This paper considers ways that experimental design can affect judgments about informally presented context shifting experiments. Reasons are given to think that judgments about informal context shifting experiments are affected by an exclusive reliance on binary truth value judgments and by experimenter bias. Exclusive reliance on binary truth value judgments may produce experimental artifacts by obscuring important differences of degree between the phenomena being investigated. Experimenter bias is an effect generated when, for example, experimenters disclose (even (...) unconsciously) their own beliefs about the outcome of an experiment. Eliminating experimenter bias from context shifting experiments makes it far less obvious what the “intuitive” responses to those experiments are. After it is shown how those different kinds of bias can affect judgments about informal context shifting experiments, those experiments are revised to control for those forms of bias. The upshot of these investigations is that participants in the contextualist debate who employ informal experiments should pay just as much attention to the design of their experiments as those who employ more formal experimental techniques if they want to avoid obscuring the phenomena they aim to uncover. (shrink)
Despite well-established results in survey methodology, many experimental philosophers have not asked whether and in what way conclusions about folk intuitions follow from people’s responses to their surveys. Rather, they appear to have proceeded on the assumption that intuitions can be simply read off from survey responses. Survey research, however, is fraught with difficulties. I review some of the relevant literature—particularly focusing on the conversational pragmatic aspects of survey research—and consider its application to common experimental philosophy surveys. I (...) argue for two claims. First, that experimental philosophers’ survey methodology leaves the facts about folk intuitions massively underdetermined; and second, that what has been regarded as evidence for the instability of philosophical intuitions is, at least in some cases, better accounted for in terms of subjects’ reactions to subtle pragmatic cues contained in the surveys. (shrink)
When interests and preferences of researchers or their sponsors cause bias in experimental design, data interpretation or dissemination of research results, we normally think of it as an epistemic shortcoming. But as a result of the debate on science and values, the idea that all ‘extra-scientific’ influences on research could be singled out and separated from pure science is now widely believed to be an illusion. I argue that nonetheless, there are cases in which research is rightfully regarded (...) as epistemologically deficient due to the influence of preferences on its outcomes. I present examples from biomedical research and offer an analysis in terms of social epistemology. (shrink)
This experiment elicits beliefs about other people’s overconfidence and abilities. We find that most people believe that others are unbiased, and only few think that others are overconfident. There is a remarkable heterogeneity between these groups. Those people who think others are underconfident or unbiased are overconfident themselves. Those who think others are overconfident are underconfident themselves. Despite this heterogeneity, people overestimate on average the abilities of others as they do their own ability. One driving force behind this result is (...) the refusal to process information about oneself: not only does this lead to overestimation of one’s own ability, but by means of social projection also to overestimation of others’ abilities. (shrink)
Using the matching bias example, the aim of the present studies was to show that adults' reasoning biases are due to faulty executive inhibition programming. In the first study, the subjects were trained on Wason's classical card selection task; half were given training in how to inhibit the perceptual matching bias (experimental group) and half in logic without the inhibition component (control group). On the pre- and post-tests, their performance was assessed on the Evans conditional rule falsification (...) task (with a negation in the antecedent of the rule), a task that also involves matching bias. In addition, subjects were tested for perceptual field dependence/independence using the Embedded Figures Test. The results brought out a specific inhibition training effect, as well as a clear-cut relationship in the experimental group between receptiveness to training and perceptual field independence. In the second study, the training paradigm was the same except that on the pre- and post-tests, the negation was in the consequent of the conditional rule (in this case, the perceptual matching response corresponds to the logical response). The subjects succeeded on the pre-test, and the matching-bias inhibition training had a negative effect on post-test performance. This specific negative priming effect confirms the inhibitory impact of our experimental training and outlines the dissociation of inhibition and logical components. (shrink)
