About this Research Topic
The traditional view on human nature defines people as rational animals, capable of planning their actions to maximize the desired outcome in a close-to-optimal way. Today, however, we know that our behaviors and decisions are often guided by simple rules that exploit regularities in the environment, instead of taking into account all relevant information, which is more effortful. Therefore, human behavior is not as flexible as once proposed: although it is adapted and useful in most contexts, it can also be suboptimal and even problematic in others. This has been revealed in many domains, such as consumer behavior, or clinical, affective, and financial decisions. The consequences of such actions derived from simple rules range from trivial to life-or-death (as is the case of many decisions made in the medical context). This new understanding of human behavior was possible only thanks to the cooperation between different scientific disciplines, including experimental psychology, economics, and neuroscience. Crucially, this research endeavor has unveiled a critical feature in people’s decisions: rather than being random, the errors that people make are often predictable and systematic. This gave rise to the concept of “cognitive bias”: a process that deviates judgments, decisions, and actions consistently in a particular way.
In recent decades, research in the mentioned fields has described many instances of cognitive biases, identified a number of factors or situations that promote or modulate them, and proposed potential explanatory mechanisms that underlie these processes. As a result, researchers are now endowed with the ability to predict which conditions will be more likely to bias people’s inferences and actions. To a lesser extent, researchers have proposed solutions and strategies to prevent or to reduce the negative impact of cognitive biases in people’s lives.
This Research Topic will cover recent advances and studies on how cognitive biases affect judgments and decisions and how they could be reduced by means of interventions, without endorsing any particular theoretical framework. We welcome a variety of methodological approaches and tools (experimental, individual differences, neuroscience, educational interventions, etc.), and contexts or domains of application (economical, medical, social), including theory-focused proposals. By bringing together researchers from different fields and traditions, we hope to further stimulate the advance in our understanding of cognitive biases and contribute to developing strategies aimed at countering them.
Keywords: reasoning, judgment, decision making, irrationality, cognitive bias
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.