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ERIC Number: ED352564
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Aug
Pages: 9
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Information Importance and the Base-Rate Fallacy.
Heckman, Timothy G.; And Others
Social scientists have repeatedly demonstrated that individuals tend to underutilize base-rate information in favor of case-specific information in problems investigating subjective probability estimation. Despite the pervasiveness of this base-rate fallacy, little progress has been made in establishing a definitive explanation for its cause. This study attempted to demonstrate that the egocentric importance of case-specific information is an important determinant of case-information utilization. Undergraduates (N=32) were presented both base-rate and case-specific information and asked to report how important the case information was to them when deciding whether or not to enroll in courses described by the base and case information. As hypothesized, base and case information were utilized differently. "High Importance" case information was utilized more so than "Low Importance" case information, and a significant, positive correlation was found between how important the case information was to each subject and the degree to which subjects utilized the case information. The information's egocentric value contributed to the extent that the case-specific information was utilized. Supposedly "neutral" base-rate information, based on many students, decreased subjects' probabilities of enrolling in a course, while case-specific information increased students' probabilities of enrolling in a course. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A