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Do people treat missing information adaptively when making inferences?

Garcia-Retamero, Rocio and Rieskamp, Jörg. (2009) Do people treat missing information adaptively when making inferences? The quarterly journal of experimental psychology, Vol. 62, no. 10. pp. 1991-2013.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5250210

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Abstract

When making inferences, people are often confronted with situations with incomplete information. Previous research has led to a mixed picture about how people react to missing information. Options include ignoring missing information, treating it as either positive or negative, using the average of past observations for replacement, or using the most frequent observation of the available information as a placeholder. The accuracy of these inference mechanisms depends on characteristics of the environment. When missing information is uniformly distributed, it is most accurate to treat it as the average, whereas when it is negatively correlated with the criterion to be judged, treating missing information as if it were negative is most accurate. Whether people treat missing information adaptively according to the environment was tested in two studies. The results show that participants were sensitive to how missing information was distributed in an environment and most frequently selected the mechanism that was most adaptive. From these results the authors conclude that reacting to missing information in different ways is an adaptive response to environmental characteristics.
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Forschungsbereich Sozial-, Wirtschafts- und Entscheidungspsychologie > Economic Psychology (Rieskamp)
UniBasel Contributors:Rieskamp, Jörg
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Academic Press
ISSN:1747-0218
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:22 Mar 2012 14:25
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 13:46

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