Predicting Outcomes in a Sequence of Binary Events: Belief Updating and Gambler's Fallacy Reasoning

Kariyushi Rao & Reid Hastie
We report on six experiments studying participants’ predictions of the next outcome in a sequence of binary events. Participants faced one of three mechanisms generating 18 sequences of 8 events: a random mechanical bingo cage, an intentional goal-directed actor, and a financial market. We systematically manipulated participants’ beliefs about the base rate probabilities at which different types of outcomes were generated by each mechanism. Participants either faced unknown (ambiguous) base rates, a specified distribution of...
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