Zero-sum reasoning in information selection

AbstractRecent research (Pilditch, Fenton, & Lagnado, 2019) shows that people are susceptible to zero-sum thinking in evidence evaluation, where they dismiss or underweight the probative value of evidence that is equally predicted by multiple independent hypotheses. But such an assumption is only valid when explanations are mutually exclusive and exhaustive. The present work extends these findings by looking at the context of information selection, and the decisional consequences of the zero-sum fallacy. It uses an information metric to quantify the cost of the error in terms of overlooked information.

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