Article #15
2000
 
 
 
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The Use of Configural Information in Multi-Cue Judgments by Individuals and Groups

Scott Tindale
Chicago, IL

Here is an abstract for a talk I am giving at the Judgment and Decision Making Society meeting this year in New Orleans - a similar paper will be a poster at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology meeting in February. My co-authors are Elisabeth Anderson, Amanda Dykema-Engblade, Helen Meisenhelder, Catherine Munier, and Andrea Krebel.

Research has shown that groups tend to out-perform individuals in terms of accuracy on multi-cue judgment tasks. Research has also shown that configural information (information imbedded in the pattern of the cues, i.e., interaction effects) is more difficult to learn from feedback than is information associated with the simple cue-criterion relations. However, over trials, individuals do learn to use configural information.

This study compared individuals and groups in their ability to learn to use configural information. Individuals and groups rated 60 job candidates based on two pieces of information. They received accuracy feedback after each judgment. Two types of configural information were addressed: disjunctive (best score is more important) and conjunctive (worst score is more important). Two job types were used: math tutor and computer analyst. The job and cue descriptions were designed to produce expectations of either a disjunctive or conjunctive relation between the cues and criterion.

Results indicated that groups outperformed individuals but that they were no better than individuals at using the configural information. Conjunctive information was easier to learn than disjunctive information, particularly when strong conjunctive expectations were in place. The superiority of groups appears to stem from their more consistent use of the linear cue-criterion relations as compared to individuals.

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