Dunning-Kruger Effect: Intuitive Errors Predict Overconfidence on the Cognitive Reflection Test

Frontiers in Psychology 12 (2021)
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Abstract

The Cognitive Reflection Test is a measure of analytical reasoning that cues an intuitive but incorrect response that must be rejected for successful performance to be attained. The CRT yields two types of errors: Intuitive errors, which are attributed to Type 1 processes; and non-intuitive errors, which result from poor numeracy skills or deficient reasoning. Past research shows that participants who commit the highest numbers of errors on the CRT overestimate their performance the most, whereas those with the lowest error-rates tend to slightly underestimate. This is an example of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. The present study examined how intuitive vs. non-intuitive errors contribute to overestimation in the CRT at different levels of performance. Female undergraduate students completed a seven-item CRT test and subsequently estimated their raw score. They also filled out the Faith in Intuition questionnaire, which is a dispositional measure of intuitive thinking. Data was separated into quartiles based on level of performance on the CRT. The results demonstrated the DKE. Additionally, intuitive and non-intuitive errors predicted miscalibration among low, but not high performers. However, intuitive errors were a stronger predictor of miscalibration. Finally, FI was positively correlated with CRT self-estimates and miscalibration, indicating that participants who perceived themselves to be more intuitive were worse at estimating their score. These results taken together suggest that participants who perform poorly in the CRT and also those who score higher in intuitive thinking disposition are more susceptible to the influences of heuristic-based cues, such as answer fluency, when judging their performance.

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