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Eran Eldar

If you don’t let it in, you don’t have to get it out: Thought preemption as a method to control unwanted thoughts

21 July, 2022

Trying to stop thinking unwanted, often repetitive thoughts is a familiar experience. However, being aware of such attempts implies that the thought has already reached consciousness. Can we preempt an unwanted thought from coming to mind in the first place?

Cognitive bias modification of inferential flexibility

Cognitive bias modification of inferential flexibility

5 July, 2022

Are things not going well right now? Having a bad day?

When people experience a negative life event, they tend to make causal inferences about the event. These inferred causes affect the way people experience events and respond to them. Over time, whereas some people revisit events and rethink about them, shift towards more adaptive inferences, others may stay stuck in their initial negative inference.

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Hierarchical inference as a source of human biases

26 June, 2022
Eran Eldar

It is common to think of human biases as resulting from limited cognitive resources. This idea has had immense influence on research, public policy, and popular culture, and it is no doubt correct in some cases. But it misses the fact that reaching biased judgments often requires integrating more, not less, information. What typically happens is that people are asked to use only a specific set of facts to form their judgments, but instead they also consider various contextual factors, such as how a question was framed or what was their emotional state at the time. Although this means they are taking into account information the experimenter may not have considered to be relevant, Paul Sharp and Isaac Fradkin from Eran Eldar’s lab demonstrate how this more complex form of inference can produce “rationally biased” judgements that benefit decision making in many contexts.

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