Miroslav Sirota, Marie Juanchich and York Hagmayer

Ecological rationality or nested sets?: Individual differences in cognitive processing predict Bayesian reasoning

Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

The presentation of a Bayesian inference problem in terms of natural frequencies rather than probabilities has been shown to enhance performance. The effect of individual differences in cognitive processing on Bayesian reasoning has rarely been studied, despite enabling us to test process-oriented variants of the two main accounts of the facilitative effect of natural frequencies: The ecological rationality account (ERA), which postulates an evolutionarily shaped ease of natural frequency automatic processing, and the nested sets account (NSA), which posits analytical processing of nested sets. In two experiments, we found that cognitive reflection abilities predicted normative performance equally well in tasks featuring whole and arbitrarily parsed objects (Experiment 1) and that cognitive abilities and thinking dispositions (analytical vs. intuitive) predicted performance with single-event probabilities, as well as natural frequencies (Experiment 2). Since these individual differences indicate that analytical processing improves Bayesian reasoning, our findings provide stronger support for the NSA than for the ERA. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Accession Number: 2013-22651-001. PMID: 23794254 Other Journal Title: Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society. Partial author list: First Author & Affiliation: Sirota, Miroslav; Medical Decision Making and Informatics Research Group, School of Medicine, King's College London, London, United Kingdom. Other Publishers: Psychonomic Society. Release Date: 20130701. Correction Date: 20140217. Publication Type: Journal (0100), Peer Reviewed Journal (0110). Format Covered: Electronic. Document Type: Journal Article. Language: English. Major Descriptor: Cognitive Processes; Individual Differences; Rationality; Reasoning. Classification: Cognitive Processes (2340). Population: Human (10); Male (30); Female (40). Age Group: Adulthood (18 yrs & older) (300); Young Adulthood (18-29 yrs) (320); Thirties (30-39 yrs) (340); Middle Age (40-64 yrs) (360). Tests & Measures: Cognitive Reflection Test; Composite Actively Open Minded Thinking Scale; Rational-Experiential Inventory DOI: 10.1037/t01109-000. Methodology: Empirical Study; Quantitative Study. References Available: Y. Page Count: 7. Issue Publication Date: Feb, 2014. Publication History: First Posted Date: Jun 21, 2013. Copyright Statement: Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2013.