Reasoning with uncertain categories

Gregory L. Murphy, Stephanie Y. Chen, Brian H. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Five experiments investigated how people use categories to make inductions about objects whose categorisation is uncertain. Normatively, they should consider all the categories the object might be in and use a weighted combination of information from all the categories: bet-hedging. The experiments presented people with simple, artificial categories and asked them to make an induction about a new object that was most likely in one category but possibly in another. The results showed that the majority of people focused on the most likely category in making inductions, although there was a group of consistently normative responders who used information from both categories (about 25% of our college population). Across experiments the overall pattern of results suggests that performance in the task is improved not by understanding the underlying principles of bet-hedging but by increasing the likelihood that multiple categories are in working memory at the time of the induction. We discuss implications for improving everyday inductions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-117
Number of pages37
JournalThinking and Reasoning
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2012

Fingerprint

Task Performance and Analysis
Short-Term Memory
Population
Induction
Experiment

Keywords

  • Bayesian processes
  • Categories
  • Induction
  • Reasoning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Philosophy

Cite this

Murphy, G. L., Chen, S. Y., & Ross, B. H. (2012). Reasoning with uncertain categories. Thinking and Reasoning, 18(1), 81-117. https://doi.org/10.1080/13546783.2011.650506

Reasoning with uncertain categories. / Murphy, Gregory L.; Chen, Stephanie Y.; Ross, Brian H.

In: Thinking and Reasoning, Vol. 18, No. 1, 02.2012, p. 81-117.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Murphy, GL, Chen, SY & Ross, BH 2012, 'Reasoning with uncertain categories', Thinking and Reasoning, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 81-117. https://doi.org/10.1080/13546783.2011.650506
Murphy, Gregory L. ; Chen, Stephanie Y. ; Ross, Brian H. / Reasoning with uncertain categories. In: Thinking and Reasoning. 2012 ; Vol. 18, No. 1. pp. 81-117.
@article{d08d546279974ca1af6e5d732a3523ad,
title = "Reasoning with uncertain categories",
abstract = "Five experiments investigated how people use categories to make inductions about objects whose categorisation is uncertain. Normatively, they should consider all the categories the object might be in and use a weighted combination of information from all the categories: bet-hedging. The experiments presented people with simple, artificial categories and asked them to make an induction about a new object that was most likely in one category but possibly in another. The results showed that the majority of people focused on the most likely category in making inductions, although there was a group of consistently normative responders who used information from both categories (about 25{\%} of our college population). Across experiments the overall pattern of results suggests that performance in the task is improved not by understanding the underlying principles of bet-hedging but by increasing the likelihood that multiple categories are in working memory at the time of the induction. We discuss implications for improving everyday inductions.",
keywords = "Bayesian processes, Categories, Induction, Reasoning",
author = "Murphy, {Gregory L.} and Chen, {Stephanie Y.} and Ross, {Brian H.}",
year = "2012",
month = "2",
doi = "10.1080/13546783.2011.650506",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "18",
pages = "81--117",
journal = "Thinking and Reasoning",
issn = "1354-6783",
publisher = "Psychology Press Ltd",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Reasoning with uncertain categories

AU - Murphy, Gregory L.

AU - Chen, Stephanie Y.

AU - Ross, Brian H.

PY - 2012/2

Y1 - 2012/2

N2 - Five experiments investigated how people use categories to make inductions about objects whose categorisation is uncertain. Normatively, they should consider all the categories the object might be in and use a weighted combination of information from all the categories: bet-hedging. The experiments presented people with simple, artificial categories and asked them to make an induction about a new object that was most likely in one category but possibly in another. The results showed that the majority of people focused on the most likely category in making inductions, although there was a group of consistently normative responders who used information from both categories (about 25% of our college population). Across experiments the overall pattern of results suggests that performance in the task is improved not by understanding the underlying principles of bet-hedging but by increasing the likelihood that multiple categories are in working memory at the time of the induction. We discuss implications for improving everyday inductions.

AB - Five experiments investigated how people use categories to make inductions about objects whose categorisation is uncertain. Normatively, they should consider all the categories the object might be in and use a weighted combination of information from all the categories: bet-hedging. The experiments presented people with simple, artificial categories and asked them to make an induction about a new object that was most likely in one category but possibly in another. The results showed that the majority of people focused on the most likely category in making inductions, although there was a group of consistently normative responders who used information from both categories (about 25% of our college population). Across experiments the overall pattern of results suggests that performance in the task is improved not by understanding the underlying principles of bet-hedging but by increasing the likelihood that multiple categories are in working memory at the time of the induction. We discuss implications for improving everyday inductions.

KW - Bayesian processes

KW - Categories

KW - Induction

KW - Reasoning

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84863385053&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84863385053&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/13546783.2011.650506

DO - 10.1080/13546783.2011.650506

M3 - Article

VL - 18

SP - 81

EP - 117

JO - Thinking and Reasoning

JF - Thinking and Reasoning

SN - 1354-6783

IS - 1

ER -