Transfer of judgments of control to a target stimulus and to novel stimuli through derived relations

Charlotte Dack, Louise McHugh, Phil Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (SciVal)


Three experiments examined the effect of response-outcome contingencies on human ratings of causal efficacy and demonstrated that such ratings transfer to novel situations through derived stimulus relations. Efficacy ratings generally followed the delta probability rule when positive response-outcome contingencies were employed (Experiment 1) and when some outcomes were not contingent on participants' responses (Experiment 2). Experiment 3 employed a negative response-outcome contingency and manipulated performance expectancies in the task. All three groups overestimated their causal efficacy ratings. A learned helplessness effect was observed when the response-outcomes were uncontrollable and in the high-expectancy group when participants' performance in the task was worse than they had expected. In all experiments, ratings transferred to a stimulus presented during the task and often generalized to novel stimuli through derived relations. These results corroborate the view that outcome probability is a determinant of causal efficacy ratings and that schedules can be employed as UCS in procedures that share characteristics of evaluative conditioning procedures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-464
Number of pages17
JournalLearning and Behavior
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • Adult
  • Association Learning
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reinforcement Schedule
  • Transfer (Psychology)


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