Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Recognition judgments and the performance of the recognition heuristic depend on the size of the reference class


Author Info

  • Ulrich Hoffrage
Registered author(s):


    In a series of three experiments, participants made inferences about which one of a pair of two objects scored higher on a criterion. The first experiment was designed to contrast the prediction of Probabilistic Mental Model theory (Gigerenzer, Hoffrage, & Kleinbolting, 1991) concerning sampling procedure with the hard-easy effect. The experiment failed to support the theory's prediction that a particular pair of randomly sampled item sets would differ in percentage correct; but the observation that German participants performed practically as well on comparisons between U.S. cities (many of which they did not even recognize) than on comparisons between German cities (about which they knew much more) ultimately led to the formulation of the recognition heuristic. Experiment 2 was a second, this time successful, attempt to unconfound item difficulty and sampling procedure. In Experiment 3, participants' knowledge and recognition of each city was elicited, and how often this could be used to make an inference was manipulated. Choices were consistent with the recognition heuristic in about 80% of the cases when it discriminated and people had no additional knowledge about the recognized city (and in about 90% when they had such knowledge). The frequency with which the heuristic could be used affected the percentage correct, mean confidence, and overconfidence as predicted. The size of the reference class, which was also manipulated, modified these effects in meaningful and theoretically important ways.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 6 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 1 (February)
    Pages: 43-57

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:6:y:2011:i:1:p:43-57

    Contact details of provider:

    Related research

    Keywords: recognition heuristic; reference class; probabilistic inference; overconfidence; hard-easy effect.;


    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Rudiger F. Pohl, 2011. "On the use of recognition in inferential decision making: An overview of the debate," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6(5), pages 423-438, July.
    2. Julian N. Marewski & Rudiger F. Pohl & Oliver Vitouch, 2011. "Recognition-based judgments and decisions: What we have learned (so far)," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6(5), pages 359-380, July.
    3. Ben R. Newell, 2011. "Recognising the recognition heuristic for what it is (and what it's not)," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6(5), pages 409-412, July.
    4. Julian N. Marewski & Katja Mehlhorn, 2011. "Using the ACT-R architecture to specify 39 quantitative process models of decision making," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6(6), pages 439-519, August.


    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:6:y:2011:i:1:p:43-57. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jonathan Baron).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.