ERIC Number: EJ825141
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
The Influence of Virtual Sample Size on Confidence and Causal-Strength Judgments
Liljeholm, Mimi; Cheng, Patricia W.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v35 n1 p157-172 Jan 2009
The authors investigated whether confidence in causal judgments varies with virtual sample size--the frequency of cases in which the outcome is (a) absent before the introduction of a generative cause or (b) present before the introduction of a preventive cause. Participants were asked to evaluate the influence of various candidate causes on an outcome as well as to rate their confidence in those judgments. They were presented with information on the relative frequencies of the outcome given the presence and absence of various candidate causes. These relative frequencies, sample size, and the direction of the causal influence (generative vs. preventive) were manipulated. It was found that both virtual and actual sample size affected confidence. Further, confidence affected estimates of strength, but confidence and strength are dissociable. The results enable a consistent explanation of the puzzling previous finding that observed causal-strength ratings often deviated from the predictions of both of the 2 dominant models of causal strength.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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