As explained in Chapter 2 on "Perception," people tend to see what they expect to see, and new information is typically assimilated to existing beliefs. If the estimated range is based on relatively hard information concerning the upper and lower limits, the estimate is likely to be accurate. An event for which the timing is unpredictable may "at this time" have only a 5-percent probability of occurring during the coming month, but a 60-percent probability if the time frame is extended to one year (5 percent per month for 12 months). ... comparing the likelihood of something it to something else that matches the category. Analysts are evaluating all available information, not making quick and easy inferences. The false-consensus effect. On the other hand, policymakers and journalists who lack the time or access to evidence to go into details must necessarily take shortcuts. • If the description matched people’s stereotype of an engineer, they judged that the description was of an engineer • People’s judgments were not influenced by different base rate information (70 engineers and 30 lawyers vs. 70 lawyers and 30 engineers) Improving our judgments Whenever analysts move into a new analytical area and take over responsibility for updating a series of judgments or estimates made by their predecessors, the previous judgments may have such an anchoring effect. It is easy to demonstrate this phenomenon in training courses for analysts. During the Vietnam War, a fighter plane made a non-fatal strafing attack on a US aerial reconnaissance mission at twilight. It is an example of cognitive bias, in which people react to a choice in different ways depending on how it is presented (e.g., as a loss or a gain). Normative Model. On a typical class day, approximately 25% of the class is not in attendance. Even when analysts make their own initial judgment, and then attempt to revise this judgment on the basis of new information or further analysis, there is much evidence to suggest that they usually do not change the judgment enough. In making rough probability judgments, people commonly depend upon one of several simplified rules of thumb that greatly ease the burden of decision. In recalculating, they take this as a starting point rather than starting over from scratch, but why this should limit the range of subsequent reasoning is not clear. A common procedure in answering this question is to reason as follows: We know the pilot identified the aircraft as Cambodian. "rule of thumb" heuristic. To say that something could happen or is possible may refer to anything from a 1-percent to a 99-percent probability. Most people do not have a good intuitive grasp of probabilistic reasoning. A. The Office of Public Affairs (OPA) is the single point of contact for all inquiries about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). When you return permanently to the US (not on vacation or leave), please visit the, To verify an employee's employment, please contact the, Biographic details, such as a photograph of yourself, and a copy of the biographic page In judging the probability of alternative outcomes, our senior leaders were strongly influenced by the ready availability of two seemingly comparable scenarios--the failure of appeasement prior to World War II and the successful intervention in Korea. Treatment A was predicted to result in 400 deaths, whereas Treatment B had a 33% chance that no one would die but a 66% chance that everyone would die. The anchoring effect has been demonstrated by a wide variety of experiments, both in laboratories and in the real world. the information via one of the above methods. 148Many examples from everyday life are cited in Robyn M. Dawes, Rational Choice in an Uncertain World (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers, 1988), Chapter 5. Data Availability Statement. That stopped our disagreement. (b) Base rate data: 85 percent of the jet fighters in that area are Vietnamese; 15 percent are Cambodian. Using the "availability" rule, people judge the probability of an event by the ease with which they can imagine relevant instances of similar events or the number of such events that they can easily remember. For instance, they were asked, “Is the percentage of African countries that are members of the United Nations larger or smaller than 65%?” They then tried to guess the true percentage. If, however, the range is determined by starting with a single best estimate that is simply adjusted up and down to arrive at estimated maximum and minimum values, then anchoring comes into play, and the adjustment is likely to be insufficient. While often very useful in everyday life, it can also result in neglect of relevant base rates and other errors. Base rate neglect The failure to incorporate the true prevalence of a disease into diagnostic reasoning. What are the differences b/t base rate fallacy vs representative heuristic? When intelligence conclusions are couched in ambiguous terms, a reader's interpretation of the conclusions will be biased in favor of consistency with what the reader already believes. Please check our site map, search feature, or our site navigation on the left Easy Definition of Base Rate Fallacy: Don't