Between Ignorance and Truth: Partition Dependence and Learning in Judgment Under Uncertainty

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Vol. 32, No. 6, pp. 1385-1402, 2006

18 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2006

See all articles by Kelly E. See

Kelly E. See

University of Colorado at Denver - Business School; New York University - Department of Management and Organizations

Craig R. Fox

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management

Yuval Rottenstreich

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

Abstract

In 3 studies, participants viewed sequences of multiattribute objects (e.g., colored shapes) appearing with varying frequencies and judged the likelihood of the attributes of those objects. Judged probabilities reflected a compromise between (a) the frequency with which each attribute appeared and (b) the ignorance prior probability cued by the number of distinct values that the focal attribute could take on. Thus, judged probabilities were partition dependent, varying with the number of events into which the state space was subjectively divided. This bias was diminished among participants more confident in what they learned, was strong and insensitive to level of confidence when ignorance priors were especially salient, and required ignorance priors to be salient only when probabilities were elicited (not during encoding).

Keywords: judgment, uncertainty, probability, learning, decision making

JEL Classification: A1, C9, D8

Suggested Citation

See, Kelly E. and Fox, Craig R. and Rottenstreich, Yuval, Between Ignorance and Truth: Partition Dependence and Learning in Judgment Under Uncertainty. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Vol. 32, No. 6, pp. 1385-1402, 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=945008

Kelly E. See (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Denver - Business School ( email )

1475 Lawrence Street
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Denver, CO 80204
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New York University - Department of Management and Organizations ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012
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Craig R. Fox

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

Yuval Rottenstreich

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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