2021 Student Research Conference:
34th Annual Student Research Conference

What I Should Have Done Was Nothing: Cognitive Bias Toward Action


Annie T. Schwend*, Nate B. Aldrich, Connor J. Firth, Norah A. Kovac, Katherine E. Speak, Emelia K. Durham, Jordan M. Clement, and Triston C. Robison
Prof. Karen Vittengl, Faculty Mentor

We investigated whether individuals have a cognitive bias toward action over inaction in decision making. We also examined whether any bias towards inaction has an interaction with personality, life satisfaction, rumination, and academic achievement. Participants (N=72) were given 14 scenarios all with a choice of inaction or action and a response on a Likert-type scale. Participants self-reported their ACT score, completed a personality test, the Satisfaction with Life Scale, and a rumination scale. Our findings showed that the average participant had a tendency towards more action than the situation warranted. Further, lower ACT scores were associated with a larger tendency toward action. There was not a statistically significant effect of framing the questions in terms of action (vs. inaction). Understanding these biases may aid people in making better decisions.

Keywords: Heuristics, Decision Making, Action, Inaction, Personality, Satisfaction with Life, Rumination, Academic Achievement

Topic(s):Psychology

Presentation Type: Asynchronous Virtual Oral Presentation

Session: 18-1
Location: https://flipgrid.com/fc0c5b54
Time: 0:00

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