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Dealing with statistical information and reasoning under uncertainty

Reasoning on probabilities and proportions

Most statistical problems encountered throughout life require the ability to quantify probabilities based on proportions. Recent findings on the early ontogeny of this ability have been mixed. To address these ambiguous findings, we tested whether 12-month-olds and 3- and 4-years-olds rely on proportions of objects to  estimate probabilities of random sampling events using identical methods across age groups and similar methods to previous studies.

Simple heuristics and statistical inferences from populations to samples

Human infants, apes and capuchin monkeys engage in intuitive statistics: they generate predictions from populations of objects to samples based on proportional information. We investigated whether intuitive statistical reasoning is also present in long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis), a catarrhine monkey.

Risky decision making

In this project, we investigate risky decision-making in long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) in a classic risky choice paradigm: The monkeys can choose between a “safe option” that always yields a medium amount of food and a “risky option” with different possible outcomes. We are particularly interested in whether risky decision making is affected by the level of risk that the monkey encounters and whether it matters who gives out the rewards.

Statistical information from repeated types of events

In this project, we investigated whether long-tailed macaques extract statistical information from repeated types of events to make predictions under uncertainty.

Involved Lab members

Julia Fischer, Stefanie Keupp, Marie Padberg, Sara Plací, Rowan Titchener

Associated publications

Placì S, Fischer J, Rakoczy H (2020)
Do infants and preschoolers quantify probabilities based on proportions?
Royal Society Open Science 7(9): 191751  - DOI -

Placì S, Padberg M, Rakoczy H, Fischer J (2019)
Long-tailed macaques extract statistical information from repeated types of events to make rational decisions under uncertainty
Scientific Reports 9: 12107  - open access -

Placì S, Eckert J, Rakoczy H, Fischer J (2018)
Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) can use simple heuristics but fail at drawing statistical inferences from populations to samples
Royal Society Open Science 5(9): 181025  - DOI -