The phenomenon of base-rate neglect has elicited much debate. One arena of debate concerns how people make judgments under conditions of uncertainty. Another more controversial arena concerns human rationality. In this target article, we attempt to unpack the perspectives in the literature on both kinds of issues and evaluate their ability to explain existing data and their conceptual coherence. From this evaluation we conclude that the best account of the data should be framed in terms of a dual-process model of (...) judgment, which attributes base-rate neglect to associative judgment strategies that fail to adequately represent the set structure of the problem. Base-rate neglect is reduced when problems are presented in a format that affords accurate representation in terms of nested sets of individuals. (shrink)
The verbs cause, enable, and prevent express beliefs about the way the world works. We offer a theory of their meaning in terms of the structure of those beliefs expressed using qualitative properties of causal models, a graphical framework for representing causal structure. We propose that these verbs refer to a causal model relevant to a discourse and that “A causes B” expresses the belief that the causal model includes a link from A to B. “A enables/allows B” entails that (...) the model includes a link from A to B, that A represents a category of events necessary for B, and that an alternative cause of B exists. “A prevents B” entails that the model includes a link from A to B and that A reduces the likelihood of B. This theory is able to account for the results of four experiments as well as a variety of existing data on human reasoning. (shrink)
The commentaries indicate a general agreement that one source of reduction of base-rate neglect involves making structural relations among relevant sets transparent. There is much less agreement, however, that this entails dual systems of reasoning. In this response, we make the case for our perspective on dual systems. We compare and contrast our view to the natural frequency hypothesis as formulated in the commentaries.
According to embodied cognition theory, our physical embodiment influences how we conceptualize entities, whether natural or supernatural. In serving central explanatory roles, supernatural entities (e.g., God) are represented implicitly as having unordinary properties that nevertheless do not violate our sensorimotor interactions with the physical world. We conjecture that other supernatural entities are similarly represented in explanatory contexts.