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Cluster Illusion

Student: Olga Sternik

Supervisor: Tadamasa Sawada

Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences

Educational Programme: Psychology (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2020

Judging randomness is crucial for rational decision-making in many fields. It has been reported in several studies that people’s intuitive notion of randomness is biased. However, most of empirical studies are based either on Bernoulli trials or on strings of numbers. Two-dimensional (2D) stimuli are rarely used, despite them allowing for easier control of randomness and making the task more challenging. It is still unclear if the bias manifests itself differently in 1D and 2D perception. The aims of this study were to review recent studies on perception and production of randomness and to test perceived randomness of 2D patterns using psychophysical methods. The results state that the illusion significantly alters the ability to estimate scatter plots and that the number of dots on a graph sometimes influences the accuracy of judgments. Keywords: perception of randomness, clustering illusion, cognitive bias

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