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The ‘true probability’ problem

Phillips, Lawrence D. (1970) The ‘true probability’ problem. Acta Psychologica, 34. pp. 254-264. ISSN 0001-6918

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Identification Number: 10.1016/0001-6918(70)90021-1


As scientists and as technologists we should discard the idea of a ‘true’ or ‘objective’ probability. Instead, we should think of probability judgements as the result of an individual's feelings of uncertainty, translated into a numercial response by internal decision processes. Many factors, both internal and external to the assessor, may influence the feelings of uncertainty, or the decision processes, or both. From this point of view, a probability cannot be wrong; it can, however, be more or less related to stimulus or task characteristics, and it can to varying degrees be affected by memory and cognitive processes, prior experience and information, social and cultural norms, personality, and cognitive styles. In some applied settings it may be desirable to train assessors to base their judgements only on certain factors, and to the extent that we agree on these factors it is possible to assess the relative ‘goodness’ of assessors. But effective training can be designed only when we know how these factors influence the naive person's judgements. This should be one focus for future research.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 1970 North-Holland Publishing Company
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
Sets: Research centres and groups > Management Science Group
Departments > Management
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2010 15:46
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2021 10:51

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