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Interactions between attributions and beliefs at trial-by-trial level: Evidence from a novel computer game task

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Dayan,  P       
Department of Computational Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Zamfir, E., & Dayan, P. (2022). Interactions between attributions and beliefs at trial-by-trial level: Evidence from a novel computer game task. PLoS Computational Biology, 18(9): e1009920. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1009920.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-5339-8
Abstract
Inferring causes of the good and bad events that we experience is part of the process of building models of our own capabilities and of the world around us. Making such inferences can be difficult because of complex reciprocal relationships between attributions of the causes of particular events, and beliefs about the capabilities and skills that influence our role in bringing them about. Abnormal causal attributions have long been studied in connection with psychiatric disorders, notably depression and paranoia; however, the mechanisms behind attributional inferences and the way they can go awry are not fully understood. We administered a novel, challenging, game of skill to a substantial population of healthy online participants, and collected trial-by-trial time series of both their beliefs about skill and attributions about the causes of the success and failure of real experienced outcomes. We found reciprocal relationships that provide empirical confirmation of the attribution-self representation cycle theory. This highlights the dynamic nature of the processes involved in attribution, and validates a framework for developing and testing computational accounts of attribution-belief interactions.