think "99% accurate" means a 1% failure rate.There's far more to think about before you can work out the failure rate. There is some evidence that awareness of the anchoring problem is not an adequate antidote.138 This is a common finding in experiments dealing with cognitive biases. A definition of information cascade with examples. b. Data is available at: DOI 10.17605/osf.io/6mdvs. Heuristics are simple rules of thumb that people often use to form judgments and make decisions; think of them as mental shortcuts. Both the Zlotnick and Fisk articles were republished in H. Bradford Westerfield, Inside CIA's Private World: Declassified Articles from the Agency's Internal Journal, 1955-1992, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995). In this episode find out the difference between the availability and representativeness heuristics, as well as the “Take the Best“, Hindsight, and the Base Rate Neglect (Fallacy) heuristics. This is the experience of CIA analysts who have used various tradecraft tools that require, or are especially suited to, the analysis of unlikely but nonetheless possible and important hypotheses. Verbal expressions of uncertainty--such as "possible," "probable," "unlikely," "may," and "could"--are a form of subjective probability judgment, but they have long been recognized as sources of ambiguity and misunderstanding. In the above example, the averaging procedure gives an estimated probability of 70 percent for the entire scenario. Decision making is the cognitive process that results in the selection of a course of action or belief from several possibilities. Base rate fallacy refers to how the mind tends to focus on information pertaining to a certain case while ignoring how common a characteristic or behavior actually is in the general population. It remains when the subjects are offered money as an incentive to be accurate, or when they are explicitly told not to base their judgment on the anchor. The problem was not a major difference of opinion, but the ambiguity of the term probable. The representativeness heuristic is a cognitive heuristic wherein we assume commonality between objects of similar appearance. 5. Hindsight Bias. c. the anchoring heuristic. The pilot's aircraft recognition capabilities were tested under appropriate visibility and flight conditions. -Problem – base-rate fallacy – using the representativeness heuristic means ignoring base rates-Base rates – frequency with which given events or cases occur in the population-Availability heuristic – strategy for making judgments based on how easily specific kinds of information can be brought to mind. Heuristics & Biases Heuristics are one source of biases. Internet: Send a message here. Jack was judged to be more likely to be an engineer when the base rate probability of being an engineer was high (M = 77 percent) than when it was low (M = 66 percent), t(58) = 2.25, p = .03. On the other hand, common but mundane events (like heart attacks and diabetes) are harder to bring to mind, so their likelihood tends to be underestimated. This may seem like a mathematical trick, but it is not. They are empty shells. Such a judgment is an expression of the analyst's personal belief that a certain explanation or estimate is correct. This idea is linked to the Base Rate Fallacy. Anchoring can be demonstrated very simply in a classroom exercise by asking a group of students to estimate one or more known quantities, such as the percentage of member countries in the United Nations that are located in Africa. Many events of concern to intelligence analysts. When analysts make quick, gut judgments without really analyzing the situation, they are likely to be influenced by the availability bias. Even though I know from experience that this never happens, I do not learn from this experience. How can analysts express uncertainty without being unclear about how certain they are? In paragraph (b) of the problem, substitute the following: (b) Although the fighter forces of the two countries are roughly equal in number in this area, 85 percent of all harassment incidents involve Vietnamese fighters, while 15 percent involve Cambodian fighters. availability heuristic. I argued he was probably bona fide. Most intelligence judgments deal with one-of-a-kind situations for which it is impossible to assign a statistical probability. The shaded areas in the table show the ranges proposed by Kent.144. Intelligence analysts sometimes present judgments in the form of a scenario--a series of events leading to an anticipated outcome. Heuristics can be very useful in reducing the time and mental effort it takes to make most decisions and judgments; however, because they are shortcuts, they don’t take into account all information and can thus lead to errors. Anchoring and adjustment is a heuristic used in situations where people must estimate a number. This reasoning appears plausible but is incorrect. He said there was at least a 51-percent chance of the source being under hostile control. To calculate mathematically the probability of a scenario, the proper procedure is to multiply the probabilities of each individual event. 