Barnabas Szaszi, Bence Palfi, Aba Szollosi, Pascal J. Kieslich, Balazs Aczel
Thinking dynamics and individual differences: Mouse-tracking analysis of the denominator neglect task

Judgment and Decision Making, 2018: 13, issue 1, pp. 23–32
ISSN: 1930-2975

Most decision-making models describing individual differences in heuristics and biases tasks build on the assumption that reasoners produce a first incorrect answer in a quick, automatic way which they may or may not override later and that the advantage of high capacity reasoners arises from this late correction mechanism. To investigate this assumption, we developed a mouse-tracking analysis technique to capture individuals’ first answers and subsequent thinking dynamics. Across two denominator neglect task experiments, we observed that individuals initially move the mouse cursor towards the correct answer option in a substantial number of cases suggesting that reasoners may not always produce an incorrect answer first. Furthermore, we observed that, compared to low capacity reasoners, high capacity individuals revise their first answer more frequently if it is incorrect and make fewer changes if it is correct. However, we did not find evidence that high capacity individuals produce correct initial answers more frequently. Consistent with the predictions of previous decision-making models, these results suggest that in the denominator neglect task the capacity-normativity relationship arises after the initial response is formulated. The present work demonstrates how the analysis of mouse trajectories can be utilized to investigate individual differences in decision-making and help us better apprehend the dynamics of thinking behind decision biases.