Confirmation bias and misconceptions: Pupillometric evidence for a confirmation bias in misconceptions feedback

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

It has long been supposed that the confirmation bias plays a role in the prevalence and maintenance of misconceptions. However, this has been supported more by argument than by empirical evidence. In the present paper, we show how different types of belief-feedback evoke physiological responses consistent with the presence of a confirmation bias. Participants were presented with misconceptions and indicated whether they believed each misconception to be true or false, as well as how committed they were to the misconception. Each response was followed by feedback that was either clear (i.e., “correct” or “incorrect”) or ambiguous (i.e., “partly correct” or “partly incorrect”). Pupillary response to each feedback condition was assessed. The results show an interaction between feedback accuracy and feedback clarity on pupil size. The largest pupil size was found in response to clear disconfirmatory feedback. The smallest pupil size was found in response to both clear and ambiguous confirmatory feedback. Crucially, the pupil responded to ambiguous confirmatory feedback as though it were wholly confirmatory. Moreover, pupil size in response to ambiguous disconfirmatory feedback was significantly smaller than response to clear disconfirmatory feedback, showing an overall trend towards confirmatory processing in the absence of clear disconfirmation. Additionally, we show a moderation by commitment towards the misconception. The greater the commitment, the larger the effect of belief-violating feedback on pupil size. These findings support recent theorizing in the field of
misconceptions and, more generally, the field of inconsistency-compensation.
Keywords: Confirmation bias; Pupillometry; Misconceptions; Error-Feedback; Inconsistency compensation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-83
JournalBiological Psychology
Volume145
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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Physiological Feedback
Maintenance

Keywords

  • ADAPTIVE GAIN
  • ANXIETY
  • AROUSAL
  • BAD
  • COMPENSATION
  • Confirmation bias
  • Error-Feedback
  • Inconsistency compensation
  • Misconceptions
  • OBSERVER
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE
  • PUPILLARY RESPONSES
  • Pupillometry
  • STUDENTS MISCONCEPTIONS
  • UNCERTAINTY

Cite this

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title = "Confirmation bias and misconceptions: Pupillometric evidence for a confirmation bias in misconceptions feedback",
abstract = "It has long been supposed that the confirmation bias plays a role in the prevalence and maintenance of misconceptions. However, this has been supported more by argument than by empirical evidence. In the present paper, we show how different types of belief-feedback evoke physiological responses consistent with the presence of a confirmation bias. Participants were presented with misconceptions and indicated whether they believed each misconception to be true or false, as well as how committed they were to the misconception. Each response was followed by feedback that was either clear (i.e., “correct” or “incorrect”) or ambiguous (i.e., “partly correct” or “partly incorrect”). Pupillary response to each feedback condition was assessed. The results show an interaction between feedback accuracy and feedback clarity on pupil size. The largest pupil size was found in response to clear disconfirmatory feedback. The smallest pupil size was found in response to both clear and ambiguous confirmatory feedback. Crucially, the pupil responded to ambiguous confirmatory feedback as though it were wholly confirmatory. Moreover, pupil size in response to ambiguous disconfirmatory feedback was significantly smaller than response to clear disconfirmatory feedback, showing an overall trend towards confirmatory processing in the absence of clear disconfirmation. Additionally, we show a moderation by commitment towards the misconception. The greater the commitment, the larger the effect of belief-violating feedback on pupil size. These findings support recent theorizing in the field of misconceptions and, more generally, the field of inconsistency-compensation.Keywords: Confirmation bias; Pupillometry; Misconceptions; Error-Feedback; Inconsistency compensation",
keywords = "ADAPTIVE GAIN, ANXIETY, AROUSAL, BAD, COMPENSATION, Confirmation bias, Error-Feedback, Inconsistency compensation, Misconceptions, OBSERVER, PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE, PUPILLARY RESPONSES, Pupillometry, STUDENTS MISCONCEPTIONS, UNCERTAINTY",
author = "W. Sleegers and T. Proulx and {van Beest}, I.",
year = "2019",
doi = "10.1016/j.biopsycho.2019.03.018",
language = "English",
volume = "145",
pages = "76--83",
journal = "Biological Psychology",
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publisher = "Elsevier Science BV",

}

Confirmation bias and misconceptions : Pupillometric evidence for a confirmation bias in misconceptions feedback. / Sleegers, W. ; Proulx, T.; van Beest, I.

