Are You Hiding Something from Me? Uncertainty and Judgments About the Intentions of Others

Chris Street, Daniel Richardson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


We are skilled at reading other's intentions - until they try to hide them. We are biased towards taking at face value what others say, but it is not clear why. One possibility is that we are uncertain, and make the decision by relying on heuristics. Half of our participants judged whether speakers were lying or telling the truth. The other half did not have to commit to a judgment: they were allowed to say they were unsure. We expected these participants would no longer need to rely on simplified heuristics and so show a reduced bias compared to the forced choice condition. Surprisingly, those who could say they were unsure were more biased towards believing people. We consider two possible accounts, both highlighting the importance of examining raters' uncertainty, which have so far been undocumented. Allowing raters to abstain from judgment gives new insights into the judgment-forming process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society 2014
PublisherUniversity of California eScholarship Repository
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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