Evaluating three criteria for establishing cue-search hierarchies in inferential judgment

Tim Rakow*, Ben R. Newell, Kathryn Fayers, Mette Hersby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The authors identify and provide an integration of 3 criteria for establishing cue-search hierarchies in inferential judgment. Cues can be ranked by information value according to expected information gain (Bayesian criterion), cue-outcome correlation (correlational criterion), or ecological validity (accuracy criterion). All criteria significantly predicted information acquisition behavior; however, in 3 experiments, the most successful predictor was the correlational criterion (followed by the Bayesian). Although participants showed sensitivity to task constraints, searching for less information when it was more expensive (Experiment 1) and when under time constraints (Experiment 2), concomitant changes in the relative frequency of acquisition of cues with different information values were not observed. A rational analysis illustrates why such changes in the frequency of acquisition would be beneficial, and reasons for the failure to observe such behavior are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1088-1104
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005


  • Cue search
  • Fast-and-frugal
  • Heuristics
  • Inference
  • Information acquisition


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