The term 'implicit bias' has very swiftly been incorporated into philosophical discourse. Our aim in this paper is to scrutinise the phenomena that fall under the rubric of implicit bias. The term is often used in a rather broad sense, to capture a range of implicit social cognitions, and this is useful for some purposes. However, we here articulate some of the important differences between phenomena identified as instances of implicit bias. We caution against ignoring these differences: (...) it is likely they have considerable significance, not least for the sorts of normative recommendations being made concerning how to mitigate the bad effects of implicit bias. (shrink)
This paper oﬀers an experimental test of a version of Rubinstein’s bargaining model in which the players’ discount factors are unequal. We ﬁnd that learning, rationality, and fairness are all signiﬁcant in determining the outcome. In particular, we ﬁnd that a model of myopic optimization over time predicts the sign of deviations in the opening proposal from the ﬁnal undiscounted agreement in the previous period rather well. To explain the amplitude of the deviations, we then successfully ﬁt a perturbed (...) version of the model of myopic adjustment to the data that allows for a bias toward refusing inequitable oﬀers. (shrink)
Whenever the use of non-experimental data for discovering causal relations or predicting the outcomes of experiments or interventions is contemplated, two difficulties are routinely faced. One is the problem of latent variables, or confounders: factors influencing two or more measured variables may not themselves have been measured or recorded. The other is the problem of sample selection bias: values of the variables or features under study may themselves influence whether a unit is included in the data sample.
Prediction markets are increasingly being considered as methods for gathering, summarizing and aggregating diﬀuse information by governments and businesses alike. Critics worry that these markets are susceptible to price manipulation by agents who wish to distort decision making. We study the eﬀect of manipulators on an experimental market, and ﬁnd that manipulators are unable to distort price accuracy. Subjects without manipulation incentives compensate for the bias in oﬀers from manipulators by setting a diﬀerent threshold at which they are (...) willing to accept trades. (shrink)
Various experimental procedures aimed at measuring individual risk aversion involve a list of pairs of alternative prospects. We first study the widely used method by Holt and Laury (Am Econ Rev 92(5):1644–1655, 2002), for which we find that the removal of some items from the lists yields a systematic decrease in risk aversion and scrambles the ranking of individuals by risk aversion. This bias, that we call embedding bias, is quite distinct from other confounds that have been (...) previously observed in the use of the HL method. It may be related to empirical phenomena and theoretical developments where better prospects increase risk aversion. Nevertheless, we also find that the more recent elicitation method due to Abdellaoui et al. (Theory Decis 71:63–80, 2011), also based on lists but using only one and the same probability in the list, does not display any statistically significant bias when the corresponding items of the list are removed. Our results suggest that methods other than the popular HL one may be preferable for the measurement of risk aversion. (shrink)
Edgar Zilsel offers a Marxist account of the rise of experimental science avoiding both crude determinism and the anti-scientific bias of much “Western Marxism.” This account supplements Don Ihde’s instrumental realism with a social account of the systematic extension of perception by instrumentation. The social contact of non-literate craftspeople with purely intellectual scholars forged the social basis of what became technoscience.
