Galesic, M; Goode, AW; Wallsten, TS; Norman, KL

The representativeness heuristic suggests that similarity judgments provide a basis for judgments of likelihood. We use Tversky's (1977) contrast model of similarity to design tests of this underlying mechanism. If similarity is used to judge likelihood, factors that are known to affect similarity should also affect judgments of likelihood. In two experiments, we manipulated two such factors described in the contrast model of similarity: the nature of the task and context effects. In a between-subject design, respondents assessed either similarity of fictive citizens of 15th century Florence, or the likelihood that they belonged to the same family. The factors that affected similarity also affected the likelihood judgments. These results support the assumption that similarity is an important contributor to judgments of likelihood.