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Construction of probabilistic inferences by constraint satisfaction?

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It has been shown that in decision making evaluations of evidence and attributes are modified. In three studies it was investigated if this finding of coherence shifts generalizes to real-world probabilistic inference decisions which are made from given probabilistic cues. Using a within-subjects design, cue validities were measured before, after (Exp. 1) and during deci-sion making (Exp. 2 & 3). It was found that even in environments with considerable real-world cue knowledge (weather forecasts) and in decisions for which the application of fast-and-frugal heuristics has been claimed (city-size decisions) the validity of cues was systematically modified. These shifts indicate that subjective cue validities are not fixed parameters, but that they are changed to form coherent representations of the decision situation. The findings conflict with the basic assumption of complex decision models and the fast-and-frugal heuristics approach, which claim that probabilistic inferences are made in a unidirectional manner. They corroborate the parallel constraint satisfaction approach to decision making.

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Andreas Glöckner, Tilmann Betsch, Nicola Schindler

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Adapt according to the presented license agreement and reference the original author.