Chances and frequencies in probabilistic reasoning: rejoinder to Hoffrage, Gigerenzer, Krauss, and Martignon


  • Girotto V
  • Gonzalez Michel

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Do individuals unfamiliar with probability and statistics need a specific type of data in order to draw correct inferences about uncertain events? Girotto and Gonzalez (Cognition 78 (2001) 247) showed that naive individuals solve frequency as well as probability problems, when they reason extensionally, in particular when probabilities are represented by numbers of chances. Hoffrage, Gigerenzer, Krauss, and Martignon (Cognition 84 (2002) 343) argued that numbers of chances are natural frequencies disguised as probabilities, though lacking the properties of true probabilities. They concluded that we failed to demonstrate that naive individuals can deal with true probabilities as opposed to natural frequencies. In this paper, we demonstrate that numbers of chances do represent probabilities, and that naive individuals do not confuse numbers of chances with frequencies. We conclude that there is no evidence for the claim that natural frequencies have a special cognitive status, and the evolutionary argument that the human mind is unable to deal with probabilities. (C) 2002 Published by Elsevier Science B.V.

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