Abstract of a paper titled "Belief Bias Effect in Older Adults: Roles of Working Memory and Need for Cognition":
"Belief bias is the tendency in syllogistic reasoning to rely on prior beliefs rather than to fully obey logical principles. Few studies have investigated the age effect on belief bias. Although several studies have recently begun to explore this topic, little is known about the psychological mechanisms underlying such an effect. Accordingly, we investigated belief bias in older and young adults and explored the roles of working memory (WM) and need for cognition (NFC) in the relationship between age and reasoning performance. We found that older adults showed a lower accuracy rate compared with young adults when conclusion believability and logical validity were incongruent. However, older adults showed a higher accuracy rate compared with young adults when conclusion believability and logical validity were congruent. The results indicated that in comparison with young adults, prior beliefs hampered logical reasoning more significantly in older adults under incongruent conditions and boosted logical reasoning more significantly under congruent conditions. Moreover, the logic index in older adults was significantly lower than in young adults, and the interaction index of believability and validity in older adults was significantly below zero. Furthermore, NFC mediated the age effect on reasoning performance under the two conditions. By contrast, WM mediated the age effect on reasoning performance only under incongruent conditions and did not act as a mediator under congruent conditions."
Abstract of a paper titled "Crafting Our Own Biased Media Diets: The Effects of Confirmation, Source, and Negativity Bias on Selective Attendance to Online News":
"Audiences’ online information acquisition has raised questions about the nature of selective exposure in today’s high-choice and fragmented news environment. To offer an overview of the relative contribution of several key drivers of selective exposure to political news, we assess the guiding influence of (1) confirmation bias, (2) source bias, and (3) negativity bias. The findings of an experiment in two countries (UK and US, N = 858), demonstrate that confirmation bias has the most profound effect on selective exposure into news on immigration and the privatization of health-care systems, in conjunction with comparable and significant effects of source and negativity biases. The studied moderating role of preexisting levels of involvement and skepticism provides additional insights into news selection mechanisms. We conclude that today’s online media diets are guided by different biases, which may fragment audiences based on their news preferences and issue positions."
Abstract of a paper titled "On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit":
"Although bullshit is common in everyday life and has attracted attention from philosophers, its reception (critical or ingenuous) has not, to our knowledge, been subject to empirical investigation. Here we focus on pseudo-profound bullshit, which consists of seemingly impressive assertions that are presented as true and meaningful but are actually vacuous. We presented participants with bullshit statements consisting of buzzwords randomly organized into statements with syntactic structure but no discernible meaning (e.g., “Wholeness quiets infinite phenomena”). Across multiple studies, the propensity to judge bullshit statements as profound was associated with a variety of conceptually relevant variables (e.g., intuitive cognitive style, supernatural belief). Parallel associations were less evident among profundity judgments for more conventionally profound (e.g., “A wet person does not fear the rain”) or mundane (e.g., “Newborn babies require constant attention”) statements. These results support the idea that some people are more receptive to this type of bullshit and that detecting it is not merely a matter of indiscriminate skepticism but rather a discernment of deceptive vagueness in otherwise impressive sounding claims. Our results also suggest that a bias toward accepting statements as true may be an important component of pseudo-profound bullshit receptivity."
Abstract of a paper titled "Cross-national evidence of a negativity bias in psychophysiological reactions to news"
"News coverage of current affairs is predominantly negative. American accounts of this tendency tend to focus on journalistic practices, but this cannot easily account for negative news content around the world. It is more likely that negativity in news is a product of a human tendency to be more attentive to negative news content. Just how widespread is this tendency? Our evidence suggest that, all around the world, the average human is more physiologically activated by negative than by positive news stories. Even so, there is a great deal of variation across individuals. The latter finding is of real significance for newsmakers: Especially in a diversified media environment, news producers should not underestimate the audience for positive news content."
Abstract of a paper titled "The Heart Trumps the Head: Desirability Bias in Political Belief Revision":
"Understanding how individuals revise their political beliefs has important implications for society. In a preregistered study (N = 900), we experimentally separated the predictions of 2 leading theories of human belief revision—desirability bias and confirmation bias—in the context of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Participants indicated who they desired to win, and who they believed would win, the election. Following confrontation with evidence that was either consistent or inconsistent with their desires or beliefs, they again indicated who they believed would win. We observed a robust desirability bias—individuals updated their beliefs more if the evidence was consistent (vs. inconsistent) with their desired outcome. This bias was independent of whether the evidence was consistent or inconsistent with their prior beliefs. In contrast, we found limited evidence of an independent confirmation bias in belief updating. These results have implications for the relevant psychological theories and for political belief revision in practice."
Abstract of a paper titled "How to Get Rid of the Belief Bias: Boosting Analytical Thinking via Pragmatics":
"The previous research attempts to reduce the influence of the belief bias on deductive thinking have often been unsuccessful and, when they succeeded, they failed to replicate. In this paper, we propose a new way to see an old problem. Instead of considering the analytical abilities of the respondent, we focus on the communicative characteristics of the experimental task. By changing the pragmatics into play through a subtle manipulation of the instruction of the syllogism problem, we obtained a strong improvement in the accuracy of the performance in both untrained and trained in logic respondents. We suggest that current models of deductive thinking should be broadened to consider also communicative understanding as part of the processing of the problem."