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Henrik Olsson - Top 30 Publications

A sampling model of social judgment.

Studies of social judgments have demonstrated a number of diverse phenomena that were so far difficult to explain within a single theoretical framework. Prominent examples are false consensus and false uniqueness, as well as self-enhancement and self-depreciation. Here we show that these seemingly complex phenomena can be a product of an interplay between basic cognitive processes and the structure of social and task environments. We propose and test a new process model of social judgment, the social sampling model (SSM), which provides a parsimonious quantitative account of different types of social judgments. In the SSM, judgments about characteristics of broader social environments are based on sampling of social instances from memory, where instances receive activation if they belong to a target reference class and have a particular characteristic. These sampling processes interact with the properties of social and task environments, including homophily, shapes of frequency distributions, and question formats. For example, in line with the model's predictions we found that whether false consensus or false uniqueness will occur depends on the level of homophily in people's social circles and on the way questions are asked. The model also explains some previously unaccounted-for patterns of self-enhancement and self-depreciation. People seem to be well informed about many characteristics of their immediate social circles, which in turn influence how they evaluate broader social environments and their position within them. (PsycINFO Database Record

Treatment Restarting After Discontinuation of Adjuvant Hormone Therapy in Breast Cancer Patients.

Over half of breast cancer patients discontinue their adjuvant hormone therapy, permanently or temporarily. We aimed to identify predictors of treatment restarting after discontinuation of adjuvant hormone therapy and to test the hypothesis that treatment restarting is associated with better breast cancer outcomes.

Maternal depressive symptoms, maternal asthma, and asthma in school-aged children.

Little is known about the joint effects of maternal asthma and maternal depression on childhood asthma.

Sibship and risk of asthma in a total population: A disease comparative approach.

Depression, anxiety, and antidepressant treatment in women: association with in vitro fertilization outcome.

To investigate associations between depression, anxiety, and antidepressants before in vitro fertilization (IVF) and IVF cycle outcomes, including pregnancy, live birth, and miscarriage.

Opening the cuebox: the information children and young adults generate and rely on when making inferences from memory.

We used a cue-generation and a cue-selection paradigm to investigate the cues children (9- to 12-year-olds) and young adults (17-year-olds) generate and select for a range of inferences from memory. We found that children generated more cues than young adults, who, when asked why they did not generate some particular cues, responded that they did not consider them relevant for the task at hand. On average, the cues generated by children were more perceptual but as informative as the cues generated by young adults. When asked to select the most informative of two cues, both children and young adults tended to choose a hidden (i.e., not perceptual) cue. Our results suggest a developmental change in the cuebox (i.e., the set of cues used to make inferences from memory): New cues are added to the cuebox as more cues are learned, and some old, perceptual cues, although informative, are replaced with hidden cues, which, by both children and young adults, are generally assumed to be more informative than perceptual cues.

Time trends in incidence of cutaneous melanoma by detailed anatomical location and patterns of ultraviolet radiation exposure: a retrospective population-based study.

Given the wide public health implications of the melanoma epidemic, ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure patterns contributing to cutaneous melanoma development should be clearly identified. To describe time trends of anatomic sites of melanoma using a UVR exposure model based on clothing and sun habits, we reviewed the medical records of all patients diagnosed with primary invasive melanoma or melanoma in situ (MIS) during the years 1977-78, 1983-84, 1989-90, 1995-96, and 2000-01 (n=3058) in one healthcare region of Sweden. Age-standardized incidence rates and relative risks (RRs) of melanoma by calendar period were estimated for intermittent and chronic UVR exposure sites. From 1977-78 to 2000-01, the incidence rates of all melanomas at intermittent UVR exposure sites increased both among men (7.8-16.5/10 person-years) and among women (7.6-14.6/10 person-years), with a sex-adjusted and age-adjusted RR of 2.1 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.8-2.4, Ptrend<0.0001]. This increase was evident for both invasive melanoma and MIS. Melanoma at chronic sites increased among men from 1.7 to 2.3/10 person-years, and among women from 1.4 to 1.8/10 person-years, with a corresponding adjusted RR of 1.4 (95% CI 1.0-1.9, Ptrend=0.01), driven primarily by MIS. For melanomas at intermittent UVR exposure sites, the male sex was positively associated with central (core) areas (chest, back, neck, shoulders, thighs; RR 1.7, 95% CI 1.5-1.9), but negatively associated with peripheral areas (lateral arms, lower legs, dorsum of feet; RR 0.3, 95% CI 0.3-0.4), compared with the female sex. Sex-specific intermittent UVR exposure patterns drove the observed increase in melanoma incidence, whereas chronic UVR exposure contributed less.

