Supersymmetry Principle


SUPPORT THEORY. The Israeli-born American cognitive psychologist Amos Tver-sky (1937-1996) and his colleagues (e.g., Derek J. Koehler, Lyle A. Brenner, and Yuval Rottenstreich) formulated a theory of subjective probability, called support theory, according to which different descriptions of the same event can give rise to different judgments. Experimental data confirms the major predictions of the theory: judged probability increases by "unpacking" the focal hypothesis and decreases by "unpacking" the alternative hypothesis; judged probabilities are complementary in the binary case and subadditive in the general case (contrary to both classical and revisionist models of belief); and subadditivity is more pronounced for probability judgments than for frequency judgments and is enhanced (enhancement effect) by compatible evidence. The background rationale of support theory is that the study of intuitive probability judgment shows that people often do not follow the ex-tensional logic of probability theory (e.g., the suggestion that 1,000 people will die in an earthquake may appear to be more likely than a more inclusive event, such as 1,000 people will die in a natural disaster). The nonexten-sional support theory of belief attaches subjective probability not to events (as in other models), but to descriptions of events, called hypotheses. According to support theory, each hypothesis (A) has a "support value" [s(A)], corresponding to the strength of the evidence for this hypothesis. The judged probability [p(A,B)] that hypothesis A rather than B holds, assuming that one and only one of them obtains, is given by: p(A,B)=s(A)/s(A)+s(B). Thus, judged probability is interpreted in terms of the "support" of the focal hypothesis A relative to the alternative hypothesis B. The key assumption of support theory is that "unpacking" a description of an event (e.g., a plane crash, C) into disjoint components (e.g., an accidental plane crash, Ca, caused by human error or mechanical failure, or a nonacci-dental plane crash, Cn, caused by sabotage or terrorism) generally increases its support. Thus, the "support" of the explicit disjunction Ca v Cn is equal to, or greater than, the support of the implicit disjunction C that does not mention any causes. The two premises for this rationale are: "unpacking" an implicit hypothesis may remind people of possibilities they might have overlooked; and the explicit mention of a possibility tends to increase its salience and, thereby, its perceived "support" (cf., theory of belief - proposes that uncertainty has two dimensions with various interpretations; for instance, "probability" versus "definiteness;" Narens, 2003). See also DECISION-MAKING THEORIES. REFERENCES

Tversky, A., & Koehler, D. J. (1994). Support theory: A nonextensional representation of subjective probability. Psychological Review, 101, 547-567.

(1997). The enhancement effect in probability judgment. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 10, 293-313.

Rottenstreich, Y., & Tversky, A. (1997). Unpacking, repacking, and anchoring: Advances in support theory. Psychological Review, 104, 406-415. Narens, L. (2003). A theory of belief. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 47, 131.



SURPRISE THEORIES OF HUMOR. The surprise theories of humor are characterized, generally, by unexpectedness/surprise, shock, or suddenness in cognitions or perceptions where such elements are considered by many humor theorists to be necessary (though not necessarily sufficient) conditions for the humor experience. The concepts of "surprise" and "incongruity" overlap, often, in which there is an instantaneous breaking up of the normal routine course of ideation, thought, or action. See also ARISTOTLE'S THEORY OF HUMOR; DESCARTES' THEORY OF HUMOR/LAUGHTER; HARTLEY'S THEORY OF HUMOR/LAUGHTER; HOBBES' THEORY OF HUMOR/LAUGHTER; HUMOR, THEORIES OF; INCONGRUITY/INCONSISTENCY THEORIES OF HUMOR. REFERENCE

Roeckelein, J. E. (2002). The psychology of humor. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.


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