Better but still biased: Analytic cognitive style and belief bias

Dries Trippas*, Gordon Pennycook, Michael F. Verde, Simon J. Handley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Belief bias is the tendency for prior beliefs to influence people's deductive reasoning in two ways: through the application of a simple belief-heuristic (response bias) and through the application of more effortful reasoning for unbelievable conclusions (accuracy effect or motivated reasoning). Previous research indicates that cognitive ability is the primary determinant of the effect of beliefs on accuracy. In the current study, we show that the mere tendency to engage analytic reasoning (analytic cognitive style) is responsible for the effect of cognitive ability on motivated reasoning. The implications of this finding for our understanding of the impact of individual differences on belief bias are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-445
Number of pages15
JournalThinking and Reasoning
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Analytic cognitive style
  • Belief bias
  • Cognitive ability
  • Individual differences
  • Motivated reasoning
  • Response bias
  • Signal detection theory


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