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Cognitive constraints increase estimation biases: Cognitive load and delay in judgments

Allred, Sarah and Crawford, L. Elizabeth and Duffy, Sean and Smith, John (2014): Cognitive constraints increase estimation biases: Cognitive load and delay in judgments.

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Abstract

Previous work has demonstrated that memory for simple stimuli can be biased by information about the category of which the stimulus is a member. These biases have been interpreted as optimally integrating noisy sensory information with category information. A separate literature has demonstrated that cognitive load can lead to biases in social cognition. Here we link the two, asking whether delay (Experiment 1) and cognitive load (Experiment 2) affect the extent to which observers' memories for simple line stimuli are affected by category information. We found that delay and cognitive load have similar effects: both manipulations increase the weight of category information on memory for stimuli. We discuss the broad implications of such findings on fields such as eyewitness testimony.

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