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Augmenting Principle

 

Explanations > Theories > Augmenting Principle

Description | Research | Example | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

When making a decision, each piece of evidence we glean will add in some way towards our decision. But when does additional evidence have a disproportionate effect?

Evidence has a disproportionate incremental effect when it is unexpected, when it goes against what is normal. 

The discounting principle works in the opposite way, when we ignore evidence that we expected. 

Example

A person who gets a high grade in a university history examination may be considered clever. But if you are told that the person is only 16, you may well consider them extremely clever. And  if they were already a professor, you would be singularly unimpressed.  

So What?

Using it

When giving evidence to support an argument, include surprises.

Defending

If you are surprised by an argument, wonder why. Are they trying deliberately to shock you in to a decision?

See also

Discounting, Expectancy Violations Theory

References

Baron and Byrne (1997), Kelley (1972)

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