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Cultural differences in probabilistic thinking

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Cultural differences in three aspects of "probabilistic thinking" were studied. The study re-presents part of earlier work in Hong Kong and Britain and combines it with the results from a further study in Indonesia and Malaysia. The largest cultural difference was found between Asian and British student groups. The British adopted a more finely differentiated view of uncertainty, both verbally and numerically, than the Asians in response to uncertain situations. These differences are predictable neither on the basis of the relative abundance of probability expressions in the Indonesian language nor by the Malay samples' ability to discriminate English probability words on a meaningful probability discrimination dimension. For numerical probabilities assigned to almanac questions, the British were less extreme and better calibrated than the Asian students. Potential cultural influences which could account for the cultural differences were examined, and the possibility that Asian ways of dealing with uncertainty do not involve the verbal or numeric response modes studied is presented

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/27242/

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