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The relative validity effect (Wagner, Logan, Haberlandt, & Price, 1968) demonstrated that a strong cue or cause reduces responding to, or judgments of, a weaker cue or cause. We report two experiments with human subjects using relative validity preparations in which we investigate one- and two-cue competition effects. Previously, we investigated the effect using instrumental and Pavlovian conditioning preparations with rats. In the first experiment, we used a procedure analogous to the animal preparations. In the second experiment, we used a different probabilistic procedure. The results with humans and rats are very similar. In each species we find similar interference with processing the moderate predictor with one or with two strong competitors. These results are not well predicted by most associative models.

Original publication




Journal article


Learn Behav

Publication Date





160 - 171


Adult, Animals, Association Learning, Female, Humans, Male, Mental Processes, Models, Psychological, Rats