Base-rate respect: From ecological rationality to dual processes

Aron K. Barbey, Steven A. Sloman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The phenomenon of base-rate neglect has elicited much debate. One arena of debate concerns how people make judgments under conditions of uncertainty. Another more controversial arena concerns human rationality. In this target article, we attempt to unpack the perspectives in the literature on both kinds of issues and evaluate their ability to explain existing data and their conceptual coherence. From this evaluation we conclude that the best account of the data should be framed in terms of a dual-process model of judgment, which attributes base-rate neglect to associative judgment strategies that fail to adequately represent the set structure of the problem. Base-rate neglect is reduced when problems are presented in a format that affords accurate representation in terms of nested sets of individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-254
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Base-rate neglect
  • Bayesian reasoning
  • Dual process theory
  • Nested set hypothesis
  • Probability judgment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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