Reasoning with uncertain categories

Murphy, G L, Chen, S Y and Ross, B H (2012) Reasoning with uncertain categories. Thinking and Reasoning, 18 (1). pp. 81-117. ISSN 1354-6783


Five experiments investigated how people use categories to make inductions about objects whose categorisation is uncertain. Normatively, they should consider all the categories the object might be in and use a weighted combination of information from all the categories: bet-hedging. The experiments presented people with simple, artificial categories and asked them to make an induction about a new object that was most likely in one category but possibly in another. The results showed that the majority of people focused on the most likely category in making inductions, although there was a group of consistently normative responders who used information from both categories (about 25% of our college population). Across experiments the overall pattern of results suggests that performance in the task is improved not by understanding the underlying principles of bet-hedging but by increasing the likelihood that multiple categories are in working memory at the time of the induction. We discuss implications for improving everyday inductions.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Marketing
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2024 14:44
Last Modified: 04 May 2024 00:43

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