On the failure of cognitive ability to predict myside and one-sided thinking biases

Thinking and Reasoning 14 (2):129-167 (2008)
Abstract
Two critical thinking skills—the tendency to avoid myside bias and to avoid one-sided thinking—were examined in three different experiments involving over 1200 participants and across two different paradigms. Robust indications of myside bias were observed in all three experiments. Participants gave higher evaluations to arguments that supported their opinions than those that refuted their prior positions. Likewise, substantial one-side bias was observed—participants were more likely to prefer a one-sided to a balanced argument. There was substantial variation in both types of bias, but we failed to find that participants of higher cognitive ability displayed less myside bias or less one-side bias. Although cognitive ability failed to associate with the magnitude of the myside bias, the strength and content of the prior opinion did predict the degree of myside bias shown. Our results indicate that cognitive ability—as defined by traditional psychometric indicators—turns out to be surprisingly independent of two of the most important critical thinking tendencies discussed in the literature
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