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Study on the Influence of Psychological Distance to Base-rate Neglect

Author: KongShiXiao
Tutor: XuFuMing
School: Central China Normal University
Course: Applied Psychology
Keywords: base-rate neglect psychological distance temporal distance personaldistance spatial distance
CLC: C934
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2014
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Abstract


Base-rate Neglect refers to the phenomenon which describes people’s tendency to underestimate or neglect base-rate information in probability judgments and decision making. The phenomenon is widespread in many fields of daily behavior and decision making. Since the concept of base-rate neglect has been proposed, the study of psychological mechanisms has reached well-documented results and conclusions. But the exploration for its influence factors apprents to be conservative, thus few researches tried to shed light into its application. What’s more, there is little empirical study of base-rate neglect in China. Therefore, the present paper aims to explore how the psychological distance affect base-rate neglect.Study1employed two experiments with2(temporal distance:distant, near) x2(base rate: high, low) between-subject design to exame the modulate effect of temporal distance. The results of Experiment1A suggested that the temporal distance does affect the base-rate neglect in the campaign circumstances, and base-rate neglect effect weakened with increasing temporal diastance, thus individuals tend to make probability judgments based on base rate. The results of ExperimentlB manifested that decision-making regarding disease risk is susceptible to the base-rate neglect, and base-rate neglect effect weakened with increasing temporal diastance, thus individuals tend to make probability judgments based on base rate. Both experiments of Study1provided evidences that temporal distance could affect the base-rate neglect in daily decisions.In similar fashion with Study1, Study2explored the effect of social distance on the base-rate neglect with2(personal distance:distant, near)x2(base rate:high, low) within-subject design. Generally speaking, results from both experiments of Study2indicated that personal distance could exert influence on the base-rate neglect. In two different decision-making situations, with increasing personal distance, subjects tend to take base rate into account, thus the base-rate neglect wear off.The purpose of Study3was to examine the effect of spatial distance on base-rate neglect. As similar with previous both studies, Study3reached the similar conclusions with the same decision-making situations.Study4expanded the above research findings to the effect of psychological distances on base-rate neglect with2(temporal distance: distant, near) x2(personal distance: distant, near) x2(spatial distance:distant, near) between-subject design. In the real world, more than one psychological distance may play an important role in the possibility judgment. Study4find that there was a significant main effect of all psychological distances, which is consistent with previous experimental results. Nonetheless, no interaction effect was observed among three psychological distances; however, further analysis indicated that there is a compensatory integration for the effect of different psychological distances on the base-rate neglect.

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