Activating reflective thinking with decision justification and debiasing training
Manipulations for activating reflective thinking, although regularly used in the literature, have not previously been systematically compared. There are growing concerns about the effectiveness of these methods as well as increasing demand for them. Here, we study five promising reflection manipulations using an objective performance measure — the Cognitive Reflection Test 2 (CRT-2). In our large-scale preregistered online experiment (N = 1,748), we compared a passive and an active control condition with time delay, memory recall, decision justification, debiasing training, and combination of debiasing training and decision justification. We found no evidence that online versions of the two regularly used reflection conditions — time delay and memory recall — improve cognitive performance. Instead, our study isolated two less familiar methods that can effectively and rapidly activate reflective thinking: (1) a brief debiasing training, designed to avoid common cognitive biases and increase reflection, and (2) simply asking participants to justify their decisions.