Association between parental age and asthma in a population-based register study.

Aspirin intake and breast cancer survival - a nation-wide study using prospectively recorded data in Sweden.

Aspirin (ASA) use has been associated with improved breast cancer survival in several prospective studies.

Sentinel node location in trunk and extremity melanomas: uncommon or multiple lymph drainage does not affect survival.

Patients with cutaneous melanoma (CM) on the trunk have a worse prognosis than those with extremity CM. One reason could be multiple or uncommon (outside axilla or groin) sentinel node locations (SNLs).

Mapping the structure of semantic memory.

Aggregating snippets from the semantic memories of many individuals may not yield a good map of an individual's semantic memory. The authors analyze the structure of semantic networks that they sampled from individuals through a new snowball sampling paradigm during approximately 6 weeks of 1-hr daily sessions. The semantic networks of individuals have a small-world structure with short distances between words and high clustering. The distribution of links follows a power law truncated by an exponential cutoff, meaning that most words are poorly connected and a minority of words has a high, although bounded, number of connections. Existing aggregate networks mirror the individual link distributions, and so they are not scale-free, as has been previously assumed; still, there are properties of individual structure that the aggregate networks do not reflect. A simulation of the new sampling process suggests that it can uncover the true structure of an individual's semantic memory.

Social sampling explains apparent biases in judgments of social environments.

How people assess their social environments plays a central role in how they evaluate their life circumstances. Using a large probabilistic national sample, we investigated how accurately people estimate characteristics of the general population. For most characteristics, people seemed to underestimate the quality of others' lives and showed apparent self-enhancement, but for some characteristics, they seemed to overestimate the quality of others' lives and showed apparent self-depreciation. In addition, people who were worse off appeared to enhance their social position more than those who were better off. We demonstrated that these effects can be explained by a simple social-sampling model. According to the model, people infer how others are doing by sampling from their own immediate social environments. Interplay of these sampling processes and the specific structure of social environments leads to the apparent biases. The model predicts the empirical results better than alternative accounts and highlights the importance of considering environmental structure when studying human cognition.

Type of learning task impacts performance and strategy selection in decision making.

In order to be adaptive, cognition requires knowledge about the statistical structure of the environment. We show that decision performance and the selection between cue-based and exemplar-based inference mechanisms can depend critically on how this knowledge is acquired. Two types of learning tasks are distinguished: learning by comparison, by which the decision maker learns which of two objects has a higher criterion value, and direct criterion learning, by which the decision maker learns an object's criterion value directly. In three experiments, participants were trained either with learning by comparison or with direct criterion learning and subsequently tested with paired-comparison, classification, and estimation tasks. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that although providing less information, learning by comparison led to better generalization (at test), both when generalizing to new objects and when the task format at test differed from the task format during training. Moreover, learning by comparison enabled participants to provide rather accurate continuous estimates. Computational modeling suggests that the advantage of learning by comparison is due to differences in strategy selection: whereas direct criterion learning fosters the reliance on exemplar processing, learning by comparison fosters cue-based mechanisms. The pattern in decision performance reversed when the task environment was changed from a linear (Experiments 1 and 2) to a nonlinear structure (Experiment 3), where direct criterion learning led to better decisions. Our results demonstrate the critical impact of learning conditions for the subsequent selection of decision strategies and highlight the key role of comparison processes in cognition.

Ways of probing situated concepts.

Two ways of eliciting conceptual content have been to instruct participants to list the intrinsic properties that concept exemplars possess or to report any thoughts that come to mind about the concept. It has been argued that the open, unconstrained probe is better able to elicit the situational information that concepts contain. We evaluated this proposal in two experiments comparing the two probes with regard to the content that they yield for object concepts at the superordinate and basic levels. The results showed that the open probe was better able to elicit situated conceptual knowledge and point out differences in the representations of superordinate and basic concepts.

Do children profit from looking beyond looks? From similarity-based to cue abstraction processes in multiple-cue judgment.

The authors investigated the ability of 9- to 11-year-olds and of adults to use similarity-based and rule-based processes as a function of task characteristics in a task that can be considered either a categorization task or a multiple-cue judgment task, depending on the nature of the criterion (binary vs. continuous). Both children and adults relied on similarity-based processes in the categorization task. However, adults relied on cue abstraction in the multiple-cue judgment task, whereas the majority of children continued to rely on similarity-based processes. Reliance on cue abstraction resulted in better judgments for adults but not for children in the multiple-cue judgment task. This suggests that 9- to 11-year-olds may have defaulted to similarity-based processes because they were not able to employ a cue abstraction process efficiently.

Knowledge, attitudes and practice about malaria in rural Tigray, Ethiopia.