Risk attitude is known to be a key determinant of various economic and financial choices. Behavioral studies that aim to evaluate the role of risk attitudes in contexts of this type, therefore, require tools for measuring individual risk tolerance. Recent developments in decision theory provide such tools. However, the methods available can be time consuming. As a result, some practitioners might have an incentive to prefer “fast and frugal” methods to clean but more costly methods. In this article, we focus (...) on a tractable procedure initially proposed by Holt and Laury (2002) to elicit risk attitude. We generalize this method to measure utility and risk aversion as follows. First, we allow measurement of probabilistic risk attitude through violations of expected utility due to probability weighting. Second, we use the outcome scale rather than the probability scale in the menu of choices. Third, we compare sure payoffs with lotteries instead of comparing non-degenerate lotteries. A within-subject experimental study illustrates the gains in tractability and bias minimization that can result from such an extension. (shrink)
The presupposition triggered by an expression E is generally satisfied by information that comes before rather than after E in the sentence or discourse. In Heim’s classic theory (1983), this left-right asymmetry is encoded in the lexical semantics of dynamic connectives and operators. But several recent analyses offer a more nuanced approach, in which presupposition satisfaction has two separate components: a general principle (which varies from theory to theory) specifies under what conditions a presupposition triggered by an expression E is (...) satisfied; and an ‘incremental’ component specifies that the principle must be checked on the basis of information that comes before E. Several researchers take this incremental component to be a processing bias, which can be overcome at some cost. If so, it should be possible, though costly, to satisfy presuppositions ‘symmetrically’, i.e. by taking into account linguistic material that comes both before and after the presupposition trigger. We test this claim with experimental means. Using inferential (and to some extent acceptability) tasks involving the anaphoric trigger aussi (‘too’) in French, we argue that symmetric readings are indeed possible (albeit degraded) in environments involving the connectives if, or, and unless. (shrink)
In an experimental study, we explored the role of auditory perception bias in vocal pitch imitation. In line with neuroanatomical differences in the lateral Heschl's gyrus, some listeners show an auditory perception bias for the sound as a whole which facilitates their perception of the fundamental frequency (the primary acoustic correlate of pitch). Other listeners focus on the harmonic constituents of the complex sound signal which may hamper the perception of the fundamental. These two listener types are (...) referred to as fundamental and spectral listeners, respectively. We hypothesized that the individual differences in speakers' capacity to imitate F0 found in earlier studies, may at least partly be due to the capacity to extract information about F0 from the speech signal. Participants' auditory perception bias was determined with a psychoacoustic perceptual test involving a missing fundamental. Subsequently, speech data were collected in a shadowing task with two conditions, one with a full speech signal and one with high-pass filtered speech above 300 Hz. The results showed that perception bias towards fundamental frequency was related to the degree of F0 imitation. The effect was stronger in the condition with high-pass filtered speech. The experimental outcomes suggest advantages for fundamental listeners in communicative situations where F0 imitation is used as a behavioral cue. Future research needs to determine to what extent auditory perception bias may be related to other individual properties known to improve imitation, such as phonetic talent. (shrink)
Many philosophers appeal to intuitions to support some philosophical views. However, there is reason to be concerned about this practice as scientific evidence has documented systematic bias in philosophically relevant intuitions as a function of seemingly irrelevant features (e.g., personality). One popular defense used to insulate philosophers from these concerns holds that philosophical expertise eliminates the influence of these extraneous factors. Here, we test this assumption. We present data suggesting that verifiable philosophical expertise in the free will debate-as measured (...) by a reliable and validated test of expert knowledge-does not eliminate the influence of one important extraneous feature (i.e., the heritable personality trait extraversion) on judgments concerning freedom and moral responsibility. These results suggest that, in at least some important cases, the expertise defense fails. Implications for the practice of philosophy, experimental philosophy, and applied ethics are discussed. (shrink)
The topic is experimental philosophy as a naturalistic movement, and its bearing on the value of intuitions in philosophy. This paper explores first how the movement might bear on philosophy more generally, and how it might amount to something novel and promising. Then it turns to one accomplishment repeatedly claimed for it already: namely, the discrediting of armchair intuitions as used in philosophy.
