Improving judgment accuracy by sequential adjustment

Shenghua Luan, Lael J. Schooler, Jolene H. Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Judging an object’s value based on relevant cues can be challenging. We propose a simple method to improve judgment accuracy: Instead of estimating a value after seeing all available cues simultaneously, individuals view cues sequentially, one after another, making and adjusting their estimate at each step. The sequential procedure may alleviate computational difficulties in cue integration, leading to higher judgment accuracy. We tested this hypothesis in two real-world tasks in which participants judged either the price of diamonds or the fuel economy of cars. Two studies with professional jewelers and car salespeople show that most participants indeed judged more accurately with a sequential than with a simultaneous procedure. Another two studies with college students further support this finding and show additionally that the sequential procedure could raise the judgment accuracy of inexperienced students to the same level as that of professionals judging with the simultaneous procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-177
Number of pages8
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • Decision analysis
  • Ecological rationality
  • Heuristics
  • Judgment
  • Sequential processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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