David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Thinking and Reasoning 13 (3):225 – 247 (2007)
Natural myside bias is the tendency to evaluate propositions from within one's own perspective when given no instructions or cues (such as within-participants conditions) to avoid doing so. We defined the participant's perspective as their previously existing status on four variables: their sex, whether they smoked, their alcohol consumption, and the strength of their religious beliefs. Participants then evaluated a contentious but ultimately factual proposition relevant to each of these demographic factors. Myside bias is defined between-participants as the mean difference in the evaluation of the proposition between groups with differing prior status on the variable. Whether an individual difference variable (such as cognitive ability) is related to the magnitude of the myside bias is indicated by whether the individual difference variable interacts with the between-participants status variable. In two experiments involving a total of over 1400 university students ( n = 1484) and eight different comparisons, we found very little evidence that participants of higher cognitive ability displayed less natural myside bias. The degree of myside bias was also relatively independent of individual differences in thinking dispositions. We speculate that ideas from memetic theory and dual-process theory might help to explain why natural myside bias is quite dissociated from individual difference variables.
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