Experimental philosophy is often presented as a new movement that avoids many of the difficulties that face traditional philosophy. This article distinguishes two views of experimental philosophy: a narrow view in which philosophers conduct empirical investigations of intuitions, and a broad view which says that experimental philosophy is just the colocation in the same body of (i) philosophical naturalism and (ii) the actual practice of cognitive science. These two positions are rarely clearly distinguished in the literature about (...)experimental philosophy, both pro and con. The article argues, first, that the broader view is the only plausible one; discussions of experimental philosophy should recognize that the narrow view is a caricature of experimental philosophy as it is currently done. It then shows both how objections to experimental philosophy are transformed and how positive recommendations can be provided by adopting a broad conception of experimental philosophy. (shrink)
The overwhelming majority of those who theorize about implicit biases posit that these biases are caused by some sort of association. However, what exactly this claim amounts to is rarely specified. In this paper, I distinguish between understandings of association as a theory of learning, a theory of cognitive structure, a theory of mental processes, and as an implementation base for cognition. I then argue that the crucial senses of association for elucidating implicit bias are the cognitive structure and (...) mental process senses. A hypothesis is subsequently derived: if associations really underpin implicit biases, then implicit biases should be modulated by counterconditioning or extinction but should not be modulated by rational argumentation. This hypothesis is false; implicit biases are not, at heart, predicated on any associative structures or associative processes but instead arise because of unconscious propositionally structured beliefs. I conclude by discussing how the case study of implicit bias illuminates problems with popular dual process models of cognitive architecture. (shrink)
One of the more visible recent developments in philosophical methodology is the experimental philosophy movement. On its surface, the experimentalist challenge looks like a dramatic threat to the apriority of philosophy; ‘experimentalist’ is nearly antonymic with ‘aprioristic’. This appearance, I suggest, is misleading; the experimentalist critique is entirely unrelated to questions about the apriority of philosophical investigation. There are many reasons to resist the skeptical conclusions of negative experimental philosophers; but even if they are granted—even if the experimentalists (...) are right to claim that we must do much more careful laboratory work in order legitimately to be confident in our philosophical judgments— the apriority of philosophy is unimpugned. The kinds of scientific investigation that experimental philosophers argue to be necessary involve merely enabling sensory experiences. Although they are not enabling in the sense of permitting concept acquisition, they are enabling in another epistemically significant way that is also consistent with the apriority of philosophy. (shrink)
I discuss experimental work by Nichols, and Nichols and Knobe, with respect to the philosophical problems of free will and moral responsibility. I mention some methodological concerns about the work, but focus principally on the philosophical implications of the work. The experimental results seem to show that in particular, concrete cases we are more willing to attribute responsibility than in cases described abstractly or in general terms. I argue that their results suggest a deep problem for traditional accounts (...) of compatibilism, and that they may cast some light on the literature surrounding Frankfurt cases. I also suggest a way in which mature philosophical convictions about free will may reflect a contingent process of refining and defending either of two competing strands of intuitions, and suggest that this may partly explain the persistence of philosophical debates about free will. (shrink)
In this paper I survey some recent developments in experimental philosophy and discuss their bearing on two leading theories in epistemology: Contextualism and Interest Relative Invariantism. In the first part of the paper, I survey some general issues of how experimental philosophy may be relevant to assessing contextualism and IRI. In the second part, I discuss and critique some of the recent experimental work.
Timothy Williamson devotes significant effort in his The Philosophy of Philosophy to arguing against skepticism about judgment. One might think that the recent “experimental philosophy” challenge to the philosophical practice of appealing to intuitions as evidence is a possible target of those arguments. However, this is not so. The structure of that challenge is radically dissimilar from that of traditional skeptical arguments, and the aims of the challenge are entirely congruent with the spirit of methodological improvement that Williamson himself (...) exemplifies in the Afterword of his book. (shrink)
