Question Format and Representations:
Do Heuristics and Biases Apply
to Statistics Students?
Jennifer J. Kaplan
Michigan State University
Kansas State University
Researchers in the field of psychology studying subjects’ reasoning abilities and decision-making processes have identified certain common errors that are made, particularly on probability questions standard in introductory statistics courses. In addition, they have identified modifications to problems and training that promote normative reasoning in laboratory subjects. This study attempts to replicate, in the context of a statistics classroom, the results of one particular type of probability question, a two-stage conditional probability problem. The psychology literature suggests two possible implications for teaching probability. Although no effect for format modification was found, the representations training effects were replicated. The implications of these results for teaching and directions for future research are discussed.
Keywords: Statistics education research; Probability; Representations; Question format
Ó International Association for Statistical Education (IASE/ISI), November, 2009
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JENNIFER J. KAPLAN
443 Wells Hall
Department of Statistics and Probability
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824