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Cognitive sophistication does not attenuate the bias blind spot

PainSci » bibliography » West et al 2012
updated
Tags: random, critical thinking, mind

One article on PainSci cites West 2012: Confirmation Bias

PainSci commentary on West 2012: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

This paper is the scientific version of the classic Richard Feynman quote: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself & you are the easiest person to fool.” It presents evidence that intelligence makes you better at fooling yourself: “none of these bias blind spots were attenuated by measures of cognitive sophistication such as cognitive ability or thinking dispositions related to bias. If anything, a larger bias blind spot was associated with higher cognitive ability.”

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

The so-called bias blind spot arises when people report that thinking biases are more prevalent in others than in themselves. Bias turns out to be relatively easy to recognize in the behaviors of others, but often difficult to detect in one's own judgments. Most previous research on the bias blind spot has focused on bias in the social domain. In 2 studies, we found replicable bias blind spots with respect to many of the classic cognitive biases studied in the heuristics and biases literature (e.g., Tversky & Kahneman, 1974). Further, we found that none of these bias blind spots were attenuated by measures of cognitive sophistication such as cognitive ability or thinking dispositions related to bias. If anything, a larger bias blind spot was associated with higher cognitive ability. Additional analyses indicated that being free of the bias blind spot does not help a person avoid the actual classic cognitive biases. We discuss these findings in terms of a generic dual-process theory of cognition.

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