Deciding the price of fame
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Previous studies of ignorance-driven decision-making have either analyzed when ignorance should prove advantageous on theoretical grounds, or else they have examined whether human behavior is consistent with an ignorance driven inference strategy (e.g., the recognition heuristic). The current study merges these research goals by examining whether – under conditions where ignorance driven inference might be expected – the type of advantages theoretical analyses predict are evident in human performance data. A single experiment shows that, when asked to make relative wealth judgments, participants reliably use recognition as a basis for their judgments. Their wealth judgments under these conditions are reliably more accurate when some of the target names are unknown than when participants recognize all the names (the “less-is-more effect”). these data are robust against a number of variations on the size of the pool from which participants have to choose and the nature of the wealth judgment.
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