To assess the knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) regarding malaria and their determinants in a rural population of northern Ethiopia.

Binding feature dimensions in visual short-term memory.

We explored several possible influences on binding in visual short-term memory (VSTM) performance. The task was to report whether a test object was the same ("old" trials) or different ("new" trials) from any of the sample objects seen a second ago. The objects were composed of two features that varied from continuous to discrete shapes and colors. In "old" trials the test object appeared either in the same or different position. In "new" trials the test object differed along both features, requiring storage of only one feature per object; along one feature, requiring no binding but storage of all features; or it was created by recombining features from the sample, which requires binding. Existing storage hypotheses are unable to explain the similar sensitivity (d') obtained in the two last conditions when position remained the same and may suggest that links are created between positions and features. Highest sensitivity occurred when the test object remained at the same position, required no binding, and discrete features were used. Object-type x position, and feature combination x position interactions occurred, suggesting different storage modes depending on whether objects change position during retention.

Exemplars in the mist: the cognitive substrate of the representativeness heuristic.

The idea that people often make probability judgments by a heuristic short-cut, the representativeness heuristic, has been widely influential, but also criticized for being vague. The empirical trademark of the heuristic is characteristic deviations between normative probabilities and judgments (e.g., the conjunction fallacy, base-rate neglect). In this article the authors contrast two hypotheses concerning the cognitive substrate of the representativeness heuristic, the prototype hypothesis (Kahneman & Frederick, 2002) and the exemplar hypothesis (Juslin & Persson, 2002), in a task especially designed to elicit representativeness effects. Computational modelling and an experiment reveal that representativeness effects are evident early in training and persist longer in a more complex task environment and that the data are best accounted for by a model implementing the exemplar hypothesis.

Adaptive changes between cue abstraction and exemplar memory in a multiple-cue judgment task with continuous cues.

The majority of previous studies on multiple-cue judgment with continuous cues have involved comparisons between judgments and multiple linear regression models that integrated cues into a judgment. The authors present an experiment indicating that in a judgment task with additive combination of multiple continuous cues, people indeed displayed abstract knowledge of the cue criterion relations that was mentally integrated into a judgment, but in a task with multiplicative combination of continuous cues, people instead relied on retrieval of memory traces of similar judgment cases (exemplars). These results suggest that people may adopt qualitatively distinct forms of knowledge, depending on the structure of a multiple-cue judgment task. The authors discuss implications for theories of multiple-cue judgment.

Constructivist coding: learning from selective feedback.

Although much learning in real-life environments relies on highly selective feedback about outcomes, virtually all cognitive models of learning, judgment, and categorization assume complete and representative feedback. We investigated empirically the effect of selective feedback on decision making and how people code experience with selective feedback. The results showed that, in contrast to a commonly raised concern, performance was not impaired following learning with selective and biased feedback. Furthermore, even in a simple decision task, the experience that people acquired was not a mere recording of the observed outcomes, but rather a reconstruction from general task knowledge.

Information integration in multiple cue judgment: a division of labor hypothesis.

There is considerable evidence that judgment is constrained to additive integration of information. The authors propose an explanation of why serial and additive cognitive integration can produce accurate multiple cue judgment both in additive and non-additive environments in terms of an adaptive division of labor between multiple representations. It is hypothesized that, whereas the additive, independent linear effect of each cue can be explicitly abstracted and integrated by a serial, additive judgment process, a variety of sophisticated task properties, like non-additive cue combination, non-linear relations, and inter-cue correlation, are carried implicitly by exemplar memory. Three experiments investigating the effect of additive versus non-additive cue combination verify the predicted shift in cognitive representations as a function of the underlying combination rule.

Dissociations between slant-contrast and reversed slant-contrast.

A vertical test probe is misperceived as slanted in the opposite direction to an inducer when disparity specifies the inducer slant while monocular cues specify a frontoparallel surface (slant-contrast). In reversed cue conditions with vertical axis slant the test probe is misperceived as slanted in the same direction as the inducer (reversed slant-contrast). We found reliable slant-contrast and reversed slant-contrast with inducers having horizontal-axis slant. The reversed slant-contrast was not influenced when the inducer and probe were separated in the frontal plane or in disparity depth whereas slant contrast was degraded, especially in the latter condition. Slant contrast was most pronounced when the inducer was slanted like a ceiling compared to like a ground. No such difference was found for the reversed slant-contrast. When the cue conflict was minimized slant-contrast was reduced, but only with inducers having ground-like slant. Implications for an existing model explaining the slant effects are discussed.

On the role of causal intervention in multiple-cue judgment: positive and negative effects on learning.

