Graininess of Judgment Under Uncertainty: An Accuracy-Informativeness Trade-Off

Ilan Yaniv*, Dean P. Foster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

182 Scopus citations


This work concerns judgmental estimation of quantities under uncertainty. The authors suggest that the "graininess" or precision of uncertain judgments involves a trade-off between 2 competing objectives: accuracy and informativeness. Coarse (imprecise) judgments are less informative than finely grained judgments; however, they are likely to be more accurate. This trade-off was examined in 3 studies in which participants ranked judgmental estimates in order of preference. The patterns of preference ranking for judgments support an additive trade-off model of accuracy and informativeness. The authors suggest that this trade-off also characterizes other types of uncertain judgments, such as prediction, categorization, and diagnosis.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)424-432
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1995


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