Proposes a theoretical framework for understanding and integrating people’s and animals’ covariation assessment. It is argued that covariation perception is determined by the interaction between 2 sources of information: (a) the organism’s prior expectations about the covariation between 2 events and (b) current situational information provided by the environment about the objective contingency between the events. Both accuracies and errors in people’s and animals’ covariation assessments are analyzed within this interactional theoretical framework. Four lines of research are reviewed in support of this analysis. The issue of accuracy vs rationality in covariation assessment is considered.
Alloy, L. B., & Tabachnik, N. (1984). Assessment of covariation by humans and animals: The joint influence of prior expectations and current situational information. Psychological Review, 91(1), 112-149.