Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 93, Issue 1, pp 67–85 | Cite as

Transfer of solutions to conditional probability problems: effects of example problem format, solution format, and problem context

  • Alan F. Chow
  • James P. Van Haneghan


This study reports the results of a study examining how easily students are able to transfer frequency solutions to conditional probability problems to novel situations. University students studied either a problem solved using the traditional Bayes formula format or using a natural frequency (tree diagram) format. In addition, the example problem and the target problem presented for solution had matched or mismatched context. The results found better performance when students studied frequency solutions and when the content of the study problem and target problem were matched. Beyond solution to the target problem, students did not show any differences in performance on a subsequent multiple choice task. Results are discussed in light of Gigerenzer and Hoffrage’s Psychological Review, 106, 425–430 (1999) claims about the effectiveness of using frequency solutions to help teach Bayesian conditional probability concepts.


Conditional probability Frequency Bayes 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management, Mitchell College of BusinessUniversity of South AlabamaMobileUSA
  2. 2.Department of Professional Studies, College of EducationUniversity of South AlabamaMobileUSA

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