Fuzzy-Trace Theory And Risky-Choice Framing: An Individual Differences Approach

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The three chapters in this dissertation discuss and test fuzzy-trace theory's account of riskychoice framing effects. This account predicts that risky-choice framing effects occur because of reliance on meaningful, categorical gist representations as opposed to rote, verbatim representations. The second chapter reviews fuzzy-trace theory's account of decision making from a developmental and memory perspective. This chapter covers the main principles of fuzzy-trace theory, including independent verbatim and gist representations, the development of these memory processes, task calibration, and the fuzzy-processing preference. This chapter also presents evidence that supports increasing reliance on gist with expertise, by covering work that demonstrated larger framing effects among intelligence agents as compared to college students. Finally, the chapter makes theoretical and empirical connections between the role of gist in framing and its role in false memory. The third chapter tests mechanisms hypothesized to underlie within-subject risky-choice framing effects. Within-subject framing effects occur when an individual demonstrates a preference reversal across both gain and loss frames. This chapter examines the role of the goal of cognitive consistency in framing, discovering that activation of this goal encourages subjects to remain more consistent with the initially presented frame. Second, this chapter shows that higher numeracy predicts smaller within-subject framing i whereas higher categorical gist thinking predicts larger framing effects, despite the fact that both measures correlate positively with each other. Finally, we show how true and false memory relate to within-subject framing, with acceptance of targets (representing individual differences in verbatim processing) supporting resistance to framing and false memory (representing individual differences in gist-based "false" memory) supporting larger framing effects. The fourth chapter compares traditional dual-process theories' predictions to those of fuzzy-trace theory regarding the roles of decision confidence and memory for numerical problem information in predicting between-subject framing effects. Whereas traditional dual-process theories predict that framing effects occur because of reliance on fast, associative processes, fuzzy-trace theory predicts -and results confirm-- that framing effects are due to meaningful gist-based intuition. ii
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Risky-Choice Framing; Judgment and Decision Making; Fuzzy-Trace Theory
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Russo,J. Edward
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Developmental Psychology
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Ph. D., Developmental Psychology
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Doctor of Philosophy
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dissertation or thesis
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