Michał Białek

Michał Białek
University of Wroclaw | WROC · Instytut Psychologii

Professor
Judgment and Decision Making

About

126
Publications
61,978
Reads
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1,194
Citations
Citations since 2016
113 Research Items
1180 Citations
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Introduction
I'm looking for a post-doc to join my lab. Nice, people, great city, competitive salary. DM me for details. I'm working on biases in cognition: decision making, reasoning, and moral judgments. Most recently my work concerns how sunk costs, omissions, nudges, and defaults affect decision making, e.g., intertemporal choice and moral judgments. Currently funded to research the foreign language effect and sin stocks.
Additional affiliations
August 2017 - August 2019
University of Waterloo
Position
  • PostDoc Position
March 2013 - September 2019
Kozminski University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
February 2013 - July 2013
University of Plymouth
Position
  • Researcher
Education
September 2009 - January 2013
Polish Academy of Sciences
Field of study
  • Psychology
June 2001 - May 2006
University of Lodz
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (126)
Article
Full-text available
The prominent dual process model of moral cognition suggests that reasoners intuitively detect that harming others is wrong (deontological System-1 morality) but have to engage in demanding deliberation to realize that harm can be acceptable depending on the consequences (utilitarian System-2 morality). But the nature of the interaction between the...
Article
Full-text available
The Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) is a widely used measure of the propensity to engage in analytic or deliberative reasoning in lieu of gut feelings or intuitions. CRT problems are unique because they reliably cue intuitive but incorrect responses and, therefore, appear simple among those who do poorly. By virtue of being comprised of so-called “...
Article
According to the principle of utilitarianism, the moral status of an action depends on its consequences for the greater good; the principle of deontology states that the moral status of an action depends on its consistency with moral norms. Previous research suggests that processing moral dilemmas in a foreign language influences utilitarian and de...
Article
Bilinguals, in their foreign language, are spared from several decision-making biases. We examined this "Foreign Language Effect" in the context of logical reasoning, in which reasoners are required to track the logical status of a syllogism, ignoring its believability. Across three experiments, we found the reverse Foreign Language Effect; foreign...
Article
Full-text available
The "drunk utilitarian" phenomenon suggests that people are more likely to accept harm for the greater good when they are under the influence of alcohol. This phenomenon conflicts with the ideas that (1) acceptance of pro-sacrificial harm requires inhibitory control of automatic emotional responses to the idea of causing harm and (2) alcohol impair...
Article
Bermúdez argues that a framing effect is rational, which will be true if one accepts that the biased editing phase is rational. This type of rationality was called procedural by Simon. Despite being procedurally rational in the evaluation phase framing effect stems from biased way we set a reference point against which outcomes are compared.
Preprint
Full-text available
How well can social scientists predict societal change, and what processes underlie their predictions? To answer these questions, we ran two forecasting tournaments testing accuracy of predictions of societal change in domains commonly studied in the social sciences: ideological preferences, political polarization, life satisfaction, sentiment on s...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic (and its aftermath) highlights a critical need to communicate health information effectively to the global public. Given that subtle differences in information framing can have meaningful effects on behavior, behavioral science research highlights a pressing question: Is it more effective to frame COVID-19 health messages in t...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased negative emotions and decreased positive emotions globally. Left unchecked, these emotional changes might have a wide array of adverse impacts. To reduce negative emotions and increase positive emotions, we tested the effectiveness of reappraisal, an emotion-regulation strategy that modifies how one thinks about...
Article
Aims and objectives/purpose/research questions Extant research suggests that processing information in a second language (L2) affects decision-making, possibly by affecting metacognition. We hypothesized that processing in L2 will reduce the bias blind spot effect, whereby people (on average) erroneously think that they are less susceptible to bias...
Article
Full-text available
At the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 became a global problem. Despite all the efforts to emphasize the relevance of preventive measures, not everyone adhered to them. Thus, learning more about the characteristics determining attitudinal and behavioral responses to the pandemic is crucial to improving future interventions. In this study, we applied ma...
Article
Full-text available
Mere ownership effect is the phenomenon that people tend to value what they own more than what they do not own. This classic effect is considered robust, yet effect sizes vary across studies, and the effect is often confused for or confounded with other classic phenomena, such as endowment or mere exposure effects. We conducted a pre-registered met...
