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The Social Determinants of Cognitive Bias: The Effects of Low Capability on Decision Making in a Framing Experiment


  • Plante, Charles

    (McGill University)

  • Lassoued, Rim
  • Phillips, Peter W.B.


According to leading sociological thinking the mind is shaped by wider society; however, this is not reflected in fields that take the mind as their primary object of study. In this study, we administer a modified version of Tversky and Kahneman’s seminal framing experiment to a representative sample of Canadians. In the past, framing experiments have been administered to a far more homogenous group of people: current and former students at elite universities. Our design allows us to explore which groups of people actually exhibit different cognitive biases. We find that the majority of people in our experiment do not exhibit loss aversion bias and that several people exhibit an opposite bias we call “turtling.” Turtlers prefer smaller certain options when choices are framed as losses and larger uncertain options when they are framed as gains. We find that people that suffer low capability, measured by a person’s risk of experiencing low income based on their various socio-demographic characteristics, are far more likely to turtle than others.

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  • Plante, Charles & Lassoued, Rim & Phillips, Peter W.B., 2017. "The Social Determinants of Cognitive Bias: The Effects of Low Capability on Decision Making in a Framing Experiment," SocArXiv u62cx, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:socarx:u62cx
    DOI: 10.31219/

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Joseph Henrich & Steve J. Heine & Ara Norenzayan, 2010. "The Weirdest People in the World?," RatSWD Working Papers 139, German Data Forum (RatSWD).
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