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Data_Sheet_1_What Is the Weather Prediction Task Good for? A New Analysis of Learning Strategies Reveals How Young Adults Solve the Task.docx (138.08 kB)

Data_Sheet_1_What Is the Weather Prediction Task Good for? A New Analysis of Learning Strategies Reveals How Young Adults Solve the Task.docx

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posted on 2022-06-13, 04:56 authored by Emilie Bochud-Fragnière, Pamela Banta Lavenex, Pierre Lavenex

The Weather Prediction Task (WPT) was originally designed to assess probabilistic classification learning. Participants were believed to gradually acquire implicit knowledge about cue–outcome association probabilities and solve the task using a multicue strategy based on the combination of all cue–outcome probabilities. However, the cognitive processes engaged in the resolution of this task have not been firmly established, and despite conflicting results, the WPT is still commonly used to assess striatal or procedural learning capacities in various populations. Here, we tested young adults on a modified version of the WPT and performed novel analyses to decipher the learning strategies and cognitive processes that may support above chance performance. The majority of participants used a hierarchical strategy by assigning different weights to the different cues according to their level of predictability. They primarily based their responses on the presence or absence of highly predictive cues and considered less predictive cues secondarily. However, the influence of the less predictive cues was inconsistent with the use of a multicue strategy, since they did not affect choices when both highly predictive cues associated with opposite outcomes were present simultaneously. Our findings indicate that overall performance is inadequate to draw conclusions about the cognitive processes assessed by the WPT. Instead, detailed analyses of performance for the different patterns of cue–outcome associations are essential to determine the learning strategies used by participants to solve the task.

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