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      An indirect debiasing method: Priming a target attribute reduces judgmental biases in likelihood estimations

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      PLoS ONE

      Public Library of Science

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          Abstract

          Understanding the underlying psychological process that leads to a bias is crucial for developing remedies to correct or reduce the bias. As one of the psychological processes that underlie judgmental biases, attribute substitution provides an explanation as to why people rely on heuristics and commit judgmental biases. Attribute substitution occurs when people make a judgment that requires the use of a target attribute, but make the judgment using a heuristic attribute that comes more readily to mind. This substitution inevitably introduces systematic errors because these two attributes are different. The current work explores an indirect debiasing method—the priming of a target attribute. Across three experiments, we demonstrate that priming a target attribute in prior tasks reduces judgmental biases in likelihood estimations: ratio-bias and base-rate neglect. However, this outcome only occurs when participants have enough cognitive resources. When they experience cognitive load, the priming of the target attribute does not reduce their judgmental biases.

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          Most cited references 57

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          Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases.

           A Tversky,  D Kahneman (1974)
          This article described three heuristics that are employed in making judgements under uncertainty: (i) representativeness, which is usually employed when people are asked to judge the probability that an object or event A belongs to class or process B; (ii) availability of instances or scenarios, which is often employed when people are asked to assess the frequency of a class or the plausibility of a particular development; and (iii) adjustment from an anchor, which is usually employed in numerical prediction when a relevant value is available. These heuristics are highly economical and usually effective, but they lead to systematic and predictable errors. A better understanding of these heuristics and of the biases to which they lead could improve judgements and decisions in situations of uncertainty.
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            Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales.

            In recent studies of the structure of affect, positive and negative affect have consistently emerged as two dominant and relatively independent dimensions. A number of mood scales have been created to measure these factors; however, many existing measures are inadequate, showing low reliability or poor convergent or discriminant validity. To fill the need for reliable and valid Positive Affect and Negative Affect scales that are also brief and easy to administer, we developed two 10-item mood scales that comprise the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). The scales are shown to be highly internally consistent, largely uncorrelated, and stable at appropriate levels over a 2-month time period. Normative data and factorial and external evidence of convergent and discriminant validity for the scales are also presented.
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              A perspective on judgment and choice: mapping bounded rationality.

              Early studies of intuitive judgment and decision making conducted with the late Amos Tversky are reviewed in the context of two related concepts: an analysis of accessibility, the ease with which thoughts come to mind; a distinction between effortless intuition and deliberate reasoning. Intuitive thoughts, like percepts, are highly accessible. Determinants and consequences of accessibility help explain the central results of prospect theory, framing effects, the heuristic process of attribute substitution, and the characteristic biases that result from the substitution of nonextensional for extensional attributes. Variations in the accessibility of rules explain the occasional corrections of intuitive judgments. The study of biases is compatible with a view of intuitive thinking and decision making as generally skilled and successful.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: InvestigationRole: MethodologyRole: SupervisionRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                7 March 2019
                2019
                : 14
                : 3
                Affiliations
                Department of Marketing, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University, Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America
                Loughborough University, UNITED KINGDOM
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Article
                PONE-D-17-42093
                10.1371/journal.pone.0212609
                6405187
                30845187
                © 2019 Kelly Kiyeon Lee

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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                Figures: 3, Tables: 0, Pages: 13
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                Funding
                The authors received no specific funding for this work.
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                All data are available on the Open Science Framework at DOI: 10.17605/OSF.IO/B8WEZ.

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