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Manipulating Memory Associations Changes Decision-making Preferences in a Preconditioning Task

Wang, J., Otgaar, H., Smeets, T. , Howe, M. L. ORCID: 0000-0002-5747-5571 & Zhou, C. (2019). Manipulating Memory Associations Changes Decision-making Preferences in a Preconditioning Task. Consciousness and Cognition, 69, pp. 103-112. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2019.01.016


Memories of past experiences can guide our decisions. Thus, if memories are undermined or distorted, decision making should be affected. Nevertheless, little empirical research has been done to examine the role of memory in reinforcement decision-making . We hypothesized that if memories guide choices in a conditioning decision-making task, then manipulating these memories would result in a change of decision preferences to gain reward. We manipulated participants’ memories by providing false feedback that their memory associations were wrong before they made decisions that could lead them to win money . Participants’ memory ratings decreased significantly after receiving false feedback. More importantly, we found that false feedback led participants’ decision bias to disappear after their memory associations were undermined . Our results suggest that reinforcement decision-making can be altered by fasle feedback on memories . The results are discussed using memory mechanisms such as spreading activation theories.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 Elsevier. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: memory, false feedback, decision making, reinforcement learning, sensory preconditioning
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Wang-Otgaar-Smeets-Howe-Zhou C&C In Press.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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