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Why does cue polarity information provide benefits in inference problems? The role of strategy selection and knowledge of cue importance


von Helversen, Bettina; Karlsson, Linnea; Mata, Rui; Wilke, Andreas (2013). Why does cue polarity information provide benefits in inference problems? The role of strategy selection and knowledge of cue importance. Acta Psychologica, 144(1):73-82.

Abstract

Knowledge about cue polarity (i.e., the sign of a cue-criterion relation) seems to boost performance in a wide range of inference tasks. Knowledge about cue polarity information may enhance performance by increasing (1) the reliance on rule- relative to similarity-based strategies, and (2) explicit knowledge about the relative importance of cues. We investigated the relative contribution of these two mechanisms in a multiple-cue judgment task and a categorization task, which typically differ in the inference strategies they elicit and potentially the explicit task knowledge available to participants. In both tasks participants preferred rule-based relative to similarity-based strategies and had more knowledge about cue importance when cue polarity information was provided. Strategy selection was not related to increases in performance in the categorization task and could only partly explain increases in performance in the judgment task. In contrast, explicit knowledge about the importance of cues was related to better performance in both categorization and judgment independently of the strategy used. In sum, our results suggest that the benefits of receiving cue polarity information may span across tasks, such multiple-cue judgment and categorization, primarily by enhancing knowledge of relative cue importance.

Abstract

Knowledge about cue polarity (i.e., the sign of a cue-criterion relation) seems to boost performance in a wide range of inference tasks. Knowledge about cue polarity information may enhance performance by increasing (1) the reliance on rule- relative to similarity-based strategies, and (2) explicit knowledge about the relative importance of cues. We investigated the relative contribution of these two mechanisms in a multiple-cue judgment task and a categorization task, which typically differ in the inference strategies they elicit and potentially the explicit task knowledge available to participants. In both tasks participants preferred rule-based relative to similarity-based strategies and had more knowledge about cue importance when cue polarity information was provided. Strategy selection was not related to increases in performance in the categorization task and could only partly explain increases in performance in the judgment task. In contrast, explicit knowledge about the importance of cues was related to better performance in both categorization and judgment independently of the strategy used. In sum, our results suggest that the benefits of receiving cue polarity information may span across tasks, such multiple-cue judgment and categorization, primarily by enhancing knowledge of relative cue importance.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:September 2013
Deposited On:03 Mar 2017 09:41
Last Modified:13 Jun 2018 15:36
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0001-6918
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.05.007
PubMed ID:23770569

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