One of the essential insights from psychological research is that people’s information processing is often biased. By now, a number of different biases have been identified and empirically demonstrated. Unfortunately, however, these biases have often been examined in separate lines of research, thereby precluding the recognition of shared principles. Here it is argued that several—so far mostly unrelated—biases (e.g., bias blind spot, hostile media bias, egocentric/ethnocentric bias, outcome bias) can be traced back to the combination of a fundamental prior belief and humans’ tendency toward belief-consistent information processing. What varies between different biases is essentially the specific belief that guides information processing. More importantly, it is proposed that different biases even share the same underlying belief and differ only in the specific outcome of information processing that is assessed (i.e., the dependent variable), thus tapping into different manifestations of the same latent information processing. In other words, the authors propose for discussion a model that suffices to explain several different biases. They thereby suggest a more parsimonious approach compared with current theoretical explanations of these biases. They also generate novel hypotheses that follow directly from the integrative nature of our perspective.
Oeberst, Aileen and Roland Imhoff 2023: Toward Parsimony in Bias Research: A Proposed Common Framework of Belief-Consistent Information Processing for a Set of Biases. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 0:0.
The article is available here.