Previous studies have suggested better learning when people actively intervene rather than when they passively observe the stimuli in a judgment task. In 4 experiments, the authors investigated the hypothesis that this improvement is associated with a shift from exemplar memory to cue abstraction. In a multiple-cue judgment task with continuous cues, the data replicated the improvement with intervention and participants who experimented more actively produced more accurate judgments. In a multiple-cue judgment task with binary cues, intervention produced poorer accuracy and participants who experimented more actively produced poorer judgments. These results provide no support for a representational shift but suggest that the improvement with active intervention may be limited to certain tasks and environments.

The cognitive substrate of subjective probability.

The prominent cognitive theories of probability judgment were primarily developed to explain cognitive biases rather than to account for the cognitive processes in probability judgment. In this article the authors compare 3 major theories of the processes and representations in probability judgment: the representativeness heuristic, implemented as prototype similarity, relative likelihood, or evidential support accumulation (ESAM; D. J. Koehler, C. M. White, & R. Grondin, 2003); cue-based relative frequency; and exemplar memory, implemented by probabilities from exemplars (PROBEX; P. Juslin & M. Persson, 2002). Three experiments with different task structures consistently demonstrate that exemplar memory is the best account of the data whereas the results are inconsistent with extant formulations of the representativeness heuristic and cue-based relative frequency.

The noisy cue abstraction model is equivalent to the multiplicative prototype model.

We prove that the noisy cue abstraction model for binary choice and the multiplicative prototype model of categorization are formally identical.

Visual memory needs categories.

Capacity limitations in the way humans store and process information in working memory have been extensively studied, and several memory systems have been distinguished. In line with previous capacity estimates for verbal memory and memory for spatial information, recent studies suggest that it is possible to retain up to four objects in visual working memory. The objects used have typically been categorically different colors and shapes. Because knowledge about categories is stored in long-term memory, these estimations of working memory capacity have been contaminated by long-term memory support. We show that when using clearly distinguishable intracategorical items, visual working memory has a maximum capacity of only one object. Because attention is closely involved in the working memory process, our results add to other studies demonstrating capacity limitations of human attention such as inattentional blindness and change blindness.

Odor emotionality affects the confidence in odor naming.

Previous research has demonstrated that participants are overconfident in the veracity of their odor identifications. This means that their confidence expressed as subjective probabilities is, on average, higher than the actual proportion of correct odor identifications. The current experiment tested the hypothesis that the more arousing an odor is, the more participants are overconfident in their identification of it. The results indicated that part of the overconfidence in odor identification can, indeed, be due to the arousing properties of the odors. This suggests that emotional variables should be taken into account when researching metamemory.

Capacity limitations and the detection of correlations: comment on Kareev (2000).

Y. Kareev (2000) argued that the limited capacity of working memory may be an adaptive advantage for the early detection of useful correlations. His analysis indeed suggests that the optimal sample size is close to G. A. Miller's (1956) "magical number 7 +/- 2." The authors point out logical and statistical limitations of Y. Kareev's (2000) analysis, including that it neglects that the adaptive value is not determined by the hit rate but by the posterior probability of hit and that only signal trials are considered. The authors' analysis demonstrates that when these limitations are corrected for, the alleged benefit for small samples does not occur, and larger samples imply considerable improvement in the detection of correlations.

Exemplars, prototypes, and the flexibility of classification models.

J. P. Minda and J. D. Smith (2001) showed that a prototype model outperforms an exemplar model, especially in larger categories or categories that contained more complex stimuli. R. M. Nosofsky and S. R. Zaki (2002) showed that an exemplar model with a response-scaling mechanism outperforms a prototype model. The authors of the current study investigated whether excessive model flexibility could explain these results. Using cross-validation, the authors demonstrated that both the prototype model and the exemplar model with a response-scaling mechanism suffered from overfilling in the linearly separable category structure. The results illustrate the need to make sure that the best-fitting model is not chasing error variance instead of variance attributed to the cognitive process it is supposed to model.

Note on the rationality of rule-based versus exemplar-based processing in human judgment.

This paper reports a study of the relationship between rule- versus exemplar-based processing and criteria for rationality of judgment. Participants made probability judgments in a classification task devised by S. W. Allen and L. R. Brooks (1991). In the exemplar condition, the miscalibration was accounted for by stochastic components of the judgment with a format-dependence effect, implying simultaneous over- and underconfidence depending on the response scale. In the rule condition, there was an overconfidence bias not accounted for by the stochastic components of judgment. In both conditions the participants were additive on average and reasonably transitive, but the larger stochastic component in the exemplar condition produced somewhat larger absolute deviations. The results suggest that exemplar processes are unbiased but more perturbed by stochastic components, while rule-based processes may be more prone to bias.