Memory & Cognition

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 191–198 | Cite as

On the reality of the conjunction fallacy

  • Ashley Sides
  • Daniel Osherson
  • Nicolao Bonini
  • Riccardo Viale
Article

Abstract

Attributing higher “probability” to a sentence of formp-and-q, relative top, is a reasoning fallacy only if (1) the wordprobability carries its modern, technical meaning and (2) the sentencep is interpreted as a conjunct of the conjunctionp-and-q. Legitimate doubts arise about both conditions in classic demonstrations of the conjunction fallacy. We used betting paradigms and unambiguously conjunctive statements to reduce these sources of ambiguity about conjunctive reasoning. Despite the precautions, conjunction fallacies were as frequent under betting instructions as under standard probability instructions.

References

  1. Bar-Hillel, M. (1991). Commentary on Wolford, Taylor, and Beck: The conjunction fallacy?Memory & Cognition,19, 412–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bar-Hillel, M., &Neter, E. (1993). How alike it is versus how likely it is: A disjunction fallacy in probability judgments.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,65, 1119–1131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dawes, R., Mirels, H. L., Gold, E., &Donahue, E. (1993). Equating inverse probabilities in implicit personality judgments.Psychological Science,4, 396–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dulany, D. E., &Hilton, D. J. (1991). Conversational implicature, conscious representation, and the conjunction fallacy.Social Cognition,9, 85–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Earman, J. (1992).Bayes or Bust? Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  6. Fiedler, K. (1988). The dependence of the conjunction fallacy on subtle linguistic factors.Psychological Research,50, 123–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fitelson, B. (1999). The plurality of Bayesian measures of confirmation and the problem of measure sensitivity.Philosophy of Science,66, S362-S378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Georgakopoulos, G., Kavvadias, D., &Papadimitriou, C. (1988). Probabilistic satisfiability.Journal of Complexity,4, 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gigerenzer, G. (1991). How to make cognitive illusions disappear: Beyond “heuristics and biases.” In W. Storche & M. Hewstone, (Eds.),European review of social psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 83–115). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  10. Gigerenzer, G. (1996). Reply to Tversky and Kahneman.Psychological Review,103, 592–593.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gigerenzer, G., Hoffrage, U., &Kleinbolting, H. (1991). Probabilistic mental models: A Brunswikian theory of confidence.Psychological Review,98, 506–528.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Grice, H. P. (1975). Logic and conversation. In P. Cole & J. Morgan (Eds.),Syntax and semantics: Vol. 3. Speech acts (pp. 41–58). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hacking, I. (1975).The emergence of probability. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Hertwig, R., &Chase, V.M. (1998). Many reasons or just one: How response mode affects reasoning in the conjunction problem.Thinking & Reasoning,4, 319–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hertwig, R., &Gigerenzer, G. (1999). The “conjunction fallacy” revisited: How intelligent inferences look like reasoning errors.Journal of Behavioral Decision Making,12, 275–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hilton, D. J. (1995). The social context of reasoning: Conversational inference and rational judgment.Psychological Bulletin,118, 248–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Horwich, P. (1982).Probability and evidence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Howson, C., &Urbach, P. (1993).Scientific reasoning: The Bayesian approach. Chicago: Open CourtGoogle Scholar
  19. Jones, S.K., Jones, K. T., &Frisch, D. (1995). Biases of probability assessment: A comparison of frequency and single-case judgments.Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes,61, 109–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kahneman, D., &Tversky, A. (1996). On the reality of cognitive illusions.Psychological Review,103, 582–591.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Krause, P., &Clark, D. (1993).Representing uncertain knowledge. Norwell, MA: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  22. Macdonald, R., &Gilhooly, K. (1986). More about Linda or conjunctions in context.European Journal of Cognitive Psychology,2, 57–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mellers, B., Hertwig, R., &Kahneman, D. (2001). Do frequency representations eliminate conjunction effects? An exercise in adversarial collaboration.Psychological Science,12, 269–275.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Morier, D., &Borgida, E. (1984). The conjunction fallacy: A task specific phenomenon?Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin,10, 243–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Neapolitan, R. (1990).Probabilistic reasoning in expert systems: Theory and algorithms. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  26. Nozick, R. (1981).Philosophical explanations. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  27. Osherson, D., Lane, D., Hartley, P., &Batsell, R. (2001). Coherent probability from incoherent judgment.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied,70, 3–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Osherson, D., Perani, D., Cappa, S., Schnur, T., Grassi, F., &Fazio,F. (1998). Distinct brain loci in deductive versus probabilistic reasoning.Neuropsychologia,36, 369–376.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Parsons, L., &Osherson, D. (2001). New evidence for distinct right and left brain systems for deductive vs. probabilistic reasoning.Cerebral Cortex,11, 954–965.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Politzer, G., &Noveck, I. A. (1991). Are conjunction rule violations the result of conversational rule violations?Journal of Psycholinguistic Research,20, 83–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stanovich, K. E. (1999).Who is rational? Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  32. Tversky,A., &Kahneman, D. (1983). Extensional versus intuitive reasoning: The conjunction fallacy in probability judgment.Psychological Review,90, 293–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wolford, G. (1991). The conjunction fallacy? A reply to Bar-Hillel.Memory & Cognition,19, 415–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wolford, G., Taylor, H.A., &Beck, J. R. (1990). The conjunction fallacy?Memory & Cognition,18, 47–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashley Sides
    • 1
  • Daniel Osherson
    • 1
  • Nicolao Bonini
    • 1
  • Riccardo Viale
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRice UniversityHouston

Personalised recommendations