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SUSCEPTIBILITY TO COGNITIVE BIASES
Cognitive biases, predictable deviations of cognitive processes' outcomes from
rational normatives, are examined in eight studies by using a methodological and
conceptual apparatus of differential psychology.
Anchoring effect, the common human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of
information offered, was the subject of the first study. Apart from confirming curvilinearity
of the anchor-distance function, results revealed that factor of fluid intelligence (gf) effects
this quadratic function in a way that more intelligent subjects have the same range of
plausible answers as other subjects, but they consider a wider range of anchor values as
plausible. Their response pattern can be perceived as a strategy of maintaining lower risk in
a wider range of values, which at the bivariate level results in the absence of correlation
between gf and anchoring effect. Direct gf effect on anchoring, observed in the conditions
of high cognitive reflection, speaks in favour of the assumption that, besides automatic
processes (selective accessibility), the anchoring effect is also influenced by serial processes
(insufficient adjustment), which is in compliance with the general notion of dual process
theories (DPT).
Belief bias, effect of the empirical status of a conclusion on the outcome of abstract
reasoning process, was the subject of the second study. Effect is consistently demonstrated
in four basic types of syllogism by a decline in achievement after introducing the conflict
between empirical and logical conclusion statuses. In compliance with DPT expectations,
gf predicts individual differences in the subjects’ achievements when plausibility and
validity of conclusion are in conflict, but not when there is a concurrence between them. In
the same conditions, the measures of a cognitive reflection incrementally contribute to the
(explanation) of the achievement variance, which can also be understood as a confirmation
of the assumption that individual differences in rational reasoning cannot be reduced to
intelligence.
People’s systematic tendency of overestimating their own abilities is traditionally
expressed through the score of difference between subjective and objective probability of
giving correct answers, namely the overconfidence effect. In order to avoid an objection about
the algebra origin of bias measure in the scores of achievement (intelligence), the third
study empirically investigates alternative measures. Results show that achievement
estimations of more intelligent subjects are more discriminative, particularly that the more