That certain something! Focusing on similarities reduces judgmental uncertainty

Posten, A-C and Mussweiler, T M (2017) That certain something! Focusing on similarities reduces judgmental uncertainty. Cognition, 165 (August). pp. 121-125.

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Abstract

Comparative thinking is an efficient cognitive strategy that reduces judgmental uncertainty. However, comparisons may be conducted with a focus on similarities or differences. Similarity-focused comparisons seem to facilitate information-transfer, which has been suggested to drive the uncertainty-reducing effect of comparisons. This implies that similarity-focused comparisons reduce uncertainty more than dissimilarity-focused comparisons. Two experiments examine this assumption. In Study 1, a similarity-focus (compared to a difference-focus and a neutral control condition) increased judgmental certainty when the comparison was based on confident standard-knowledge. However, when the comparison was based on vague standard-knowledge the uncertainty-reducing effect diminished. Study 2 shows that a similarity-focus increases information-transfer and that a similarity-focus particularly enhanced certainty for judgments for which a standard-to-target information-transfer had occurred. These studies suggest that similarity-focused comparisons reduce judgmental uncertainty through the mechanism of information-transfer.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2017 Elsevier B.V.
Subjects: C > Comparative studies
J > Judgement as a managerial quality
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2017.05.010
Date Deposited: 15 May 2017 09:02
Last Modified: 23 May 2017 14:56
URI: http://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/820

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