How to Improve Bayesian Reasoning without Instruction

Gerd Gigerenzer

in Adaptive Thinking

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780195153729
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849222 | DOI:

Series: Evolution and Cognition Series

How to Improve Bayesian Reasoning without Instruction

Show Summary Details


This chapter defines the concepts of natural sampling, natural frequencies, and reports experimental evidence for the impact of various external representations on statistical thinking. The mental strategies or shortcuts people use, not only their numerical estimates of risks, turn out to be a function of the external representation of numbers we choose. This chapter provides a theoretical framework that specifies why frequency formats should improve Bayesian reasoning and presents two studies that test whether they do. Its goal is to lead research on Bayesian inference out of the present conceptual cul-de-sac and to shift the focus from human errors to human engineering: how to help people reason the Bayesian way without even teaching them.

Keywords: Bayesian inference; reason; Bayesian reasoning; natural frequencies; frequency formats; natural sampling; mental strategies

Chapter.  12386 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.