Learned Predictiveness and Outcome Predictability Effects Are Not Simply Two Sides of the Same Coin
The Learned Predictiveness effect refers to the observation that learning about the relationship between a cue and an outcome is influenced by the predictive relevance of the cue for other outcomes. Similarly, the Outcome Predictability effect refers to a recent observation that the previous predictability of an outcome affects learning about this outcome in new situations, too. We hypothesize that both effects may be two manifestations of the same phenomenon and stimuli that have been involved in highly predictive relationships may be learned about faster when they are involved in new relationships regardless of their functional role in predictive learning as cues and outcomes. Four experiments manipulated both the relationships and the function of the stimuli. While we were able to replicate the standard effects, they did not survive a transfer to situations where the functional role of the stimuli changed, that is the outcome of the first phase becomes a cue in the second learning phase or the cue of the first phase becomes the outcome of the second phase. Furthermore, unlike learned predictiveness, there was little indication that the distribution of overt attention in the second phase was influenced by previous predictability. The results suggest that these 2 very similar effects are not manifestations of a more general phenomenon but rather independent from each other.