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A note on neglect defaulting

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  • Howard Margolis
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    Abstract

    I introduce the notion of ``neglect defaulting,'' which labels the propensity to neglect possibilities which are ordinarily sensibly neglected. In familiar contexts we are well-tuned to recognize when to override the default. But outside the range of familiar experience --- here in the artificial context of puzzles --- these ordinarily benign defaults can make it difficult for even sophisticated subjects, such as readers of this note, to avoid responses which on reflection will be seen as obviously mistaken. A detail of particular importance is that, although subjects are easily prompted to take one step in the direction of reaching a sound response, the tendency to then neglect to consider that another step may be needed is remarkably strong. In each of the five examples the needed but usually neglected second step is quite trivial. Concluding remarks point to consequences for larger questions outside the range of familiar experience, in politics and other contexts out of scale with everyday experience.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Society for Judgment and Decision Making in its journal Judgment and Decision Making.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2008)
    Issue (Month): (April)
    Pages: 355-363

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    Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:3:y:2008:i::p:355-363

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    Related research

    Keywords: puzzle problems; Bertrand's box; Wason selection task; economic games; heuristics; defaults.;

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    1. Charness, Gary B, 2004. "Attribution And Reciprocity In An Experimental Labor Market," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt8rp6b18c, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    2. Vincent P. Crawford & Nagore Iriberri, 2007. "Fatal Attraction: Salience, Naïveté, and Sophistication in Experimental "Hide-and-Seek" Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1731-1750, December.
    3. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    4. Colin F. Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho & Juin-Kuan Chong, 2004. "A Cognitive Hierarchy Model of Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 861-898, August.
    5. Adriana D. Kugler & Gilles Saint-Paul, 2004. "How Do Firing Costs Affect Worker Flows in a World with Adverse Selection?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 553-584, July.
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    Cited by:
    1. Nina Horstmann & Andrea Ahlgrimm & Andreas Gl�ckner, 2009. "How distinct are intuition and deliberation? An eye-tracking analysis of instruction-induced decision modes," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 4(5), pages 335-354, August.

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