Format dependent probabilities: An eye-tracking analysis of additivity neglect
When people are asked to estimate the probabilities of uncertain events, they often neglect the additivity principle, which requires that the probabilities assigned to an exhaustive set of outcomes should add up to 100%.
Previous studies indicate that additivity neglect is dependent on response format, self-generated probability estimates being more coherent than estimates on rating scales. The present study made use of eye-tracking methodology, recording the movement, frequency and duration of fixations during the solution of ten additivity problems and two control tasks. Participants produced more non-additive estimates in the Scale format than in the Self-generated format. Self-generated estimates also led to longer decision time and a higher number of repeated inspections, suggesting a deliberate comparison process. In contrast, the Scale format seemed to encourage a case-based approach where each outcome is evaluated in isolation.
Polish Psychological Bulletin, 2014, 45 (1), 12-20