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Pugh, Kevin

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The current study examined whether two types of intervention reduced the "bias blind spot" (i.e., perceptions of others being more biased than one’s self) and whether the bias blind spot was related to culture, reasoning performance, and motivation. The design was a 2 (information: reading or not reading about the bias blind spot) x 2 (reflection reflecting on the effects of biases on other or non-relevant reflection) x 2 (priming: reasoning tasks completed before or after the interventions). Students (N = 193) from Western and Middle Eastern cultures participated online or in a class. In each condition, participants responded to several reasoning tasks and were later told the correct answers to the reasoning tasks. In the bias blind spot information condition, participants read about the bias blind spot and, specifically, were told most people believe they are less likely to commit cognitive biases than other people. In the reflection condition, participants were asked to write about possible consequences of the bias blind spot. Priming referred to whether the interventions were given before or after participants solved the reasoning problems. Analyses indicated that neither information nor reflection significantly reduced the bias blind spot. However, priming reduced the bias. When the reasoning tasks were presented before the interventions (priming condition), the bias blind spot was lower than when the tasks were presented after the interventions. Also, although reasoning performance failed to predict variation in the bias blind spot, motivation to be unbiased was predictive. Further, cultural differences were found: Middle Eastern students showed higher levels of the bias blind spot than did Western students. The findings from the current study might be useful in understanding potential factors that attenuate the bias blind spot and suggest culture as a variable worthy of further examination.


Bias blind spot, Cross-cultural, Debiasing, Middle East, Priming, Reflective intervention


160 pages

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