Preprint
Full-text available
Using a foreign language is suggested to affect how we think and decide. However, the exact mechanisms of its influence are still unknown. In this project, we tested one of the potential mechanisms: increased cognitive engagement in a foreign language. If so, we would expect increased performance in cognitive ability tests, e.g., in numeracy, when...
Preprint
Full-text available
Intuitions about ownership, originally established in Canadian preschooler, were tested in children of indigenous Papuan society (N = 79, Mage = 7, 49.4% female). Successful replications of the findings showed that people infer ownership from (1) control of permission, (2) ownership of the territory the object is located in, and (3) manmade vs natu...
Article
Full-text available
The study of moral judgements often centres on moral dilemmas in which options consistent with deontological perspectives (that is, emphasizing rules, individual rights and duties) are in conflict with options consistent with utilitarian judgements (that is, following the greater good based on consequences). Greene et al. (2009) showed that psychol...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Communicating in ways that motivate engagement in social distancing remains a critical global public health priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study tested motivational qualities of messages about social distancing (those that promoted choice and agency vs. those that were forceful and shaming) in 25,718 people in 89 countries...
Article
Full-text available
In five experiments with a total N = 1558, we studied to which extent the perception of wrongdoers’ morality depends on wrongdoers’ cognitive and emotional penitence on the example of deontological beliefs and guilt. Both types of penitence improved the target’s moral impressions to a similar degree. We established a penitence congruity effect, whe...
Article
Full-text available
Judgments differ from decisions. Judgments are more abstract, decontextualized, and bear fewer consequences for the agent. In pursuit of experimental control, psychological experiments on bias create a simplified, bare-bone representation of social behavior. These experiments resemble conditions in which people judge others, but not how they make r...
Article
Full-text available
Investors sometimes invest in the so-called “sin” stocks that cause social harm as a by-product of doing business (e.g., tobacco companies). Three studies examined whether people who reject harm and maximize outcomes in sacrificial dilemmas approve less of investing in sin (but not conventional) stocks. We employed process dissociation to assess ha...
Article
Full-text available
Changing collective behaviour and supporting non-pharmaceutical interventions is an important component in mitigating virus transmission during a pandemic. In a large international collaboration (Study 1, N = 49,968 across 67 countries), we investigated self-reported factors associated with public health behaviours (e.g., spatial distancing and str...
Preprint
Full-text available
Mere ownership effect is the phenomenon that people tend to value what they own more than what they do not own. This classic effect is considered robust, yet effect sizes vary across studies, and the effect is often confused for or confounded with other classic phenomena, such as endowment or mere exposure effects. We conducted a pre-registered met...
Preprint
To further understand how to combat COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy, we examined the effects of pro-vaccine expert consensus messaging on lay attitudes of vaccine safety and intention to vaccinate. We surveyed N = 729 individuals from four countries. Regardless of its content, consensus messaging had an overall small positive effect. Most critically...
Preprint
Full-text available
Although the susceptibility to reasoning biases is often assumed to be a stable trait, the temporal stability of people’s performance on popular heuristics-and-biases tasks has been rarely directly tested. The present study addressed this issue and examined a potential determinant for answer change. Participants solved the same set of “bias” tasks...
Article
Full-text available
Mammalian body odour conveys cues about an individual’s emotional state that can be recognised by conspecifics. Thus far, little attention has been paid to interspecific odour communication of emotions, and no studies have examined whether humans are able to recognise animal emotions from body odour. Thus, the aim of the present study was to addres...
Article
Full-text available
Earlier findings suggest that men with daughters make judgments and decisions somewhat in line with those made by women. In this paper, we attempt to extend those findings, by testing how gender and parenting daughters affect judgments of the appropriateness of investing in and working for morally controversial companies (“sin stocks”). To do so, i...
Article
Full-text available
Across six studies (N = 1988 US residents and 81 traditional people of Papua), participants judged agents acting in sacrificial moral dilemmas. Utilitarian agents, described as opting to sacrifice a single individual for the greater good, were perceived as less predictable and less moral than deontological agents whose inaction resulted in five peo...
Article
Full-text available
Across six studies (N = 2646), we demonstrate the role that perceptions of predictability play in judgments of moral character, finding that people demonstrate a moral preference for more predictable immoral actors. Participants judged agents performing an immoral action (e.g., assault) for an unintelligible reason as less predictable and less mora...
