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Debiasing for everyone: Testing an educational intervention to reduce causal illusions in rural Kenya

Cederlund, Linnea LU and Josander, Henrik LU (2017) PSYK11 20171
Department of Psychology
Abstract
It has been argued that cognitive biases are the source of a range of problems in modern society, from stereotype formation to belief in pseudoscience. One of those biases causes people to perceive causal relationships between unrelated events and is known as illusion of causality. Scientists are pointing to the importance of strategies to debias people on a global scale. However, research on effective debias techniques is lacking. The purpose of this study was to examine if results from previous studies on illusion of causality could be generalized to another context. Specifically, a debias intervention that had been found to be effective in Europe was examined in rural Kenya. To the best of our knowledge, this was the first study to... (More)
It has been argued that cognitive biases are the source of a range of problems in modern society, from stereotype formation to belief in pseudoscience. One of those biases causes people to perceive causal relationships between unrelated events and is known as illusion of causality. Scientists are pointing to the importance of strategies to debias people on a global scale. However, research on effective debias techniques is lacking. The purpose of this study was to examine if results from previous studies on illusion of causality could be generalized to another context. Specifically, a debias intervention that had been found to be effective in Europe was examined in rural Kenya. To the best of our knowledge, this was the first study to examine the effectiveness of a debias intervention aimed to reduce illusions of causality, outside Western countries. The intervention consisted of a lesson in basic scientific thinking, which has been argued to be the best, if not the only, way to reduce or eliminate illusion of causality. A repeated
measures design was used, and illusions of causality were assessed with a contingency judgment task. The results showed, in contrast to the main hypothesis, that illusions of causality persisted
after the intervention. Further research is needed to assess if the educational intervention is a globally effective strategy to debias people from illusions of causality. (Less)
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author
Cederlund, Linnea LU and Josander, Henrik LU
supervisor
organization
course
PSYK11 20171
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
illusion of causality, bias, debias, intervention, contingency judgment task, basic scientific thinking, Kenya
language
English
id
8919237
date added to LUP
2017-07-05 10:16:24
date last changed
2017-07-05 10:16:24
@misc{8919237,
  abstract     = {It has been argued that cognitive biases are the source of a range of problems in modern society, from stereotype formation to belief in pseudoscience. One of those biases causes people to perceive causal relationships between unrelated events and is known as illusion of causality. Scientists are pointing to the importance of strategies to debias people on a global scale. However, research on effective debias techniques is lacking. The purpose of this study was to examine if results from previous studies on illusion of causality could be generalized to another context. Specifically, a debias intervention that had been found to be effective in Europe was examined in rural Kenya. To the best of our knowledge, this was the first study to examine the effectiveness of a debias intervention aimed to reduce illusions of causality, outside Western countries. The intervention consisted of a lesson in basic scientific thinking, which has been argued to be the best, if not the only, way to reduce or eliminate illusion of causality. A repeated
measures design was used, and illusions of causality were assessed with a contingency judgment task. The results showed, in contrast to the main hypothesis, that illusions of causality persisted
after the intervention. Further research is needed to assess if the educational intervention is a globally effective strategy to debias people from illusions of causality.},
  author       = {Cederlund, Linnea and Josander, Henrik},
  keyword      = {illusion of causality,bias,debias,intervention,contingency judgment task,basic scientific thinking,Kenya},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Debiasing for everyone: Testing an educational intervention to reduce causal illusions in rural Kenya},
  year         = {2017},
}