Monday, January 21, 2013

bias blind spot

The bias blind spot was described by Princeton University psychologist Emily Pronin and her colleagues (2002) as the tendency to perceive cognitive and motivational biases much more in others than in oneself. The bias blind spot is a metabias since it refers to a pattern of inaccurate judgment in reasoning about cognitive biases.

In one study, Pronin et al. (2002) found that people tend to rate themselves as less subject to biases than others. In another study, “participants … who showed better-than-average bias” were instructed in how biases operate at the unconscious level. Nevertheless, 63% insisted that their self-assessments were accurate and objective. Better-than-average bias is the tendency of individuals to rank themselves as better than average on just about anything you ask them. For example, 74% of all managers think they are better than average at managing. (As Dilbert’s boss noted: this means that 26% of managers don’t know that they’re better than average. To which Dilbert replied: you’re all in the top 110%. See Scott Adams's cartoon for January 18, 2013.)

Participants in another study “reported their peer’s self-serving attributions regarding test performance to be biased but their own similarly self-serving attributions to be free of bias.”

In another study, Pronin and Matthew Kugler (2006) argue that the bias blind spot “involves the value that people place, and believe they should place, on introspective information (relative to behavioral information) when assessing bias in themselves versus others. Participants considered introspective information more than behavioral information for assessing bias in themselves, but not others.” A consequence of the bias blind spot is that people tend to think their own beliefs are accurate and their sources trustworthy, but those who hold different views are biased and their sources are not trustworthy (Ehrlinger et al. 2005).

Finally, a study by Richard West et al. (2012) found that “being free of the bias blind spot does not help a person avoid the actual classic cognitive biases.” They also found that higher cognitive ability did not correlate with a smaller bias blind spot. (Note: West et al. did not find that “smarter people are more vulnerable to these thinking errors,” as Jonah Lehrer claimed in a New Yorker article [“Why Smart People Are Stupid,” June 12, 2012]. In fact, the opposite is true: Most cognitive biases are negatively correlated with cognitive sophistication, as West et al. note in their article.)


Ehrlinger, Joyce, Thomas Gilovich and Lee Ross. 2005. Peering Into the Bias Blind Spot: People’s Assessments of Bias in Themselves and Others. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Vol. 31, No. 5, 680-692.

Pronin, E. & Matthew B. Kugler. 2006. Valuing thoughts, ignoring behavior: The introspection illusion as a source of the bias blind spot. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. Vol 43, Issue 4, 565-578.

Pronin, E., Gilovich, T., & Ross, L. 2004. Objectivity in the eye of the beholder: divergent perceptions of bias in self versus others. Psychological Review. 111, 781–799.

Pronin, E., Lin, D. Y., & Ross, L. 2002. The bias blind spot: Perceptions of bias in self versus others. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 28, 369-381.

Shermer, Michael. 2011. The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths. Times Books.

West, Richard, Russell Meserve and Keith Stanovich. 2012. Cognitive sophistication does not attenuate the bias blind spot. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. September; 103(3): 506-19.

Wilson, T. D., Centerbar, D. B., & Brekke, N. 2002. Mental contamination and the debiasing problem. In D. Griffin & T. Gilovich (Eds.), Heuristics and biases: The psychology of intuitive judgment (pp. 185–200). New York: Cambridge.


  1. The bias blind spot is the cognitive bias of failing to compensate for one's own cognitive biases. The term was created by Emily Pronin, a social psychologist from Princeton University's Department of Psychology, with colleagues Daniel Lin and Lee Ross.The bias blind spot is named after the visual blind spot.

  2. “Blindspot” is a metaphor to capture that portion of the mind that houses hidden biases. The authors use it to ask about the extent to which social groups – without our awareness or conscious control – shape our likes and dislikes, our judgments about people’s character, abilities, and potential.

    florida gun range

  3. Love this post! Cooking eggs always seems easy but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Maybe you could share your tips on perfect scrambled eggs.Tree Trimming Suffolk County

  4. I was really impressed with the diet that you follow to keep yourself healthy and fit. I too have similar working hours but the office closes by 6 and have to be there till that time. I feel so tired after the hectic work and then again the cycle continues.

  5. Penmanship an idiom is no circumstance at numerous if you don't clog the mains of it. If you are eligible on the machinations in talk an abacus consequently it is a colossal critical for you to pilot a computer gymnastics. Regarding about the grabs, it is important that you consider numerous of them no synonymous what this conversation desire to speech.rural internet

  6. I am hoping the same best effort from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing skills has inspired rates

  7. I’m happy I located this blog! From time to time, students want to cognitive the keys of productive literary essays composing. Your first-class knowledge about this good post can become a proper basis for such people.custom tee shirts

  8. But humor seemed to always keep us sane, and our connections to each other also really spells

  9. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value. Im glad to have found this post as its such an interesting one! I am always on the lookout for quality posts and articles so i suppose im lucky to have found this! I hope you will be adding more in the future.termite programs

  10. Here is the nearly all interactive meeting in order to aspect predisposition befriend. International nearly all classs, an individual excite in order to delay payments on drastically some sort of tight prior finding a riposte seldom on challenging dresss.dinner runs Virgin Islands