Article
The mere ownership effect is an increase in the subjective value of owned objects compared to identical but non-owned objects. We tested whether the effect differs in magnitude between material and immaterial objects (e.g., information). Three hundred participants played an incentivized detective game in which they had to connect clues to identify...
Preprint
The mere ownership effect is an increase in the subjective value of owned objects compared to identical but non-owned objects. We tested whether the effect differs in magnitude between material and immaterial objects (e.g., information). Three hundred participants played an incentivized detective game in which they had to connect clues to identify...
Preprint
Full-text available
Extant research suggests that processing information in a second language (L2) affects decision making, possibly by affecting metacognition. We hypothesized that processing in L2 will reduce the bias blind spot effect, whereby people (on average) erroneously think that they are less susceptible to biases than others. In Experiment 1, participants a...
Preprint
Full-text available
To analyze the results of the research, behavioral scientists widely use a statistical rule that sets the significance level to 0.05. Recently, two recommendations on how to improve statistical inference were published: to redefine statistical significance to 0.005, and to select and justify the alpha. We analyzed the empirical work that cited the...
Preprint
The “drunk utilitarian” phenomenon suggests that people are more likely to accept harm for the greater good when they are under the influence of alcohol. This phenomenon conflicts with the ideas that (1) acceptance of pro-sacrificial harm requires inhibitory control of automatic emotional responses to the idea of causing harm and (2) alcohol impair...
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite autonomous vehicles (AVs) being safer than human drivers, people are averse to their presence on roads. Across three studies (N = 4,014), we examined peoples’ perceptions of human drivers and AVs acting within a moral dilemma. Scenarios involved an out-of-control vehicle (piloted by a human, or autonomously) that could stay on its present c...
Data
Across six studies (N = 2646), we demonstrate the role that perceptions of predictability play in judgments of moral character, finding that people demonstrate a moral preference for more predictable immoral actors. Participants judged agents performing an immoral action (e.g., assault) for an unintelligible reason as less predictable and less mora...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Despite autonomous vehicles (AVs) being safer than human drivers, people are averse to their presence on roads. Across three studies (N = 4,014), we examined peoples' perceptions of human drivers and AVs acting within a moral dilemma. Scenarios involved an out-of-control vehicle (piloted by a human, or autonomously) that could stay on its present c...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased negative emotions and decreased positive emotions globally. Left unchecked, these emotional changes might have a wide array of adverse impacts. To reduce negative emotions and increase positive emotions, we tested the effectiveness of reappraisal, an emotion-regulation strategy that modifies how one thinks about...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased negative emotions and decreased positive emotions globally. Left unchecked, these emotional changes might have a wide array of adverse impacts. To reduce negative emotions and increase positive emotions, we tested the effectiveness of reappraisal, an emotion-regulation strategy that modifies how one thinks about...
Preprint
Full-text available
Across six studies (N = 2,646), we demonstrate the role that perceptions of predictability play in judgments of moral character, finding that people demonstrate a moral preference for more predictable immoral actors. Participants judged agents performing an immoral action (e.g., assault) for an unintelligible reason as less predictable and less mor...
Data
Across six studies (N = 2,646), we demonstrate the role that perceptions of predictability play in judgments of moral character, finding that people demonstrate a moral preference for more predictable immoral actors. Participants judged agents performing an immoral action (e.g., assault) for an unintelligible reason as less predictable and less mor...
Article
Full-text available
First demonstrated by Staw (1976), escalation of commitment is the tendency for an individual to increase their commitment to a failing course of action when they are personally responsible for the negative consequences. An attempt was made to replicate this finding and test whether individual differences in numeracy and cognitive reflection could...
Preprint
Full-text available
Across six studies (N = 1,988 US residents and 81 traditional people of Papua), participants judged agents acting in sacrificial moral dilemmas. Utilitarian agents, described as opting to sacrifice a single individual for the greater good, were perceived as less predictable and less moral than deontological agents whose inaction resulted in five pe...
Preprint
Full-text available
Effectively motivating social distancing—keeping a physical distance from others —has become a global public health priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. This cross-country preregistered experiment (n=25,718 in 89 countries) tested hypotheses derived from self-determination theory concerning generalizable positive and negative outcomes of differen...
