ABSTRACTHumans are cognitive misers because their basic tendency is to default to processing mechanisms of low computational expense. Such a tendency leads to suboptimal outcomes in certain types of hostile environments. The theoretical inferences made from correct and incorrect responding on heuristics and biases tasks have been overly simplified, however. The framework developed here traces the complexities inherent in these tasks by identifying five processing states that are possible in most heuristics and biases tasks. The framework also identifies three possible (...) processing defects: inadequately learned mindware; failure to detect the necessity of overriding the miserly response; and failure to sustain the override process once initiated. An important insight gained from using the framework is that degree of mindware instantiation is strongly related to the probability of successful detection and override. Thus, errors on such tasks cannot be unambiguously attributed to miserly processing – and corre... (shrink)
Individual differences in performance on a variety of selection tasks were examined in three studies employing over 800 participants. Nondeontic tasks were solved disproportionately by individuals of higher cognitive ability. In contrast, responses on two deontic tasks that have shown robust performance facilitationthe Drinking-age Problem and the Sears Problem-were unrelated to cognitive ability. Performance on deontic and nondeontic tasks was consistently associated. Individuals in the correct/correct cell of the bivariate performance matrix were over-represented. That is, individuals giving the modal response (...) on a nondeontic task (P and Q) were significantly less likely to give the modal response on a deontic task (P and not-Q) than were individuals who made the non-modal P and not-Q selection on nondeontic problems. The implications of the results are discussed within the heuristic-analytic framework of Evans (1996; Evans & Over, 1996) and the optimal data selection model of Oaksford and Chater (1994). (shrink)
Individual differences on a variety of framing and conjunction problems were examined in light of Slovic and Tversky's (1974) understanding/acceptance principle-that more reflective and skilled reasoners are more likely to affirm the axioms that define normative reasoning and to endorse the task construals of informed experts. The predictions derived from the principle were confirmed for the much discussed framing effect in the Disease Problem and for the conjunction fallacy on the Linda Problem. Subjects of higher cognitive ability were disproportionately likely (...) to avoid each fallacy. Other framing problems produced much more modest levels of empirical support. It is conjectured that the varying patterns of individual differences are best explained by two-process theories of reasoning (e.g. Evans, 1984, 1996; Sloman, 1996) conjoined with the assumption that the two processes differentially reflect interactional and analytic intelligence. (shrink)
No doubt older work in the dual-process tradition overemphasized the importance and frequency of the override function, and the working model in this target article provides a useful corrective. The attempt to motivate the model using the so-called exclusivity assumption is unnecessary, because no recent dual-process model in the reasoning literature has rested strongly on this assumption.