Welcome to the website of Prof. Stefano Ghirlanda‘s lab in the Department of Psychology at Brooklyn College. Please have a look at the People page to see who we are, and then read below for reports on our research activities.
We are happy to announce that our paper Solution of the comparator theory of associative learning is officially out on Psychological Review! This is the first published paper from the lab, co-authored by Brooklyn College student Ismet Ibadullaiev (graduated 2014). Here is the paper’s abstract:
We derive an analytical solution of the comparator theory of associative learning, as formalized by Stout and Miller (2007). The solution enables us to calculate exactly the predicted responding to stimuli in any experimental design and for any choice of model parameters. We illustrate its utility by calculating the predictions of comparator theory in some paradigmatic designs: acquisition of conditioned responses, compound conditioning, blocking, unovershadowing, and backward blocking. We consider several versions of the theory: first-order comparator theory (close to the original ideas of Miller & Matzel, 1988), second-order comparator theory (Denniston, Savastano, & Miller, 2001), and sometimes-competing retrieval (Stout & Miller, 2007). We show that all versions of comparator theory make a number of surprising predictions, some of which appear hard to reconcile with empirical data. Our solution paves the way for a fuller understanding of the theory and for its empirical evaluation.
You can read a bit more about this paper on Prof. Ghirlanda’s blog (the post includes a link to download the paper).