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Exploring the conjunction fallacy within a category learning framework
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2008 (English)In: Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, ISSN 0894-3257, E-ISSN 1099-0771, Vol. 21, no 4, 471-490 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The literature presents two major theories on the cause of the conjunction fallacy. The first attributes the conjunction fallacy to the representativeness heuristic. The second suggests that the conjunction fallacy is caused by people combining p(A) and p(B) into p(A&B) in an inappropriate manner. These two theories were contrasted in two category-learning experiments. As predicted by the latter theory, data showed that participants that could assess p(A&B) directly made fewer conjunction fallacies than participants who had to compute p(A) and p(B) separately and then combine them into p(A&B). Least conjunction fallacies were observed in the cases where the representativeness heuristic was applicable. Overall, data showed that an inability to appropriately combine probabilities is one of the key cognitive mechanisms behind the conjunction fallacy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 21, no 4, 471-490 p.
Keyword [en]
Category learning, Conjunction fallacy, Representativeness heuristic, Subjective probability
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-87190DOI: 10.1002/bdm.615ISI: 000260095400010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-87190DiVA: diva2:25555
Available from: 2008-09-30 Created: 2008-09-30 Last updated: 2014-11-26

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Nilsson, Håkan
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