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Psychology: Judgments of Randomness in Binary Sequences - a Constructive Process

Individuals encounter many probabilistic events that they perceive as binary sequences of outcomes occuring over time. Examples for such binary sequences are black and red outcomes on roulette wheels, or ups and downs in the stock market. Such randomness judgments are the result of a constructive process, Dr. Sabine G. Scholl (University Mannheim/Germany) found.

Objectively identical binary sequences result in diverging randomness judgments due to the relative weight of intuitive-automatic and deliberative-controlled cognitive processes operating on the input from environment and memory. In this context the focus is on associative and constructive intuition. In five experiments Sabine Scholl demonstrated this constructive process.
"While decision times increased from the (associative) intuitive across the control to the deliberative condition, randomness judgments in all conditions were based on multiple cues. Randomness judgments exhibited negative recency, and the effect of alternation rate was contingent on maximum run length.
Most importantly, diverging randomness judgments of the associative intuitive, intuitive, deliberative, and control conditions could be demonstrated. In this context, it is important to distinguish between differences that are due to reliance on explicit versus implicit knowledge and differences that are due to deliberative-controlled processing of sequences per se ..."