Used a 2 × 3 design to explore the effects of complexity and importance of decision on conservatism in processing information. 120 undergraduate males considered 2 or 3 alternative explanation for 1 of 3 problems differing in perceived importance, and indicated which explanations was more or most probable. These probability statements were compared with "optimal" probabilities, arrived at by using Bayes's theorem. The more important and complex the decisions were perceived to be, the more conservative the Ss were when compared to optimal Bayesian values. The differences were more pronounced as the number of alternatives increased. 7 individual difference variables measuring adequacy in processing information were unrelated to conservatism. A process analysis suggests that strongly held initial opinions can limit the judged relevance of subsequent information and, in turn, affect the optimal Bayesian decision. (20 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
- Bayesian probability
- conservatism in information processing, complexity &
- importance of decision &
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science