100% Upvoted. In a study done in 1973, Kahneman and Tversky gave their subjects the following information: Tom W. is of high intelligence, although lacking in true creativity. Availability Heuristic Definition The availability heuristic describes a mental strategy in which people judge probability, frequency, or extremity based on the ease with which and the amount of information that can be brought to mind. Availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to mind. O a confirmation bias the base-rate fallacy O counterfactual thinking the availability heuristic QUESTION 52 Everyone you know seems to love the TV show The Bachelor. The correct answer is: d. the false-consensus effect. Our mission. The base rate, or prior probability, is what you can say about any hostile fighter in that area before you learn anything about the specific sighting. Sort by. I said there was at least a 51-percent chance of his being bona fide. The base rate fallacy describes how people do not take the base rate of an event into account when solving probability problems. Yea, the confusion is easy to see on this one, but the key thing you have to remember about base rate fallacy is the instructions given to the person who is doing the guessing: “If you chose someone RANDOMLY, what is … Ask them to start with this number as an estimated answer, then, as they think about the problem, to adjust this number until they get as close as possible to what they believe is the correct answer. Representative heuristic vs base rate fallacy; supper confused. Log in or sign up to leave a comment log in sign up. Kahneman and Tversky did a lot of work in this area and their paper “Judgement under Uncdertainty: Heuristic and Biases”  sheds light on this. hostile media phenomenon. underemphasizing important information about base rate. 88-96. collection mission, there are many ways to reach us. If a number of such estimates are made that reflect an appropriate degree of confidence, the true figure should fall within the estimated range 75 percent of the time and outside this range 25 percent of the time. Assume we present you with the following description of a person named Linda: Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. Using the representativeness heuristic can make people susceptible to biases , such as the tendency to ignore base rates and the gambler’s fallacy . But is that a sound basis for estimating the likelihood of its happening? The first statement was: "The cease-fire is holding but could be broken within a week." The best way to explain base rate neglect, is to start off with a (classical) example. d. the false-consensus effect. The base rate of having a drunken-driving accident is higher than those of having accidents in a sober state. She majored in philosophy. Decision framing 5. A base rate fallacy is committed when a person judges that an outcome will occur without considering prior knowledge of the probability that it will occur. The reader or listener fills them with meaning through the context in which they are used and what is already in the reader's or listener's mind about that context. An example of a base rate would be a professor who teaches a 7:30 a.m. statistics class. People from nearly every country share information with CIA, and new individuals contact us 136Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, "Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases," Science, Vol. You know the following facts: (a) Specific case information: The US pilot identified the fighter as Cambodian. In planning a research project, I may estimate being able to complete it in four weeks. 142Sherman Kent, "Words of Estimated Probability," in Donald P. Steury, ed., Sherman Kent and the Board of National Estimates: Collected Essays (CIA, Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1994). An individual object or person has a high representativeness for a category if that object or person is very similar to a prototype of that category. Therefore, we do not know--it is roughly 50-50 whether it was Cambodian or Vietnamese. The correct answer is: d. the false-consensus effect. The problem remains mathematically and structurally the same. Office of Public Affairs 6. US policymakers in the early years of our involvement in Vietnam had to imagine scenarios for what might happen if they did or did not commit US troops to the defense of South Vietnam. I also possess a body of experience with similar estimates I have made in the past. By themselves, these expressions have no clear meaning. belief perseverance phenomenon. You can change your ad preferences anytime. c. The representativeness heuristic. The term was first coined in 1973 by Nobel-prize winning psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman. (McLean, VA: Decisions and Designs, Inc. 1977), p. 66. Using the Tor browser, a virtual private network, and/or a device not registered to you can reduce some risk. The base rate fallacy is a tendency to focus on specific information over general probabilities. daily. Relevance. Biases vs Heuristics » Information Cascade . We also know the pilot's identifications are correct 80 percent of the time; therefore, there is an 80 percent probability the fighter was Cambodian. The false-consensus effect. Representativeness