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  • Cited by 2
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Arribas, Iván Comeig, Irene Urbano, Amparo and Vila, José 2014. Statistical formats to optimize evidence-based decision making: A behavioral approach. Journal of Business Research, Vol. 67, Issue. 5, p. 790.

    Macchi, Laura and Bagassi, Maria 2014. The interpretative heuristic in insight problem solving. Mind & Society, Vol. 13, Issue. 1, p. 97.


The underinformative formulation of conditional probability

  • Laura Macchi (a1) and Maria Bagassi (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 29 October 2007

The formulation of the conditional probability in classical tasks does not guarantee the effective transmission of the independence of the hit rate from the base rate. In these kinds of tasks, data are all available, but subjects are able to understand them in the specific meanings proper to a specialized language only if these are adequately transmitted. From this perspective, the partitive formulation should not be considered a facilitation, but rather, a way of effectively transmitting the conditional probability.

Consider the following two phrases: 1

The death-rate among men is twice that for women.


In the deaths registered last month there were twice as many men as women.

Are these two different ways of saying the same or are these different events? In fact, they are different events. (Lindley 1985, p. 44)

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M. H. Birnbaum (1983) Base rates in Bayesian inference: Signal detection analysis of the cab problem. American Journal of Psychology 96:8594.

V. Girotto & M. Gonzalez (2001) Solving probabilistic and statistical problems: A matter of information structure and question form. Cognition 78:247–76.

S. C. Levinson (1995) Interactional biases in human thinking. In: Social intelligence and interaction, ed E. Goody .Cambridge University Press.

L. Macchi (2000) Partitive formulation of information in probabilistic problems: Beyond heuristics and frequency format explanations. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 82:217–36.

K. E. Stanovich R. F. West (2000) Individual differences in reasoning: Implications for the rationality debate. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23:645726.

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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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