Decision-Making and Biases in Causal-Explanatory Reasoning


Decisions often rely on judgments about the probabilities of various explanations. Recent research has uncovered a host of biases that afflict explanatory inference: Would these biases also translate into decision-making? We find that although people show biased inferences when making explanatory judgments in decision-relevant contexts (Exp. 1A), these biases are attenuated or eliminated when the choice context is highlighted by introducing an economic framing (price information; Exp. 1B–1D). However, biased inferences can be “locked in” to subsequent decisions when the judgment and decision are separated in time (Exp. 2). Together, these results suggest that decisions can be more rational than the corresponding judgments—leading to choices that are rational in the output of the decision process, yet irrational in their incoherence with judgments.

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