Title page for ETD etd-02202015-161715

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Acklin, Dina
Author's Email Address dina.acklin@gmail.com
URN etd-02202015-161715
Title Cognitive bias and learning from experience: Reflective processes for reducing bias
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Mathews, Robert Committee Chair
Elliott, Emily Committee Member
Lane, Sean Committee Member
  • heuristics
  • confirmation bias
  • decision making
Date of Defense 2014-12-17
Availability unrestricted
While heuristic processing is often useful for quickly ascertaining information in everyday situations, it can lead to inaccuracies when task demands become complex and more systematic processing is required. These inaccuracies are often the result of confirmation bias, in which information that is consistent with our beliefs is noted at the expense of disconfirming evidence. The current decision making literature suggests that highlighting disconfirming evidence termed negative feedback - might work to engage deliberate, systematic cognitive processes that lead to more accurate information acquisition. Using a probabilistic learning task where feedback is not consistently accurate (Matchmaker), the first experiment in this study will attempt to overcome confirmation bias by encouraging initial hypotheses to be considered from confirming and disconfirming vantages. It is proposed that errors resulting from bias will thus be made more salient and the testing of alternative solutions will be encouraged, resulting in greater accuracy. A second experiment will explore the cognitive processes involved in bias strengthening and determine if warnings of feedback error alter the way in which information is interpreted.
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