Today, experimental philosophers challenge traditional appeals to intu- ition; they empirically collect folk intuitions and then use their findings to attack philosophers’ intuitions. However this movement is not uniform. Radical experi- mentalists criticize the use of intuitions in philosophy altogether and they have been mostly attacked. Contrariwise, moderate experimentalists imply that laypersons’ in- tuitions are somehow relevant to philosophical problems. Sometimes they even use folk intuitions in order to advance theoretical theses. In this paper I will try to challenge (...) the so-called moderate experimental attempts to rely on intuition in order to promote philosophical theses. (shrink)
In recent years, experimental philosophers have questioned the reliance of philosophical arguments on intuitions elicited by thought experiments. These challenges seek to undermine the use of this methodology for a particular domain of theorizing, and in some cases to raise doubts about the viability of philosophical work in the domain in question. The topic of semantic reference has been an important area for discussion of these issues, one in which critics of the reliance on intuitions have made particularly strong (...) claims about the prospects for philosophical theories of reference and arguments based on claims about reference. In this article, I review the main lines of argument in this area of experimental philosophy, with particular emphasis on the relevance of empirical data about intuitions to philosophical views. I argue that although traditional philosophical theorizing about reference faces little threat from experimental data about intuitions, there is nevertheless much to be gained from collecting and analyzing such data, which holds the promise of greatly enriching our conception of the mechanisms governing judgments about semantic reference in ways that are highly relevant to philosophers. (shrink)
Descriptive accounts of the nature of explanation in neuroscience and the global goals of such explanation have recently proliferated in the philosophy of neuroscience (e.g., Bechtel, Mental mechanisms: Philosophical perspectives on cognitive neuroscience. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2007; Bickle, Philosophy and neuroscience: A ruthlessly reductive account. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishing, 2003; Bickle, Synthese, 151, 411–434, 2006; Craver, Explaining the brain: Mechanisms and the mosaic unity of neuroscience. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) and with them new understandings of the <span class='Hi'> (...) class='Hi'>experimental</span> practices of neuroscientists have emerged. In this paper, I consider two models of such practices; one that takes them to be reductive; another that takes them to be integrative. I investigate those areas of the neuroscience of learning and memory from which the examples used to substantiate these models are culled, and argue that the multiplicity of <span class='Hi'>experimental</span> protocols used in these research areas presents specific challenges for both models. In my view, these challenges have been overlooked largely because philosophers have hitherto failed to pay sufficient attention to fundamental features of <span class='Hi'>experimental</span> practice. I demonstrate that when we do pay attention to such features, evidence for reduction and integrative unity in neuroscience is simply not borne out. I end by suggesting some new directions for the philosophy of neuroscience that pertain to taking a closer look at the nature of neuroscientific experiments. (shrink)
What are the folk-conceptual connections between free will and consciousness? In this paper I present results which indicate that consciousness plays central roles in folk conceptions of free will. When conscious states cause behavior, people tend to judge that the agent acted freely. And when unconscious states cause behavior, people tend to judge that the agent did not act freely. Further, these studies contribute to recent experimental work on folk philosophical affiliation, which analyzes folk responses to determine whether folk (...) views are consistent with the view that free will and determinism are incompatible (incompatibilism) or with the opposite view (compatibilism). Conscious causation of behavior tends to elicit pro-free will judgments, even when the causation takes place deterministically. Thus, when controlling for consciousness, many folk seem to be compatibilists. However, participants who disagree with the deterministic or cognitive scientific descriptions given of human behavior tend to give incompatibilist responses. (shrink)
Exploring central philosophical issues concerning scientific research in modern experimental biology, this book clarifies the strategies, concepts, reasoning, approaches, tools, models and experimental systems deployed by researchers. It also integrates recent developments in historical scholarship, in particular, the New Experimentalism, making this work of interest to philosophers and historians of science as well as to biological researchers.