heuristic is a cognitive bias. of your passport, How you got the information you want to share with CIA, How to contact you, including your home address and phone number. to locate the information you seek. Judgmental Heuristics o Availability Heuristic Factors that influence availability heuristic: recency, vividness, moo ds o Simulation Heuristic: people determine the likelihood of an event based on how easy it is to picture the event mentally. provide, including your identity, and our interactions with you will be respectful and If the Vietnamese have a propensity to harass and the Cambodians do not, the prior probability that Vietnamese harassment is more likely than Cambodian is no longer ignored. The gambler’s fallacy should not be confused with its opposite, the hot hand fallacy. In one experiment, an intelligence analyst was asked to substitute numerical probability estimates for the verbal qualifiers in one of his own earlier articles. Yet, we have a fairly reliable report from our pilot that it was a Cambodian fighter. A military analyst who estimates future missile or tank production is often unable to give a specific figure as a point estimate. belief perseverance phenomenon. base rate fallacy. This heuristic is one of the reasons why people are more easily swayed by a single, vivid story than by a large body of statistical evidence. 1124-1131. Social psychology lecture covering availability heuristics, base rate fallacy, anchoring and adjustment, and framing heuristics PPT theme template - … How about two CIA officers, one of whom knew Aldrich Ames and the other who did not personally know anyone who had ever turned out to be a traitor? Exploring the availability heuristic leads to troubling conclusions across many different academic and professional areas. 5), and M. Alpert and H. Raiffa, "A Progress Report on The Training of Probability Assessors," Unpublished manuscript, Harvard University, 1968. Based on paragraph (b), we know that 85 of these encounters will be with Vietnamese aircraft, 15 with Cambodian. If you know of an imminent threat to a location inside the U.S., immediately contact This is an excellent learning experience, as the differences among students in how they understand the report are typically so great as to be quite memorable. We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. This heuristic bias is the mistaken belief that, for random independent events, the more frequently an outcome has occurred in the recent past, the greater is the likelihood of that outcome in the future. to us and to those with more detail. A very famous example of the framing effect comes from a 1981 experiment in which subjects were asked to choose between two treatments for an imaginary 600 people affected by a deadly disease. Another way to simplify the problem is to base judgment on a rough average of the probabilities of each event. A representativeness heuristic is a cognitive bias in which an individual categorizes a situation based on a pattern of previous experiences or beliefs about the scenario. In making rough probability judgments, people commonly depend upon one of several simplified rules of thumb that greatly ease the burden of decision. When this was done in one experiment that used this question, those starting with an anchor of 10 percent produced adjusted estimates that averaged 25 percent. Verification Office, Because of safety concerns for the prospective applicant, as well as security and Although this often works well, people are frequently led astray when the ease with which things come to mind is influenced by factors unrelated to their probability. This is especially true when dealing with verbal expressions of uncertainty. They can be innocent errors of thought that lead to poor decisions or can be intended to influence and persuade. His writing is rather dull and mechanical, occasionally enlivened by somewhat corny puns and by flashes of imagination of the sci-fi type. This eliminates some of the uncertainty from the judgment. If one thing actually occurs more frequently than another and is therefore more probable, we probably can recall more instances of it. 5. Jack was judged to be more likely to be an engineer when the base rate probability of being an engineer was high (M = 77 percent) than when it was low (M = 66 percent), t(58) = 2.25, p = .03. Representativeness heuristic 2. Misperception of randomness can also be a product of representativeness heuristics. In-Person: Outside the U.S., go to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and inform a U.S. Data on "prior probabilities" are commonly ignored unless they illuminate causal relationships. Insufficient adjustment from an anchor is not the only explanation for this effect. The framing effect occurs when the way a decision is framed (i.e., positive or negative) affects the decision-making process. Adding a fourth probable (70 percent) event to the scenario would reduce its probability to 24 percent. phone calls, e-mails or other forms of communication, from US citizens living outside of the Based on paragraph (a), we know that 80 percent or 68 of the 85 Vietnamese aircraft will be correctly identified as Vietnamese, while 20 percent or 17 will be