Effects of Strategy and Rule Complexity on Multivariable Inductive Judgments

Abstract

We investigated the effects of strategy use and rule complexity on multivariable inductive judgments. Participants (N=274) made judgments about which of two cars presented on a computer screen was faster. Participants were randomly assigned to a complex rule or a simple rule. For the complex rule, three of five variables affected speed; for the simple rule one variable affected speed. Participants were instructed to make explicit (try to discover the rules governing speed) or implicit (speeded intuitive) judgments for 300 trials with feedback. A 2 (complexity) x 2 (strategy instruction) ANOVA revealed main effects of complexity, F(1,270)=6.17, p=.014, and task instruction, F(1,270)=11.69, p=.001, and a significant interaction, F(1,270)=7.38, p=.007. The explicit strategy led to better performance for the simple rule only, but no differences were found for the implicit strategy. These findings run counter to recent work showing an advantage for implicit processing of complex rules (Zimmerman & Pretz, 2012).


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