Assessing Cognitive Biases in Judgment and Decision Making for Higher Education and Workforce Applications
Thursday, May 22, 2014,
4:00 PM - 5:20 PM
Although cognitive biases have been studied for decades, there have been few attempts to examine individual differences in bias measures and develop assessments that provide reliable, fair, and valid individual scores. This symposium will focus on challenges and recent advances in measuring individual differences in cognitive biases and applied research.In recent decades, there has been growing consensus among social scientists around the view that people often rely on mental shortcuts, known as heuristics, to help them make judgments and decisions quickly and efficiently. Generally, these heuristics lead to accurate judgments and decisions. In certain circumstances, however, these heuristics can bias problem solving and decision making such that errors are produced that may have serious consequences (e.g., adverse health outcomes resulting from incorrect medical diagnoses). As such, the potential influence of biases in judgment and decision making has been a topic of interest in wide variety of fields, including economics, law enforcement, medicine, education, and intelligence analysis. Despite the widely recognized presence and influence of heuristics and biases on behavior, little attention to has been devoted to examining individual differences in biased reasoning. Several researchers have reported evidence that certain measures of bias may be related to cognitive ability, mood, motivation, and personality. In addition, there is growing demand in the public and private sectors for developing effective training interventions for mitigating biases. Given an interest in developing effective bias mitigation techniques and the likelihood that individuals differ in the extent to which they exhibit bias in judgment and decision making, a standardized assessment of cognitive bias that provides reliable, fair, and valid individual scores for educational and workforce applications could prove to be a valuable diagnostic tool. The aim of this symposium is to present a novel online assessment tool, the Assessment of Biases in Cognition (ABC), which consists of new item types measuring three cognitive biases—confirmation bias, fundamental attribution error, and the bias blind spot, and to discuss the potential for such a tool to further educational and workforce assessment. This symposium will begin with brief introductory remarks from our chair addressing the state of the literature on cognitive bias, followed by presentations that focus on 1) the composition and psychometric properties of the ABC; 2) the process and implications of translating experimental laboratory paradigms used to measure confirmation bias into assessment items; 3) the potential benefits and limitations of using item response theory to investigate individual differences in the three cognitive biases; and 4) applications of the ABC in studies evaluating the effectiveness of bias mitigation techniques in higher education and workforce populations.