On the psychology of prediction

Psychological Review 80 (4):237-251 (1973)
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Abstract

Considers that intuitive predictions follow a judgmental heuristic-representativeness. By this heuristic, people predict the outcome that appears most representative of the evidence. Consequently, intuitive predictions are insensitive to the reliability of the evidence or to the prior probability of the outcome, in violation of the logic of statistical prediction. The hypothesis that people predict by representativeness was supported in a series of studies with both naive and sophisticated university students. The ranking of outcomes by likelihood coincided with the ranking by representativeness, and Ss erroneously predicted rare events and extreme values if these happened to be representative. The experience of unjustified confidence in predictions and the prevalence of fallacious intuitions concerning statistical regression are traced to the representativeness heuristic

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