Past Event

Andrei Shleifer - Memory and Representativeness

February 25, 2020
4:15 PM - 5:30 PM
Columbia Business School, Uris Hall, 3022 Broadway, New York, NY 10027 (Room 142)

We explore the idea that judgment by representativeness reflects the workings of episodic memory, especially interference. In a new laboratory experiment on cued recall, participants are shown two groups of images with different distributions of colors. We find that i) decreasing the frequency of a given color in one group significantly increases the recalled frequency of that color in the other group, ii) for a fixed set of images, different cues for the same objective distribution entail different interference patterns and different probabilistic assessments. Selective retrieval and interference may offer a foundation for the representativeness heuristic, but more generally for understanding the formation of probability judgments from experienced statistical associations.


Andrei Shleifer
John L. Loeb Professor of Economics, Harvard University

This event is part of the Cognition and Decision Seminar Series, which brings together scholars from economics, psychology, neuroscience and other fields who are united by an interest in the cognitive mechanisms involved in decision making and related behavior, and the ways in which a better understanding of these mechanisms can lead to more accurate models of human behavior and more effective public policies.

The Cognition and Decision Seminar Series is sponsored by the Program for Economic Research and the Center for Decision Science. Registration is required.