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Etc. Frequency Processing and Cognition$
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Peter Sedlmeier and Tilmann Betsch

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198508632

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198508632.001.0001

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Effects of processing fluency on estimates of probability and frequency

Effects of processing fluency on estimates of probability and frequency

(p.175) Chapter 11 Effects of processing fluency on estimates of probability and frequency
Etc. Frequency Processing and Cognition

Rolf Reber

Natasha Zupanek

Oxford University Press

People may apply multiple strategies for estimating frequency or probability of occurrence. One of them is the use of the availability heuristic, which is the ease of retrieving instances from memory. However, this kind of processing fluency often is confounded with an amount of recall. This chapter presents a new paradigm that helps to resolve this issue. In two experiments, participants were repeatedly exposed to two events; one could be processed more easily than the other. Objective probabilities of occurrence for the fluent event were 25%, 50%, and 75%. Participants had to judge probability (Experiment 1) or frequency (Experiment 2) of occurrence. In both experiments, estimates were biased by manipulated fluency of the event.

Keywords:   heuristic, memory, fluency, recall, probabilities of occurrence, bias

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