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People often assess the reasonableness of another person’s judgments. When doing so, the evaluator should set aside knowledge that would not have been available to the evaluatee to assess whether the evaluatee made a reasonable decision, given the available information. But under what circumstances does the evaluator set aside information? On the one hand, if the evaluator fails to set aside prior information, not available to the evaluatee, they exhibit belief bias. But on the other hand, when Bayesian inference is called for, the evaluator should generally incorporate prior knowledge about relevant probabilities in decision making. The present research integrated these two perspectives in two experiments. Participants were asked to take the perspective of a fictitious evaluatee and to evaluate the reasonableness of the evaluatee’s decision. The participant was privy to information that the fictitious evaluatee did not have. Specifically, the participant knew whether the evaluatee’s decision judgment was factually correct. Participants’ judgments were biased (Experiments 1 and 2) by the factuality of the conclusion as they assessed the evaluatee’s reasonableness. We also found that the format of information presentation (Experiment 2) influenced the degree to which participants’ reasonableness ratings were responsive to the evaluatee’s Bayesian rationality. Specifically, responsivity was greater when the information was presented in an icon-based, graphical, natural-frequency format than when presented in either a numerical natural-frequency format or a probability format. We interpreted the effects of format to suggest that graphical presentation can help organize information into nested sets, which in turn enhances Bayesian rationality.

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Copyright: © 2019. The authors license this article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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Judgment and Decision Making


The European Association for Decision Making

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