Joshua Glasgow argues against the existence of races. His experimental philosophy asks subjects questions involving racial categorization to discover the ordinary concept of race at work in their judgments. The results show conflicting information about the concept of race, and Glasgow concludes that the ordinary concept of race is inconsistent. I conclude, rather, that Glasgow’s results fit perfectly fine with a social-kind view of races as real social entities. He also presents thought experiments to show that social-kind views give (...) the wrong results, but intuitions might differ on which results are the wrong ones, and social-kind views can resist the implications he derives from these cases. Widespread false beliefs about a concept or category need not undermine anything’s existence, and a sufficiently context-sensitive approach to races will allow for competing criteria for race-membership in different contexts without contradictory criteria in any one context. Glasgow’s arguments are therefore unsuccessful. (shrink)
Two experiments (N1 = 141, N2 = 40) investigate two versions of Aristotle’s Thesis for the first time. Aristotle’s Thesis is a negated conditional, which consists of one propositional variable with a negation either in the antecedent (version 1) or in the consequent (version 2). This task allows to infer if people interpret indicative conditionals as material conditionals or as conditional events. In the first experiment I investigate between-participants the two versions of Aristotle’s Thesis crossed with abstract versus concrete task (...) material. The modal response for all four groups is consistent with the conditional event and inconsistent with the material conditional interpretation. This observation is replicated in the second experiment. Moreover, the second experiment rules out scope ambiguities of the negation of conditionals. Both experiments provide new evidence against the material conditional interpretation of conditionals and support the conditional event interpretation. Finally, I discuss implications for modeling indicative conditionals and the relevance of this work for experimental philosophy. (shrink)
Experimental phenomenology has demonstrated that perception is much richer than stimulus. As is seen in color perception, one and the same stimulus provides more than several modes of appearance or perceptual dimensions. Similarly, there are various perceptual dimensions in form perception. Even a simple geometrical figure inducing visual illusion gives not only perceptual impressions of size, shape, slant, depth, and orientation, but also affective or aesthetic impressions. The present study reviews our experimental phenomenological work on visual illusion and (...)experimental aesthetics, and examines how aesthetic preference is influenced by stimulus factors determining visual illusions including anomalous surface and transparency as well as geometrical illusion. Along with line figures producing geometrical illusions, illusory surface figures inducing neon color spreading and transparency effects were used as test patterns. Participants made both of psychophysical judgments and of aesthetic judgments for the same test pattern. Both of geometrical illusions and aesthetic preferences were found to change similarly as a function of stimulus variables such as the number of filling lines and the size ratio of the inner and outer figural components. Also, following specific stimulus variables such as lightness contrast ratio and spatial interval between inducing figural elements (so called ``packmen''), strong effects of color spreading and transparency were accompanied with strong preferences. It seems that the paradigm to investigate aesthetic phenomena along with perceptual dimensions is useful to bridge the gap between experimental phenomenology and experimental aesthetics. (shrink)
In recent decades, experimental mathematics has emerged as a new branch of mathematics. This new branch is defined less by its subject matter, and more by its use of computer assisted reasoning. Experimental mathematics uses a variety of computer assisted approaches to verify or prove mathematical hypotheses. For example, there is “number crunching” such as searching for very large Mersenne primes, and showing that the Goldbach conjecture holds for all even numbers less than 2 × 1018. There are (...) “verifications” of hypotheses which, while not definitive proofs, provide strong support for those hypotheses, and there are proofs involving an enormous amount of computer hours, which cannot be surveyed by any one mathematician in a lifetime. There have been several attempts to argue that one or another aspect of experimental mathematics shows that mathematics now accepts empirical or inductive methods, and hence shows mathematical apriorism to be false. Assessing this argument is complicated by the fact that there is no agreed definition of what precisely experimental mathematics is. However, I argue that on any plausible account of ’experiment’ these arguments do not succeed. (shrink)
Our focus here is on whether, when influenced by implicit biases, those behavioural dispositions should be understood as being a part of that person’s character: whether they are part of the agent that can be morally evaluated. We frame this issue in terms of control. If a state, process, or behaviour is not something that the agent can, in the relevant sense, control, then it is not something that counts as part of her character. A number of theorists have argued (...) that individuals do not have control, in the relevant sense, over the operation of implicit bias. We will argue that this claim is mistaken. We articulate and develop a notion of control that individuals have with respect to implicit bias, and argue that this kind of control can ground character-based evaluation of such behavioural dispositions. (shrink)
An ad hominem fallacy is committed when an individual employs an irrelevant personal attack against an opponent instead of addressing that opponent’s argument. Many discussions of such fallacies discuss judgments of relevance about such personal attacks, and consider how we might distinguish those that are relevant from those that are not. This paper will argue that the literature on bias and testimony can helpfully contribute to that analysis. This will highlight ways in which biases, particularly unconscious biases, can make (...) ad hominem fallacies seem effective, even when the irrelevance is recognized. (shrink)
Focusing on the work of Friedrich von Hayek and Vernon Smith, we discuss some conceptual links between Austrian economics and recent work in behavioral game theory and experimental economics. After a brief survey of the main methodological aspects of Austrian and experimental economics, we suggest that common views on subjectivism, individualism, and the role of qualitative explanations and predictions in social science may favour a fruitful interaction between these two research programs.
