based memory based on model fit on group level. Participants did however show typical behavioral markers for exemplar-based processes under time pressure, which emphasizes its likely contribution in the judgment process. Moreover, a large subsample of participants did show the expected shift to exemplar-based memory under time pressure. Nevertheless, the results provide novel insights to how exemplar-based processes influence cue-abstraction under time pressure, and open up for the idea of a default exemplar-based process in human judgment.

Keywords
multiple-cue judgment, exemplar-based model, cue-abstraction model, time pressure, cognitive modelling
National Category
Applied Psychology Neurology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-159171 (URN)
Available from: 2019-05-21 Created: 2019-05-21 Last updated: 2019-05-22

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