Modeling Focused Learning in Role Assignment
John R. Anderson
ACT-R is a general theory of cognition (Anderson, 1993) which is capable of learning the relative usefulness of alternative rules. In this paper, a model utilizing this implicit procedural learning mechanism is described which explains results from a concept formation task created by McDonald and MacWhinney (1991), a role assignment task for artificial languages created by Blackwell (1995), and a new role assignment experiment. By focusing learning on one cue of role assignment at a time, the model predicts a blocking phenomenon where certain cues can come to dominate and block learning of other cues. In all of the experiments, subjects' use of cues is not in the order predicted by true reliability (as expected by pure learning-on-error models) but in the order predicted by the ACT-R model.