Interevent relationships and judgment under uncertainty: Structure determines strategy
SourceMemory & Cognition, 30, 6, (2002), pp. 921-933
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI SCP
PI Group Decision Neuroscience
Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
Memory & Cognition
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being
A fundamental empirical question regarding judgments about events is whether experienced absolute frequencies or relative. frequencies are relied on when the likelihood of a particular occurrence is judged. The present research explicates the conditions under which people rely on remembered raw absolute frequencies versus on inferred relative frequencies or proportions when making predictions. Participants saw opinion poll results for candidates prior to an election and, on the basis of these, made judgments concerning the likelihood of each candidate's winning this election. Certain candidates demonstrated a high absolute frequency of winning in the polls, whereas other candidates had high relative win frequencies. The results indicated that adults are cognitively flexible with regard to the inputs used in this judgment. Certain stimulus event configurations induced reasoning by way of absolute frequencies, whereas other configurations elicited judgments based on relative frequencies. More specifically, as the relational complexity of the event structure increased and more inferences were required to make predictions, the tendency to rely on absolute, as opposed to relative, frequencies also increased.
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