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Contingency inferences driven by base rates: Valid by sampling


  • Florian Kutzner
  • Tobias Vogel
  • Peter Freytag
  • Klaus Fiedler


Fiedler et al. (2009), reviewed evidence for the utilization of a contingency inference strategy termed pseudocontingencies (PCs). In PCs, the more frequent levels (and, by implication, the less frequent levels) are assumed to be associated. PCs have been obtained using a wide range of task settings and dependent measures. Yet, the readiness with which decision makers rely on PCs is poorly understood. A computer simulation explored two potential sources of subjective validity of PCs. First, PCs are shown to perform above chance level when the task is to infer the sign of moderate to strong population contingencies from a sample of observations. Second, contingency inferences based on PCs and inferences based on cell frequencies are shown to partially agree across samples. Intriguingly, this criterion and convergent validity are by-products of random sampling error, highlighting the inductive nature of contingency inferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Florian Kutzner & Tobias Vogel & Peter Freytag & Klaus Fiedler, 2011. "Contingency inferences driven by base rates: Valid by sampling," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6(3), pages 211-221, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:6:y:2011:i:3:p:211-221

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Craig R. Fox & Liat Hadar, 2006. ""Decisions from experience" = sampling error + prospect theory: Reconsidering Hertwig, Barron, Weber & Erev (2004)," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 1, pages 159-161, November.
    2. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    3. Liat Hadar & Craig R. Fox, 2009. "Information asymmetry in decision from description versus decision from experience," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 4(4), pages 317-325, June.
    4. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    5. Greg Barron & Eldad Yechiam, 2009. "The coexistence of overestimation and underweighting of rare events and the contingent recency effect," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 4(6), pages 447-460, October.
    6. Craig R. Fox & Amos Tversky, 1998. "A Belief-Based Account of Decision Under Uncertainty," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(7), pages 879-895, July.
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