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The Pros and Cons of Expertise: Routine Strength and Adaptation in Recurrent Acquisition and Disposal Decisions

Tilmann Betsch (), Susanne Haberstroh (), Andreas Glöckner () and Klaus Fiedler ()
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Tilmann Betsch: Universität Heidelberg/ Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Postal: Hauptstr. 47-51, 69117 Heidelberg
Susanne Haberstroh: Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Postal: L 13, 15, D-68131 Mannheim
Andreas Glöckner: Universität Heidelberg, Postal: Hauptstraße 47-51, 69117 Heidelberg
Klaus Fiedler: Sonderforschungsbereich 504/ Universität Heidelberg, Postal: Hauptstraße 47-51, 69117 Heidelberg

No 99-06, Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications from Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim

Abstract: The strength of decision routines was manipulated within a computer controlled micro-world simulation which required that participants make recurrent acquisition and disposal decisions. One week after having learned weak or strong routines, participants were confronted with changes in this micro- world that rendered the routine obsolete. The duration of routine maintenance was assessed as a dependent variable. The decision task was characterized by the lack of any constraints. Participants wre free to consider new evidence that reliably indicated the inadequacy of the routine. Results show that routines can overrule new evidence if they are strong (i.e. have been repeated frequently in the past), yielding delays in adaptive routine deviation. This, however, did not lead to maladaptive behavior in the long run, which indicates that strong routine participants profit from higher expertise compared to weak routine participants. Results are discussed with reference to theories which embody assumptions about the interaction between prior knowledge and new evidence on decision making.

Pages: 51 pages
Date: 1998-01-09
Note: Financial Support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 504, at the University of Mannheim, is gratefully acknowledged.
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