Take-the-Best in Expert–Novice Decision Strategies for Residential Burglary
We examined the decision strategies and cue use of experts and novices in a consequential domain: crime. Three participant groups decided which of two residential properties was more likely to be burgled, on the basis of eight cues such as location of the property. The two expert groups were experienced burglars and police officers, and the novice group was composed of graduate students. We found that experts' choices were best predicted by a lexicographic heuristic strategy called take-the-best that implies noncompensatory information processing, whereas novices' choices were best predicted by a weighted additive linear strategy that implies compensatory processing. The two expert groups, however, differed in the cues they considered important in making their choices, and the police officers were actually more similar to novices in this regard. These findings extend the literature on judgment, decision making, and expertise, and have implications for criminal justice policy.
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