Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University

Advisor

Moss, Jarrod

Committee Member

Jarosz, Andrew F.

Committee Member

Pratte, Michael S.

Date of Degree

5-13-2022

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Campus Access Only

Major

Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Psychology

Abstract

Humans have a tendency to impute structure spontaneously even in simple learning tasks, however the way they approach structure learning can vary drastically. The present study sought to determine why individuals learn structure differently. One hypothesized explanation for differences in structure learning is individual differences in cognitive control. Cognitive control allows individuals to maintain representations of a task and may interact with reinforcement learning systems. It was expected that individual differences in propensity to apply cognitive control, which shares component processes with hierarchical reinforcement learning, may explain how individuals learn structure differently in a simple structure learning task. Results showed that proactive control and model-based control explained differences in the rate at which individuals applied structure learning.

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