How Prone are Bulgarians to Heuristics and Biases? Implications for Studying Rationality across Cultures

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
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  • 1 Department of General, Experimental, and Developmental Psychology, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”
  • 2 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands

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Abstract

Dual-processes theories of cognition implicitly assume universality of the human mind. However, research has shown that large-scale differences exist in thinking styles across cultures. Thereby, the universality of the effects found in Western samples remains an open empirical question. Here, we explored whether effects predicted by prospect theory, such as the framing effect, would be observed in a sample of 312 Bulgarian students. Overall, the size of the framing effect was smaller than in the original studies. Most notably, we failed to reproduce the framing effect in the famous Asian Disease problem, using a rating response format. In a between-subjects design, decision- making performance was completely independent of university admission grades. We propose that studying the size of the effects across cultures is needed in order to establish the effects’ level of universality. More broadly, we suggest ways in which knowledge of cultural settings can help elaborate or test dual-process predictions.

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