Seminarios Académicos

event Publicación: 18/05/2022

Cognitive biases in researchers and the research process: Summarizing ~100 replications on heuristics and biases and discussing implications, challenges, and potential remedies for improving science

Autor: Asaf Bernstein

Abstract: We study human behavior, yet we do not often reflect on how our findings relate to us researchers and the way we conduct research. When we do, we sometimes tend to see ourselves as less biased than others, be it compared to the average person, journal reviewers/editors, university administration, our colleagues, our students, etc. That, alone, is an interesting reflection of the classic “bias blind spot”, in our inability to fully appreciate our own biases as researchers and understand the consequences in how these are hindering our research. I will briefly summarize our large-scale collaboration of completing over 100 replications and extensions of classic findings on classic heuristics and biases in judgment and decision-‎making, and will present an ongoing research program to examine cognitive biases in researchers and the scientific academic process. Researchers are humans and are constrained by cognitive limitations, and there is increasing evidence that these gravely impact all stages of the research life-cycle. From literature review, formation of research questions and ‎study design, through data analysis and the presentation of results, to finally journal submission for publication, the review process, and public dissemination and media engagement, researchers engage in a wide ‎array of practices that are possibly distorted by biases, hindering progress towards more credible accurate unbiased science.‎ I will briefly touch on some of our work and evidence regarding 8 specific biases as a demonstration of implications for science: Self-interest is over-estimated, Bias Blind Spot, Outcome Bias, Hindsight Bias, Confirmation Bias, Omission Bias, Default Bias, and Status Quo Bias. Finally, I will briefly mention potential remedies, mostly in the context of the ongoing science reform movement, the emerging practice of "Registered Reports", and the "Peer Community in Registered Reports" revolution.