When saying that you are biased means that you are acurate? The moderating effect of cognitive structuring on relationship between metacognitive self and confirmation bias use

  • Yoram Bar-Tal
  • Hanna Brycz
  • Barbara Dolinska
  • Dariusz Dolinski


The aim of our study was to answer two questions: 1. How accurate are the reports of people who assert they are biased? 2. Why do people who know they are biased tend to engage in more inappropriate behavior? A total of 340 undergraduate students participated in the study. They followed a special procedure measuring cognitive structuring, efficacy to fulfill personal need to achieve cognitive structuring, metacognitive self (i.e. self-awareness of biases), and the level of performed confirmation bias. The procedure was created for investigating confirmation bias concerning the perception of self versus others. The first question may be answered by the assertion that the more metacognitive self-awareness of biases a person possesses, the more confirmation bias they exhibit. The pattern of results concerning the second issue demonstrates that only efficacy to fulfill personal need for structure (EFEN) moderates the relationship between metacognitive self and confirmation bias. Thus, only low-EFEN individuals perceived the extent of their use of biases more accurately. We explain the effect in terms of cognitive processing style: an individual inclination for piecemeal processes.


Cognitive structuring Metacognition Confirmation bias Self versus other 



The studies and preparation of this manuscript were sponsored by the Polish Centre for Science (NCN), grant number DEC-2012/07/B/HS6/02580.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures in studies involving human participants were performed in accordance with the ethical standards of institutional and national research committees, and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individuals participating in the study.

Conflict of Interest

Yoram Bar-Tal declares that he has no conflict of interest. Hanna Brycz declares that she has no conflict of interest. Barbara Dolinska declares that she has no conflict of interest. Dariusz Dolinski declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sackler Faculty of MedicineTel-Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of GdanskGdanskPoland
  3. 3.Faculty of Social SciencesOpole UniversityOpolePoland
  4. 4.Faculty of Psychology in WroclawSWPS University of Social Sciences and HumanitiesWarszawaPoland

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