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Predicting biases in very highly educated samples: Numeracy and metacognition


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  • Saima Ghazal
  • Edward T. Cokely
  • Rocio Garcia-Retamero
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    We investigated the relations between numeracy and superior judgment and decision making in two large community outreach studies in Holland (n=5408). In these very highly educated samples (e.g., 30--50% held graduate degrees), the Berlin Numeracy Test was a robust predictor of financial, medical, and metacognitive task performance (i.e., lotteries, intertemporal choice, denominator neglect, and confidence judgments), independent of education, gender, age, and another numeracy assessment. Metacognitive processes partially mediated the link between numeracy and superior performance. More numerate participants performed better because they deliberated more during decision making and more accurately evaluated their judgments (e.g., less overconfidence). Results suggest that well-designed numeracy tests tend to be robust predictors of superior judgment and decision making because they simultaneously assess (1) mathematical competency and (2) metacognitive and self-regulated learning skills.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Society for Judgment and Decision Making in its journal Judgment and Decision Making.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2014)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 15-34

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    Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:9:y:2014:i:1:p:15-34

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    Related research

    Keywords: numeracy; risk literacy; individual differences; cognitive abilities; superior decision making; judgment bias; metacognition; confidence; dual systems.;


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    1. Edward T. Cokely & Mirta Galesic & Eric Schulz & Saima Ghazal & Rocio Garcia-Retamero, 2012. "Measuring risk literacy: The Berlin Numeracy Test," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 7(1), pages 25-47, January.
    2. Ellen Peters & Irwin P. Levin, 2008. "Dissecting the risky-choice framing effect: Numeracy as an individual-difference factor in weighting risky and riskless options," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 3(6), pages 435-448, August.
    3. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
    4. Guadagnoli, Edward & Ward, Patricia, 1998. "Patient participation in decision-making," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 329-339, August.
    5. Valerie F. Reyna, 2012. "A new intuitionism: Meaning, memory, and development in Fuzzy-Trace Theory," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 7(3), pages 332-359, May.
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