incorrectly identified as Cambodian. He has a need for order and clarity, and for neat and tidy systems in which every detail finds its appropriate place. These and other factors that influence judgment are unrelated to the true probability of an event. The effect is stronger when people have to make their judgments quickly. However, with limited staff and resources, we simply cannot respond to all who write to us. Most people do not incorporate the prior probability into their reasoning because it does not seem relevant. This trader "error" is studied heavily, … We read every letter, fax, or e-mail we receive, and we will convey your comments to CIA officials outside OPA as appropriate. There are, of course, few problems in which base rates are given as explicitly as in the Vietnamese/Cambodian aircraft example. If you have information you think might interest CIA due to our foreign intelligence The difficulty in understanding this arises because untrained intuitive judgment does not incorporate some of the basic statistical principles of probabilistic reasoning. Lots of examples of these heuristics at work are included. Your diverse skills. Base rate fallacy is when the base or original weight or probability is either ignored or considered secondary. It was difficult to imagine the breakup of the Soviet Union because such an event was so foreign to our experience of the previous 50 years. A classic demonstration of the problems that can occur through neglect of relevant base rates is the taxi-cab problem. Base Rate Fallacy Defined Over half of car accidents occur within five miles of home, according to a report by Progressive Insurance in 2002. the representativeness heuristic professional. base-rate fallacy When my judgment of whether someone is aggressive is determined by how may relevant instances of aggressive behavior I can recall, I am using ________ to make my judgment. best method depends on your personal situation. U.S. official. The biases persist even after test subjects are informed of them and instructed to try to avoid them or compensate for them. Therefore, when the pilot claims the attack was by a Cambodian fighter, the probability that the craft was actually Cambodian is only 12/29ths or 41 percent, despite the fact that the pilot's identifications are correct 80 percent of the time. For example, the availability heuristic is a cognitive bias by which humans tend to rely on recent information far more than historical information. The analysis usually results in the "unlikely" scenario being taken a little more seriously. The framing effect is a phenomenon that affects how people make decisions. It involves starting from a readily available number—the “anchor”—and shifting either up or down to reach an answer that seems plausible. heuristics, heuristic, representativeness, availability, kahnemann, tversky. Estimate frequency or probability in terms of how easily we can think of examples. Jack Zlotnick, "Bayes' Theorem for Intelligence Analysis," Studies in Intelligence, Vol. It is comparable to a judgment that a horse has a three-to-one chance of winning a race. A scenario consists of several events linked together in a narrative description. In employing this reasoning, we use the prior probability information, integrate it with the case-specific information, and arrive at a conclusion that is about as close to the optimal answer (still 41 percent) as one is going to get without doing a mathematical calculation. Availability Heuristic. Consider two people who are smokers. Apart from the base rate fallacy, there is another everyday error people make when making sense of information, and this phenomenon is called availability heuristic (Hardman, 2015); which happens when people consciously allocate their attention to a specific situation whilst at the same time ignoring equally important situations, and then believing that whatever they paid attention to has a higher frequency than what they never consciously paid attention … To judge the likelihood of an event on the basis of how readily we can remember instances of its occurrence is called the confirmation bias. 137Experiments using a 98-percent confidence range found that the true value fell outside the estimated range 40 to 50 percent of the time. Learn how the CIA is organized into directorates and key offices, responsible for securing our nation. The failure to incorporate the true prevalence of a disease into diagnostic reasoning. Base Rate Fallacy Question • In a city of 1 million inhabitants there are 100 known terrorists and 999,900 non-terrorists – Terrorist base rate = .00001 • The city installs a face recognizing surveillance camera – If one of the known terrorists is seen by the camera, the system has a 99% probability of detecting the terrorist and ringing an alarm bell. The officers were asked what percentage probability they would attribute to each statement if they read it in an intelligence report. The root causes of fallacies and cognitive biases extend from errors of logic, miscalculation, over-generalization, inaccurate heuristics and human factors such as emotion. Alternatively, it is sometimes possible to avoid human error by employing formal statistical procedures.