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How cognitive biases can distort environmental statistics: introducing the Rough Estimation Task

Wilcockson, T.D. and Pothos, E. M. (2016). How cognitive biases can distort environmental statistics: introducing the Rough Estimation Task. Behavioral Pharmacology, 27(2-3), pp. 165-172. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0000000000000214

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to develop a novel behavioural method to explore cognitive biases. The task, called the Rough Estimation Task (REsT), simply involves presenting participants with a list of words, such that words can be in one of three categories: appetitive words (e.g. alcohol, food, etc), a category of neutral related words (e.g., musical instruments), and a category of neutral unrelated words. Participants read the words and are then asked to state estimates for the percentage of words in each category. Individual differences in the propensity to overestimate the proportion of appetitive stimuli (alcohol- or food-related words) in a word list were associated with behavioural measures (i.e. alcohol consumption, hazardous drinking, body mass index, external eating, and restrained eating, respectively) thereby providing evidence for the validity of the task. The task was also found to be associated with an eye-tracking attentional bias measure. The REsT is motivated in relation to intuitions regarding both the behaviour of interest and theory of cognitive biases in substance use.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a non-final version of an article published in final form in http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/FBP.0000000000000214
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/13036
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