Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Simple reasoning strategies can be as precise as the complex ones

27.01.2009
We go into a restaurant with the aim of eating healthily. The menu does not tell us much about fats, salt or additives contained in the dishes.

So how do we make the best decision? Psychologists Rocío García-Retamero and Jörg Rieskamp have analysed the influence that inferences about missing information can have on the accuracy of our decisions.

Rocío García-Retamero, a teacher at the Faculty of Psychology from the University of Granada (Universidad de Granada -UGR), and Jörg Rieskamp, a researcher from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany, have examined the hit rate of the two types of strategy we usually use to make inferences, depending on the mechanism that is used to treat information that is not available to us.

The strategies are known as the take-the-best (TTB) and weighted additive (WADD) strategies, “two prototype strategies that represent very well how we as human beings usually behave”, García-Retamero explains to SINC.

The first strategy, namely TTB, consists of selecting a route, the one we consider most significant for our objectives. In the restaurant, for example, the cooking method can be useful to enable us to differentiate between a healthy meal and an unhealthy one. Even if this facility does not allow us to discriminate, then we select a second route.

On the other hand, by using the WADD strategy, we consider many more routes and value the importance of each of them more. So, the cooking method together with other properties of the food, such as source and nutrient content, are added to the inference with reasoning.

Ways of inferring

The researchers explain that in the last twenty years studies dealing with the way in which individuals deal with incomplete information have shown that we function very differently, depending on the type of inference problem we are confronting.

The distribution of information that is missing can help us. Returning to the example of the restaurant, we can consider, for example, that that information is the same for all the dishes (uniform distribution) or that, on the other hand, for the less healthy dishes that “hidden” information is greater (conditioned distribution).

Using these criteria, the researchers have designed ten inference problems, that differ in respect to the number of objects considered (between 24 and 181), the quantity of missing information (from 0 to 100%) and the distribution of that information (uniform or conditioned), and they have calculated the hit rate percentage in each case.

The study reveals that the different options of dealing with what we do not know and also the ways in which the “hidden” information is distributed have the same impact upon the two inference strategies. The authors call this a “surprising” result, because a priori we could think that using a compensated strategy such as the weighted additive strategy increases the probability of being right about our inferences.

However, as the psychologist points out, the result “is in line with previous studies about the take-the-best strategy, that show that simple strategies based on a small amount of information can be as precise as those made up of a high number of clues in our environment”.

SINC Team | alfa
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>