Bending rules: The shape of the perceptual generalisation gradient is sensitive to inference rules

Boddez, Y., Bennett, M. P., van Esch, S. & Beckers, T., 2017, In : Cognition and Emotion. 31, 7, p. 1444-1452 9 p.

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  • Bending rules the shape of the perceptual

    Final publisher's version, 1.56 MB, PDF document


  • Yannick Boddez
  • Marc Patrick Bennett
  • Silke van Esch
  • Tom Beckers
Generalising what is learned about one stimulus to other but perceptually related stimuli is a basic behavioural phenomenon. We evaluated whether a rule learning mechanism may serve to explain such generalisation. To this end, we assessed whether inference rules communicated through verbal instructions affect generalisation. Expectancy ratings, but not valence ratings, proved sensitive to this manipulation. In addition to revealing a role for inference rules in generalisation, our study has clinical implications as well. More specifically, we argue that targeting inference rules might prove to be an effective strategy to affect the excessive generalisation that is often observed in psychopathology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1444-1452
Number of pages9
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Associative learning, aversive learning, cognitive processes, generalisation, rule learning, EXPECTANCY, MODULATION, STIMULUS-GENERALIZATION, CONDITIONED FEAR, HUMANS, ANXIETY, MODEL, ASSOCIATIONS, EXTINCTION, PROPOSITIONS

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