The whys and whens of individual differences in thinking biases


Although human thinking is often biased, some individuals are less susceptible to biases than others. These individual differences have been at the forefront of thinking research for more than a decade. We organize the literature in three key accounts (storage, monitoring, and inhibition failure) and propose that a critical but overlooked question concerns the time point at which individual variance arises; do biased and unbiased reasoners take different paths early on in the reasoning process or is the observed variance late to arise? We discuss how this focus on the ‘whens’ suggests that individual differences in thinking biases are less profound than traditionally assumed, in the sense that they might typically arise at a later stage of the reasoning process.

Trends in Cognitive Sciences
JF Bonnefon
JF Bonnefon
Behavioral Scientist