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ERIC Number: EJ859945
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 96
ISSN: ISSN-0033-295X
Probability Theory, Not the Very Guide of Life
Juslin, Peter; Nilsson, Hakan; Winman, Anders
Psychological Review, v116 n4 p856-874 Oct 2009
Probability theory has long been taken as the self-evident norm against which to evaluate inductive reasoning, and classical demonstrations of violations of this norm include the conjunction error and base-rate neglect. Many of these phenomena require multiplicative probability integration, whereas people seem more inclined to linear additive integration, in part, at least, because of well-known capacity constraints on controlled thought. In this article, the authors show with computer simulations that when based on approximate knowledge of probabilities, as is routinely the case in natural environments, linear additive integration can yield as accurate estimates, and as good average decision returns, as estimates based on probability theory. It is proposed that in natural environments people have little opportunity or incentive to induce the normative rules of probability theory and, given their cognitive constraints, linear additive integration may often offer superior bounded rationality. (Contains 10 footnotes, 1 table, and 6 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A