Decision making under uncertain categorization

Stephanie Y. Chen, Brian H. Ross, Gregory L. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two experiments investigated how category information is used in decision making under uncertainty and whether the framing of category information influences how it is used. Subjects were presented with vignettes in which the categorization of a critical item was ambiguous and were asked to choose among a set of actions with the goal of attaining the desired outcome for the main character in the story. The normative decision making strategy was to base the decision on all possible categories; however, research on a related topic, category-based induction, has found that people often only consider a single category when making predictions when categorization is uncertain. These experiments found that subjects tend to consider multiple categories when making decisions, but do so both when it is and is not appropriate, suggesting that use of multiple categories is not driven by an understanding of whether categories are relevant to the decision. Similarly, although a framing manipulation increased the rate of multiple-category use, it did so in situations in which multiple-category use both was and was not appropriate

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberArticle 991
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberAUG
StatePublished - 2014


  • Categories
  • Category-based induction
  • Decision making
  • Framing
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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