2: Discussion—Typical Reasoning People often take shortcuts in problem solving and quickly arrive at answers. Known as heuristics, these shortcuts may increase the speed of decisions but may also decrease the accuracy of those decisions. The experiment used in this assignment deals with inaccurate decisions based on the conjunction fallacy, where people think the chance of two events happening at the same time is greater than just one event occurring. However, the chance of one event occurring is greater than two events occurring; hence, the fallacy. Access the CogLab demonstration Typical Reasoning. Follow the instructions to complete the demonstration. Next, answer the following questions: For this demonstration, on average, do participants give higher ratings for single events or conjunctions of events? Based on the demonstration results, did you make your judgments by using objective probabilities? Why or why not? What is a stereotype? How do stereotypes relate to the findings of this demonstration? Respond to the following two situations: You and two of your coworkers have just interviewed a candidate for a job opening at your law firm. Your boss asks you what inferences you made about the candidate during the interview. What can you do to maximize your likelihood of making a correct inference? John is a young, energetic, muscular, and outgoing individual. Estimate the following for him: He is tall and likes sports He is tall, likes sports, and has lots of friends Write your initial response in 4–5 paragraphs. Apply APA standards to citation of sources. By the due date assigned, post your response to the appropriate Discussion Area. Through the end of the module, review and comment on at least two peers’ responses. Discussion Grading Criteria and Rubric This discussion assignment is worth 40 points and will be graded using the discussion rubric Grading Criteria Maximum Points Quality of initial posting, including fulfillment of assignment instructions 16 Quality of responses to classmates 12 Frequency of responses to classmates 4 Reference to supporting readings and other materials 4 Language and grammar 4 Total: Background Tversky and Kahneman (1983) are well known for their research showing that people’s estimates of probability are often very different from the objective probabilities. The reason, they argue, is that people often use heuristics to help them estimate the answer. Heuristics can be seen as sacrificing some accuracy for an increase in speed. By using heuristics, people can very quickly come up with an answer that is usually good enough for day to day purposes. These heuristics, however, can lead to incorrect judgments. One of the most striking errors is known as the conjunction fallacy. In its most simple form, it says that people think that having both A and B occur is more likely than having just A occur or just B occur. According to objective probabilities, the probability of two events occurring has to be less than the probabilities of either of the events happening by themselves. In some circumstances, however, people are more likely to say the conjunction (having both events occur) is more likely. In particular, the conjunction fallacy is more likely when the items are typical than atypical. For example, read the following: Julie is 26 years old, has a degree in physical education, has been physically fit since childhood, and loves the outdoors. People think it is more likely that Julie is a ski instructor who also teaches aerobics (a conjunction involving an activity thought to be more typical of ski instructors) than that Julie is a librarian who also teaches aerobics (a conjunction involving an activity thought to be less typical of librarians). When the activity is particularly typical, the conjunction can be thought more likely than the single events (e.g., that Julie is a ski instructor). This demonstration is based on an experiment by Shafir, Smith, and Osherson (1990). You will read short descriptions about several people, and you will be asked to rate the probability that these people have certain professions and/or engage in certain activities. Instructions An experiment window will appear, and a smaller window will appear with abbreviated instructions. Close the instructions window. You can open it again later from the Lab Info. menu. Start a trial by clicking once on the “Next trial” button. You will be shown a short description of a person. Read the description carefully. After each description, you will be asked to judge how likely it is, on a scale from 0 to 7, that the person has a particular profession or engages in a particular activity. For example, you might be asked the following: How likely is it that Bob bets on horse racing? If you are absolutely certain, based on the description of him that you have just read, that Bob would never bet on horse racing, click on the “0 = Impossible” button. If you are absolutely certain that Bob bets on horse racing, click on the “7 = Certain” button. There are no correct or incorrect answers. Please respond based on the assumption that the person described is a real person. There are only 12 trials, so please read each description carefully before responding. At the end of the experiment, the experiment window will close and a new window will appear that displays your data as a table and a plot (if appropriate) and provides an explanation of the experiment and results. You can print this information, save it as an html file, or save it in CogLab format. The latter format can be re-opened with CogLab on a CD and by your instructor who may want to combine data from students in your class.
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