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Psychological Research

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 123–129 | Cite as

The dependence of the conjunction fallacy on subtle linguistic factors

  • Klaus Fiedler
Article

Summary

The three experiments reported in this article are concerned with moderating conditions of the so-called conjunction fallacy. Although the conjunction of two events (A&B) is necessarily less probable than one event alone, intelligent people's judgments sometimes violate this logical principle when it is easier to think about or imagine the conjunction A&B than the component event A. It was hypothesized that the fallacy might be reduced either by a priming treatment (directing the participants' attention to the logical rule prior to the conjunctions tasks) or by a linguistic manipulation (replacing the ambiguous term “probability” by the term “frequency”. Experiment 1 shows that the bias is drastically reduced by the subtle linguistic manipulation and suggests that the fallacy is partly due to a common misunderstanding of the probability concept. The lack of a priming effect seems to imply that cueing or activation of logical schemata is not a critical factor. Experiment 2 replicates the linguistic influence under slightly modified task conditions, and Experiment 3 corroborates the ineffectiveness of the priming factor using a stronger priming treatment.

Keywords

Priming Effect Priming Treatment Priming Factor Task Condition Logical Rule 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus Fiedler
    • 1
  1. 1.Fachbereich PsychologieUniversität GiessenGiessenFederal Republic of Germany

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