Although people often have to learn from environments with scarce and highly selective outcome feedback, the question of how nonfeedback trials are represented in memory and affect later performance has received little attention in models of learning and decision making. In this article, the authors use the generalized context model (Nosofsky, 1986) as a vehicle to test contrasting hypotheses about the coding of nonfeedback trials. Data across 3 experiments with selective decision-contingent and selective outcome-contingent feedback provide support for the hypothesis of constructivist coding (Elwin, Juslin, Olsson, & Enkvist, 2007), according to which the outcomes on nonfeedback trials are coded with the most likely outcome, as inferred by the individual. The relation to sampling-based approaches to judgment, and the adaptive significance of constructivist coding, are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved).
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