NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Memory and Representativeness

Pedro Bordalo, Katherine Coffman, Nicola Gennaioli, Frederik Schwerter, Andrei Shleifer

NBER Working Paper No. 25692
Issued in March 2019
NBER Program(s):Technical Working Papers

We explore the idea that judgment by representativeness reflects the workings of episodic memory, especially interference. In a new laboratory experiment on cued recall, participants are shown two groups of images with different distributions of colors. We find that i) decreasing the frequency of a given color in one group significantly increases the recalled frequency of that color in the other group, ii) for a fixed set of images, different cues for the same objective distribution entail different interference patterns and different probabilistic assessments. Selective retrieval and interference may offer a foundation for the representativeness heuristic, but more generally for understanding the formation of probability judgments from experienced statistical associations.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25692

 
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