Inferring Others' Hidden Thoughts:: Smart Guesses in a Low Diagnostic World

Chris N. H. Street, Walter F. Bischof, Miguel A. Vadillo, Alan Kingstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

People are biased toward believing that what others say is what they truly think. This effect, known as the truth bias, has often been characterized as a judgmental error that impedes accuracy. We consider an alternative view: that it reflects the use of contextual information to make the best guess when the currently available information has low diagnosticity. Participants learnt the diagnostic value of four cues, which were present during truthful statements between 20% and 80% of the time. Afterwards, participants were given contextual information: either that most people would lie or that most would tell the truth. We found that people were biased in the direction of the context information when the individuating behavioral cues were nondiagnostic. As the individuating cues became more diagnostic, context had less to no effect. We conclude that more general context information is used to make an informed judgment when other individuating cues are absent. That is, the truth bias reflects a smart guess in a low diagnostic world.
LanguageEnglish
Pages539-549
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Behavioral Decision Making
Volume29
Issue number5
Early online date9 Sep 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

Fingerprint

Cues
diagnostic
trend
available information
Diagnostics
Contextual

Cite this

Street, Chris N. H. ; Bischof, Walter F. ; Vadillo, Miguel A. ; Kingstone, Alan. / Inferring Others' Hidden Thoughts: Smart Guesses in a Low Diagnostic World. In: Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. 2016 ; Vol. 29, No. 5. pp. 539-549.
@article{a83e6fcc036f4f99ae60aa81c4669cec,
title = "Inferring Others' Hidden Thoughts:: Smart Guesses in a Low Diagnostic World",
abstract = "People are biased toward believing that what others say is what they truly think. This effect, known as the truth bias, has often been characterized as a judgmental error that impedes accuracy. We consider an alternative view: that it reflects the use of contextual information to make the best guess when the currently available information has low diagnosticity. Participants learnt the diagnostic value of four cues, which were present during truthful statements between 20{\%} and 80{\%} of the time. Afterwards, participants were given contextual information: either that most people would lie or that most would tell the truth. We found that people were biased in the direction of the context information when the individuating behavioral cues were nondiagnostic. As the individuating cues became more diagnostic, context had less to no effect. We conclude that more general context information is used to make an informed judgment when other individuating cues are absent. That is, the truth bias reflects a smart guess in a low diagnostic world.",
keywords = "adaptive decision making, adaptive lie detector, context, lie detection, truth bias, truth-default theory",
author = "Street, {Chris N. H.} and Bischof, {Walter F.} and Vadillo, {Miguel A.} and Alan Kingstone",
year = "2016",
month = "12",
doi = "10.1002/bdm.1904",
language = "English",
volume = "29",
pages = "539--549",
journal = "Journal of Behavioral Decision Making",
issn = "0894-3257",
publisher = "John Wiley and Sons Ltd",
number = "5",

}

Inferring Others' Hidden Thoughts: Smart Guesses in a Low Diagnostic World. / Street, Chris N. H.; Bischof, Walter F.; Vadillo, Miguel A.; Kingstone, Alan.

In: Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Vol. 29, No. 5, 12.2016, p. 539-549.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Inferring Others' Hidden Thoughts:

T2 - Journal of Behavioral Decision Making

AU - Street, Chris N. H.

AU - Bischof, Walter F.

AU - Vadillo, Miguel A.

AU - Kingstone, Alan

PY - 2016/12

Y1 - 2016/12

N2 - People are biased toward believing that what others say is what they truly think. This effect, known as the truth bias, has often been characterized as a judgmental error that impedes accuracy. We consider an alternative view: that it reflects the use of contextual information to make the best guess when the currently available information has low diagnosticity. Participants learnt the diagnostic value of four cues, which were present during truthful statements between 20% and 80% of the time. Afterwards, participants were given contextual information: either that most people would lie or that most would tell the truth. We found that people were biased in the direction of the context information when the individuating behavioral cues were nondiagnostic. As the individuating cues became more diagnostic, context had less to no effect. We conclude that more general context information is used to make an informed judgment when other individuating cues are absent. That is, the truth bias reflects a smart guess in a low diagnostic world.

AB - People are biased toward believing that what others say is what they truly think. This effect, known as the truth bias, has often been characterized as a judgmental error that impedes accuracy. We consider an alternative view: that it reflects the use of contextual information to make the best guess when the currently available information has low diagnosticity. Participants learnt the diagnostic value of four cues, which were present during truthful statements between 20% and 80% of the time. Afterwards, participants were given contextual information: either that most people would lie or that most would tell the truth. We found that people were biased in the direction of the context information when the individuating behavioral cues were nondiagnostic. As the individuating cues became more diagnostic, context had less to no effect. We conclude that more general context information is used to make an informed judgment when other individuating cues are absent. That is, the truth bias reflects a smart guess in a low diagnostic world.

KW - adaptive decision making

KW - adaptive lie detector

KW - context

KW - lie detection

KW - truth bias

KW - truth-default theory

U2 - 10.1002/bdm.1904

DO - 10.1002/bdm.1904

M3 - Article

VL - 29

SP - 539

EP - 549

JO - Journal of Behavioral Decision Making

JF - Journal of Behavioral Decision Making

SN - 0894-3257

IS - 5

ER -