Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Dr. John Paul Minda


The regulatory fit-cognitive flexibility hypothesis posits that being in a state of regulatory fit increases cognitive flexibility and that this flexibility is advantageous for category learning when flexibility helps subjects to find a rule. This hypothesis was explored using a nonlinearly separable category set. A promotion (sensitivity to gains) or a prevention focus (sensitivity to losses) was induced; subjects performed the task with either a gains or losses reward structure, creating two conditions of regulatory fit (promotion/gain, prevention/loss) and two conditions of regulatory mismatch (promotion/loss, prevention/gain). It was predicted that subjects in the fit conditions would show more accurate performance than subjects in the mismatch conditions due to increased cognitive flexibility. A mild regulatory fit advantage was found in the gains but not the losses version of the task in Experiment 1 and in Experiment 2 effects of regulatory fit were not apparent. Explanations for the mixed findings are discussed.



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