SEQUENTIAL INFORMATION SEEKING: EFFECTS OF THE NUMBER OF TERMINAL ACTS AND PRIOR INFORMATION
NORTH CAROLINA UNIV AT CHAPEL HILL PSYCHOMETRIC LAB
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An experiment was conducted by means of a digital computer in which 54 human Ss were faced with the task of sampling from a hypothetical binomial universe in which a proportion, p, of all observations were top quality. Ss sampled the universe sequentially, stopping after some number of observations had been made to make a terminal decision by selecting the one of the Ss mutually exclusive and exhaustive subsets of the unit interval which S believed contained p. The four experimental treatments were defined by the four combinations of the two decision partitions of the unit interval, one involving 3 possible terminal acts, the other having 5 alternatives, and the two prior frequency distributions, one a rectangular distribution over 0 - 1, the other being negatively skewed. Analysis of variance of the number of predecision observations taken indicated a significant individual differences b significant S by treatment interactions c differences attributable to the decision partitions with more observations being taken in the 5-act case than in the 3-act case and d no effect of prior frequency distributions, but a tendency to take more observations in the second 16 trials than in the first 16.
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