Sequential effects reflect parallel learning of multiple environmental regularities[PDF] [BibTeX]
Across a wide range of cognitive tasks, recent experience inﬂuences behavior. For example, when individuals repeatedly perform a simple two-alternative forced-choice task (2AFC), response latencies vary dramatically based on the immediately preceding trial sequence. These sequential effects have been interpreted as adaptation to the statistical structure of an uncertain, changing environment (e.g. Jones & Sieck, 2003; Mozer, Kinoshita, & Shettel, 2007; Yu & Cohen, 2008). The Dynamic Belief Model (DBM) (Yu & Cohen, 2008) explains sequential effects in 2AFC tasks as a rational consequence of a dynamic internal representation that tracks second-order statistics of the trial sequence (repetition rates) and predicts whether the upcoming trial will be a repetition or an alternation of the previous trial. Experimental results suggest that ﬁrst-order statistics (base rates) also inﬂuence sequential effects. We propose a model that learns both ﬁrst- and second-order sequence properties, each according to the basic principles of the DBM but under a uniﬁed inferential framework. This model, the Dynamic Belief Mixture Model (DBM2), obtains precise, parsimonious ﬁts to data. Furthermore, the model predicts dissociations in behavioral (Maloney, Dal Martello, Sahm, & Spillmann, 2005) and electrophysiological studies (Jentzsch & Sommer, 2002), supporting the psychological and neurobiological reality of its two components.