Judgment: a cognitive processing perspective


Correspondence to: pachur@mpib-berlin.mpg.de


Historically, judgment research has been mainly concerned with identifying regularities in sensation (e.g., discriminability laws) and assessing judgment accuracy. More recently, the focus has shifted toward specifying the information processing mechanisms underlying judgment and modeling them, for example, as cognitive strategies. We contrast this strategy approach with previous prominent research programs on judgment and provide an overview of various process-level accounts that have been proposed in terms of computational models (e.g., compensatory and noncompensatory cue-abstraction strategies, evidence accumulation, exemplar processing, and parallel constraint satisfaction). Importantly, empirical investigations show that the cognitive processes underlying judgment differ considerably as a function of the individual's cognitive capacity and characteristics of the task environment (e.g., information cost, cognitive capacity, cue inter-correlations, relationship between cues and the to-be-judged criterion). We argue that these systematic contingencies in strategy use can be understood as adaptive responses to costs in learning, information acquisition, and strategy execution. WIREs Cogn Sci 2013, 4:665–681. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1259

Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article

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