Cognitive abilities, monitoring confidence, and control thresholds explain individual differences in heuristics and biases

Jackson, Simon A. and Kleitman, Sabina and Howie, Pauline and Stankov, Lazar (2016) Cognitive abilities, monitoring confidence, and control thresholds explain individual differences in heuristics and biases. Frontiers in Psychology, 7 (Article 1559). pp. 1-14.

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Abstract

In this paper, we investigate whether individual differences in performance on heuristic and biases tasks can be explained by cognitive abilities, monitoring confidence, and control thresholds. Current theories explain individual differences in these tasks by the ability to detect errors and override automatic but biased judgments, and deliberative cognitive abilities that help to construct the correct response. Here we retain cognitive abilities but disentangle error detection, proposing that lower monitoring confidence and higher control thresholds promote error checking. Participants (N = 250) completed tasks assessing their fluid reasoning abilities, stable monitoring confidence levels, and the control threshold they impose on their decisions. They also completed seven typical heuristic and biases tasks such as the cognitive reflection test and Resistance to Framing. Using structural equation modeling, we found that individuals with higher reasoning abilities, lower monitoring confidence, and higher control threshold performed significantly and, at times, substantially better on the heuristic and biases tasks. Individuals with higher control thresholds also showed lower preferences for risky alternatives in a gambling task. Furthermore, residual correlations among the heuristic and biases tasks were reduced to null, indicating that cognitive abilities, monitoring confidence, and control thresholds accounted for their shared variance. Implications include the proposal that the capacity to detect errors does not differ between individuals. Rather, individuals might adopt varied strategies that promote error checking to different degrees, regardless of whether they have made a mistake or not. The results support growing evidence that decision-making involves cognitive abilities that construct actions and monitoring and control processes that manage their initiation.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Access to published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2017 04:46
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2018 00:28
Uncontrolled Keywords: biases; cognitive abilities; confidence; control; decision-making; heuristics; metacognition
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1702 Cognitive Sciences > 170299 Cognitive Science not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01559
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/32796

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