Revised simulation theory (Goldman 2006) allows mental state attributions containing some or all of the attributor's genuine, non-simulated mental states. It is thought that this gives the revised theory an empirical advantage, because unlike theory theory and rationality theory, it can explain egocentric bias (the tendency to over attribute ones' own mental states to others). I challenge this view, arguing that theory theory and rationality theory can explain egocentricity by appealing to heuristic mindreading and the diagnosticity of attributors' own (...) beliefs, and that these explanations are as simple and consistent as those provided by revised simulation theory. (shrink)
I develop an epistemic focal bias account of certain patterns of judgments about knowledge ascriptions by integrating it with a general dual process framework of human cognition. According to the focal bias account, judgments about knowledge ascriptions are generally reliable but systematically fallible because the cognitive processes that generate them are affected by what is in focus. I begin by considering some puzzling patters of judgments about knowledge ascriptions and sketch how a basic focal bias account seeks (...) to account for them. In doing so, I argue that the basic focal bias account should be integrated in a more general framework of human cognition. Consequently, I present some central aspects of a prominent general dual process theory of human cognition and discuss how focal bias may figure at various levels of processing. On the basis of this discussion, I attempt to categorize the relevant judgments about knowledge ascriptions. Given this categorization, I argue that the basic epistemic focal bias account of certain contrast effects and salient alternatives effects can be plausibly integrated with the dual process framework. Likewise, I try to explain the absence of strong intuitions in cases of far-fetched salient alternatives. As a manner of conclusion, I consider some methodological issues concerning the relationship between cognitive psychology, experimental data and epistemological theorizing. -/- . (shrink)
This paper examines the associations among social desirability response bias, cultural constructs and gender. The study includes the responses of 1537 students from 12 countries including Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Nepal, South Africa, Spain, and the United States. The results of the analysis indicate that, on average, social desirability response bias decreases (increases) as a country’s Individualism (Uncertainty Avoidance) increases. The analysis also indicates that women scored significantly higher on Paulhus’ Image Management Subscale (...) on an overall basis and for seven of the 12 country comparisons. This research serves as a caution when considering the research findings of prior international survey-based ethics research that do not include a direct measure of social desirability response bias. For example, the finding that women score higher on Paulhus’ measure of social desirability response bias calls into question prior research that does not control for social desirability response bias indicating women are more ethically sensitive than men. (shrink)
This paper argues that early modern experimental philosophy emerged as the dominant member of a pair of methods in natural philosophy, the speculative versus the experimental, and that this pairing derives from an overarching distinction between speculative and operative philosophy that can be ultimately traced back to Aristotle. The paper examines the traditional classification of natural philosophy as a speculative discipline from the Stagirite to the seventeenth century; medieval and early modern attempts to articulate a scientia experimentalis; and (...) the tensions in the classification of natural magic and mechanics that led to the introduction of an operative part of natural philosophy in the writings of Francis Bacon and John Johnston. The paper concludes with a summary of the salient discontinuities between the experimental/speculative distinction of the mid-seventeenth century and its predecessors and a statement of the developments that led to the ascendance of experimental philosophy from the 1660s. (shrink)
Experimental psychology in the early 20th century was targeted by several authors who described a crisis— often expressed as a lack of theoretical and experimental progress. In the 21st century, the crisis of competing theories has been largely overcome but several current emphases hinder the development of a mature experimental science. Central among these are an ethnocentrism that focuses on Western standards and populations, neuroscientism which often treats neurological evidence independently of mental and behavioral events, and the (...) tendency for demonstration experiments to replace coordinated theoretical approaches. (shrink)
