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How social information affects information search and choice in probabilistic inferences


Puskaric, Marin; von Helversen, Bettina; Rieskamp, Jörg (2017). How social information affects information search and choice in probabilistic inferences. Acta Psychologica, 182:166-176.

Abstract

When making decisions, people are often exposed to relevant information stemming from qualitatively different sources. For instance, when making a choice between two alternatives people can rely on the advice of other people (i.e., social information) or search for factual information about the alternatives (i.e., non-social information). Prior research in categorization has shown that social information is given special attention when both social and non-social information is available, even when the social information has no additional informational value. The goal of the current work is to investigate whether framing information as social or non-social also influences information search and choice in probabilistic inferences. In a first study, we found that framing cues (i.e., the information used to make a decision) with medium validity as social increased the probability that they were searched for compared to a task where the same cues were framed as non-social information, but did not change the strategy people relied on. A second and a third study showed that framing a cue with high validity as social information facilitated learning to rely on a non-compensatory decision strategy. Overall, the results suggest that social in comparison to non-social information is given more attention and is learned faster than non-social information.

Abstract

When making decisions, people are often exposed to relevant information stemming from qualitatively different sources. For instance, when making a choice between two alternatives people can rely on the advice of other people (i.e., social information) or search for factual information about the alternatives (i.e., non-social information). Prior research in categorization has shown that social information is given special attention when both social and non-social information is available, even when the social information has no additional informational value. The goal of the current work is to investigate whether framing information as social or non-social also influences information search and choice in probabilistic inferences. In a first study, we found that framing cues (i.e., the information used to make a decision) with medium validity as social increased the probability that they were searched for compared to a task where the same cues were framed as non-social information, but did not change the strategy people relied on. A second and a third study showed that framing a cue with high validity as social information facilitated learning to rely on a non-compensatory decision strategy. Overall, the results suggest that social in comparison to non-social information is given more attention and is learned faster than non-social information.

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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:25 November 2017
Deposited On:09 Jan 2018 16:19
Last Modified:09 Jan 2018 16:19
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0001-6918
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2017.08.004
PubMed ID:29179021

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