In: Biological Psychology, Vol. 145, 2019, p. 76-83.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Confirmation bias and misconceptions

T2 - Pupillometric evidence for a confirmation bias in misconceptions feedback

AU - Sleegers, W.

AU - Proulx, T.

AU - van Beest, I.

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - It has long been supposed that the confirmation bias plays a role in the prevalence and maintenance of misconceptions. However, this has been supported more by argument than by empirical evidence. In the present paper, we show how different types of belief-feedback evoke physiological responses consistent with the presence of a confirmation bias. Participants were presented with misconceptions and indicated whether they believed each misconception to be true or false, as well as how committed they were to the misconception. Each response was followed by feedback that was either clear (i.e., “correct” or “incorrect”) or ambiguous (i.e., “partly correct” or “partly incorrect”). Pupillary response to each feedback condition was assessed. The results show an interaction between feedback accuracy and feedback clarity on pupil size. The largest pupil size was found in response to clear disconfirmatory feedback. The smallest pupil size was found in response to both clear and ambiguous confirmatory feedback. Crucially, the pupil responded to ambiguous confirmatory feedback as though it were wholly confirmatory. Moreover, pupil size in response to ambiguous disconfirmatory feedback was significantly smaller than response to clear disconfirmatory feedback, showing an overall trend towards confirmatory processing in the absence of clear disconfirmation. Additionally, we show a moderation by commitment towards the misconception. The greater the commitment, the larger the effect of belief-violating feedback on pupil size. These findings support recent theorizing in the field of misconceptions and, more generally, the field of inconsistency-compensation.Keywords: Confirmation bias; Pupillometry; Misconceptions; Error-Feedback; Inconsistency compensation

AB - It has long been supposed that the confirmation bias plays a role in the prevalence and maintenance of misconceptions. However, this has been supported more by argument than by empirical evidence. In the present paper, we show how different types of belief-feedback evoke physiological responses consistent with the presence of a confirmation bias. Participants were presented with misconceptions and indicated whether they believed each misconception to be true or false, as well as how committed they were to the misconception. Each response was followed by feedback that was either clear (i.e., “correct” or “incorrect”) or ambiguous (i.e., “partly correct” or “partly incorrect”). Pupillary response to each feedback condition was assessed. The results show an interaction between feedback accuracy and feedback clarity on pupil size. The largest pupil size was found in response to clear disconfirmatory feedback. The smallest pupil size was found in response to both clear and ambiguous confirmatory feedback. Crucially, the pupil responded to ambiguous confirmatory feedback as though it were wholly confirmatory. Moreover, pupil size in response to ambiguous disconfirmatory feedback was significantly smaller than response to clear disconfirmatory feedback, showing an overall trend towards confirmatory processing in the absence of clear disconfirmation. Additionally, we show a moderation by commitment towards the misconception. The greater the commitment, the larger the effect of belief-violating feedback on pupil size. These findings support recent theorizing in the field of misconceptions and, more generally, the field of inconsistency-compensation.Keywords: Confirmation bias; Pupillometry; Misconceptions; Error-Feedback; Inconsistency compensation

KW - ADAPTIVE GAIN

KW - ANXIETY

KW - AROUSAL

KW - BAD

KW - COMPENSATION

KW - Confirmation bias

KW - Error-Feedback

KW - Inconsistency compensation

KW - Misconceptions

KW - OBSERVER

KW - PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE

KW - PUPILLARY RESPONSES

KW - Pupillometry

KW - STUDENTS MISCONCEPTIONS

KW - UNCERTAINTY

U2 - 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2019.03.018

DO - 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2019.03.018

M3 - Article

VL - 145

SP - 76

EP - 83

JO - Biological Psychology

JF - Biological Psychology

SN - 0301-0511

ER -