Framing and the theory-simulation controversy. Predicting people's decisions
We introduce a particular way of drawing the distinction between the use of theory and simulation in the prediction of people's decisions and describe an empirical method to test whether theory or simulation is used in a particular case. We demonstrate this method with two effects of decision making involving the choice between a safe option (take amount X) and a risky option (take double the amount X with probability 1/2). People's predictions of choice frequencies for trivial (€ 0.75) as opposed to substantial (€ 18) amounts in Experiment 1 are quite accurate when they are presented with both conditions juxtaposed but are less accurate when only given one of the conditions. This result is interpreted to speak for the use of theory in prediction. In contrast people's predictions of the framing effect for substantial amounts (more risk seeking for positively than negatively framed problems) are accurate only for independent predictions but not for juxtaposed predictions, which speaks for the use of simulation.
Keywordsfolk psychology framing juxtaposition risk simulation-theory theory-theory
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Davies, M. & Stone, T. (1998) Folk psychology and mental simulation, in A. O'Hear (Ed.),Current Issues in the Philosophy of Mind, Supplement 42 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
- Davis, M. & Stone, T. (in press) Mental simulation, tacit theory, and the threat of collapse,Philosophical Topics.Google Scholar
- Fodor, J. (1987)Psychosemantics (Cambridge MA, TheMit Press).Google Scholar
- Gordon, R.M. (1986) Folk psychology as simulation,Mind & Language, 1, pp. 158–71.Google Scholar
- Grether, D. & Plott, C. (1979) Economic theory of choice and the preference reversal phenomenon,American Economic Review, 69, pp. 623–38.Google Scholar
- Heal, J. (1986) Replication and functionalism, in J. Butterfield (Ed.),Language, mind, and logic (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
- Heal, J. (1995) How to think about thinking, in M. Davies & T. Stone (Eds),Mental simulation (Oxford, Blackwell).Google Scholar
- Heal, J. (2001)Other minds, rationality and analogy, inaugural address, St. John's College, Cambridge University.Google Scholar
- Levin, I.P., Chapman, D.P. & Johnson, R.D. (1988) Confidence in judgments based on incomplete information: An investigation using both hypothetical and real gambles,Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 1, pp. 29–41.Google Scholar
- Nichols, S., Stich, S., Leslie, A. & Klein, D. (1996) Varieties of off-line simulation, in P. Carruthers & P.K. Smith (Eds),Theories of Theories of Mind (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press), pp. 39–74.Google Scholar
- Stich, S. & Nichols, S. (1995) Folk psychology: simulation or tacit theory?, in M. Davis & T. Stone (Eds),Folk psychology (Oxford, Blackwell), pp. 123–58.Google Scholar