Problem Solving Prerequisites to Bayesian Reasoning

Solving Bayesian reasoning problems requires correctly identifying, computing, and applying values from the problem text to the solution. Identification refers to understanding the intended meaning of the values. Computation refers to the mathematical manipulation of those values. Application goes one-step further by utilizing those identified and/or computed values in the solution. We evaluated performance on eight Bayesian reasoning problems using probing questions that separate out the extent to which uninitiated reasoners can identify, compute, and apply values from problem to solution. The results suggest that reasoners are generally proficient at identifying values, but struggle with computation and application.