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Journal Article

Dogmatism manifests in lowered information search under uncertainty


Schulz,  L
Department of Computational Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Schulz, L., Rollwage, M., Dolan, R., & Fleming, S. (2020). Dogmatism manifests in lowered information search under uncertainty. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(49), 31527-31534. doi:10.1073/pnas.2009641117.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-711D-A
When knowledge is scarce, it is adaptive to seek further information to resolve uncertainty and obtain a more accurate worldview. Biases in such information-seeking behavior can contribute to the maintenance of inaccurate views. Here, we investigate whether predispositions for uncertainty-guided information seeking relate to individual differences in dogmatism, a phenomenon linked to entrenched beliefs in political, scientific, and religious discourse. We addressed this question in a perceptual decision-making task, allowing us to rule out motivational factors and isolate the role of uncertainty. In two independent general population samples (n = 370 and n = 364), we show that more dogmatic participants are less likely to seek out new information to refine an initial perceptual decision, leading to a reduction in overall belief accuracy despite similar initial decision performance. Trial-by-trial modeling revealed that dogmatic participants placed less reliance on internal signals of uncertainty (confidence) to guide information search, rendering them less likely to seek additional information to update beliefs derived from weak or uncertain initial evidence. Together, our results highlight a cognitive mechanism that may contribute to the formation of dogmatic worldviews.