This research is an extension of Walker Information’s (Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases, pp. 235–255, 1999) study on employees’ job attitudes that was conducted exclusively in the United States. Walker Information found that the reputation of the organization, fairness at work, care, and concern for employees, trust in employees, and resources available at work were important factors in an employee’s decision to remain with his or her company. Our sample includes 713 students from seven countries: Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, (...) Hong Kong, Ireland, South Africa, and the United States. When analyzing the entire sample, our data indicate that both social desirability response bias and gender were significant; however, this was not the case when the data are analyzed by country. On an individual country basis, our data suggest that the generally accepted premise that women are more ethically conscious than men was only true for the samples from the United States and Canada. The data also indicate that, while social desirability response bias was significant for the four factors suggesting ethical components for the sample from the United States, this finding was not universal. (shrink)
This study examines social desirability bias in the context of ethical decision-making by accountants. It hypothesizes a negative relation between social desirability bias and ethical evaluation. It also predicts an interaction effect between religiousness and gender on social desirability bias. An experiment using five general business vignettes was carried out on 121 accountants (63 males and 58 females). The results show that social desirability bias is higher (lower) when the situation encountered is more (less) unethical. The (...)bias has religiousness and gender main effects as well as an interaction effect between these two independent variables. Women who were more religious recorded the highest bias scores relative to less religious women and men regardless of their religiousness. (shrink)
An experiment is reported which tests for positive confirmation bias in a setting in which individuals choose what information to buy, prior to making a decision. The design – an adaptation of Wason's selection task – reveals the use that subjects make of information after buying it. Strong evidence of positive confirmation bias, in both information acquisition and information use, is found; and this bias is found to be robust to experience. It is suggested that the (...) class='Hi'>bias results from a pattern of reasoning which, although producing sub-optimal decisions, is internally coherent and which is self-reinforcing. (shrink)
Gender is one of the most frequently studied variables within the ethics literature. In prior studies that find gender differences, females consistently report more ethical responses than males. However, prior research also indicates that females are more prone to responding in a socially desirable fashion. Consequently, it is uncertain whether gender differences in ethical decision-making exist because females are more ethical or perhaps because females are more prone to the social desirability response bias. Using a sample of 30 scenarios (...) from prior studies that find gender differences, we examine whether these gender differences remain robust once social desirability is controlled for in the analysis. Our data suggest that the effect of gender on ethical decision-making is largely attenuated once social desirability is included in the analysis. In essence, the social desirability response bias appears to be driving a significant portion of the relationship between gender and ethical decision-making. We discuss several important research implications of this study. (shrink)
One view of philosophy that is sometimes expressed, especially by scientists, is that while philosophers are good at asking questions, they are poor at producing convincing answers. And the perceived divide between philosophical and scientific methods is often pointed to as the major culprit behind this lack of progress. Looking back at the history of philosophy, however, we find that this methodological divide is a relatively recent invention. Further, it is one that has been challenged over the past decade by (...) the modern incarnation of experimental philosophy. How might the reincorporation of empirical methods into philosophy aid the process of making philosophical progress? Building off of the work of Sytsma (2010), we argue that one way it does so is by offering a means of resolving some disputes that arise in philosophy. We illustrate how philosophical disputes may sometimes be resolved empirically by looking at the recent experimental literature on intuitions about reference. (shrink)
This article offers a critique of research practices typical of experimental philosophy. To that end, it presents a review of methodological issues that have proved crucial to the quality of research in the biobehavioral sciences. It discusses various shortcomings in the experimental philosophy literature related to (1) the credibility of self-report questionnaires, (2) the validity and reliability of measurement, (3) the adherence to appropriate procedures for sampling, random assignment, and handling of participants, and (4) the meticulousness of study (...) reporting. It argues that the future standing of experimental philosophy will hinge upon improvements in research methods. (shrink)