Expecting the unexpected
Some things in life are completely predictable (death and taxes), but most things that we care about (happiness, wealth, safety) are at last partly uncertain. This research project examine how people learn which bits of the world are unpredictable, so that they can stop trying to learn more about them and focus instead on the parts of the world that are likely to be useful and informative instead. People clearly struggle to do this sometimes (e.g. problem gambling and superstitious thinking). This project looks at when learning about predictability goes awry, and how that happens.
Griffiths, O., Erlinger, M., Beesley, T., & Le Pelley, M. E. (2017). Outcome predictability biases cued search. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.
Griffiths, O., Mitchell, C. J., Bethmont, A., & Lovibond, P. F. (2015). Outcome predictability biases learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 41(1), 1.
Griffiths, O., & Thorwart, A. (2017). Effects of outcome predictability on human learning. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 511.