Cognitive reflection, decision biases, and response times

Carlos Alós-Ferrer, Michele Garagnani, Sabine Hügelschäfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present novel evidence on response times and personality traits in standard questions from the decision-making literature where responses are relatively slow (medians around half a minute or above). To this end, we measured response times in a number of incentivized, framed items (decisions from description) including the Cognitive Reflection Test, two additional questions following the same logic, and a number of classic questions used to study decision biases in probability judgments (base-rate neglect, the conjunction fallacy, and the ratio bias). All questions create a conflict between an intuitive process and more deliberative thinking. For each item, we then created a non-conflict version by either making the intuitive impulse correct (resulting in an alignment question), shutting it down (creating a neutral question), or making it dominant (creating a heuristic question). For CRT questions, the differences in response times are as predicted by dual-process theories, with alignment and heuristic variants leading to faster responses and neutral questions to slower responses than the original, conflict questions. For decision biases (where responses are slower), evidence is mixed. To explore the possible influence of personality factors on both choices and response times, we used standard personality scales including the Rational-Experiential Inventory and the Big Five, and used them as controls in regression analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1402
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberSEP
StatePublished - Sep 22 2016


  • Bayesian updating
  • Cognitive reflection
  • Decision biases
  • Decision making
  • Multiple processes
  • Response times

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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