Individual and Group Decision Making: Current Issues

By N. John Castellan Jr. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
USING CONFIGURAL AND DIMENSIONAL INFORMATION

Stephen E. Edgell University of Louisville

This chapter explores many years of published data and some new data from the multiple-cue probability learning research paradigm. The focus is on answering two questions concerning subjects' performance in using probabilistic information in making decisions. The first question is whether or not it is more difficult to use relevant configural information than it is to use relevant dimensional information. Although early studies answered this in the affirmative, later work has shown that the issue is very complex. Some partial answers are discussed. The second question is does having relevant dimensional (configural) information affect the utilization of relevant configural (dimensional) information; that is, does the utilization of one type of information interact with the utilization of the other? It is found that there is no evidence for relevant configural affecting dimensional utilization but strong evidence for relevant dimensional affecting configural utilization. The Castellan and Edgell model is compared to the findings, and a revised version of the model is found to better account for these results.

Although everyone has a good idea what decision making is, a precise definition has never been agreed on. One characteristic often associated with decision making is that of a decision maker using information to make a decision or judgment. (In this chapter no distinction is made between decisions and judgments.) The decision maker cognitively processes the information to arrive at a decision. Much of the study of decision making has involved exploring these cognitive processes. Moreover, most of the researchers in this area have taken into account the nature of the information that the

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