Article
Full-text available
Intertemporal choice requires one to decide between smaller sooner and larger later payoffs and is captured by discount rates. Across two preregistered experiments testing three language pairs (Experiment 1) and with incentivized participants (Experiment 2), we found no evidence that using a foreign language benefited intertemporal choices. On the...
Preprint
Full-text available
Judgments differ from decisions. Judgments are more abstract, decontextualized and bear fewer consequences for the agent. In pursuit of experimental control, psychological experiments on bias create a simplified, bare-bone representation of social behavior. These experiments resemble conditions in which people judge others, but not how they make re...
Preprint
Full-text available
When using their foreign language, proficient Polish-English bilinguals found false news as more believable, true news as less believable, and discerned one from another less accurately. The effect cannot be attributed to greater arousal of news read in foreign vs native language nor to changes in cognitive reflection of individuals. We also found...
Article
Full-text available
In response to crises, people sometimes prioritize fewer specific identifiable victims over many unspecified statistical victims. How other factors can explain this bias remains unclear. So two experiments investigated how complying with public health recommendations during the COVID19 pandemic depended on victim portrayal, reflection, and philosop...
Preprint
Full-text available
In response to crises, people sometimes prioritize fewer specific identifiable victims over many unspecified statistical victims. How other factors can explain this bias remains unclear. So two experiments investigated how complying with public health recommendations during the COVID19 pandemic depended on victim portrayal, reflection, and philosop...
Preprint
In four experiments with N = 1178, we study the impact of wrongdoers’ moral beliefs and emotions on their morality judgments. We establish a moral superadditivity effect, whereby jointly signaling socially desirable deontological beliefs (“What I did is unacceptable”) and socially desirable moral emotions (“I feel guilty”) made that participants ev...
Preprint
Full-text available
In this chapter, the way people consider possibilities in decision making are unpacked and explored. It begins by outlining the concept of rational choice – what a decision maker ought to choose. Specifically, it discusses how, for a given decision, a rational choice can (or cannot) be determined. Whether people often make rational choices, and wha...
Article
Full-text available
In order to gain an insight into scholars’ concerns emerging from the COVID-19 crisis, we asked scientists from all over the world about their attitudes and predictions regarding the repercussions of this current crisis on academia. Our data showed that the academic world was placed in an unprecedented situation. Results further showed that everybo...
Article
Full-text available
Replication studies in psychological science sometimes fail to reproduce prior findings. If these studies use methods that are unfaithful to the original study or ineffective in eliciting the phenomenon of interest, then a failure to replicate may be a failure of the protocol rather than a challenge to the original finding. Formal pre-data-collecti...
Preprint
Full-text available
Earlier findings suggest that men with daughters make judgments and decisions somewhat in line with those made by women. In this paper, we attempt to extend those findings, by testing how gender and parenting daughters affect judgments of the appropriateness of investing in and working for morally controversial companies ("sin stocks"). To do so, i...
Article
Full-text available
While they usually should, people do not revise their beliefs more to expert (economist) opinion than to lay opinion. The present research sought to better understand the factors that make it more likely for an individual to change their mind when faced with the opinions of expert economists versus the general public. Across five studies we examine...
Article
Full-text available
Drawing on the concept of a gale of creative destruction in a capitalistic economy, we argue that initiatives to assess the robustness of findings in the organizational literature should aim to simultaneously test competing ideas operating in the same theoretical space. In other words, replication efforts should seek not just to support or question...
Article
Full-text available
In a test of their global-/local-processing-style model, Förster, Liberman, and Kuschel (2008) found that people assimilate a primed concept (e.g., “aggressive”) into their social judgments after a global prime (e.g., they rate a person as being more aggressive than do people in a no-prime condition) but contrast their judgment away from the primed...
Preprint
Full-text available
Investors sometimes invest in so-called 'sin' stocks that cause social harm as a byproduct of doing business (e.g., tobacco companies). Two studies examined whether people who demonstrate moral concerns in sacrificial dilemmas approve less of investing in sin (but not conventional) stocks. We employed process dissociation to assess harm-rejection (...
Article
Full-text available
We experimentally test whether men and women differ in their propensity to hold morally controversial ("sin") stocks. Participants (N = 335) were recruited via Mechanical Turk and rated the moral appropriateness and level of comfort resulting from holding controversial and conventional stocks. Results show that women rate sin stocks as less morally...
Preprint
Full-text available
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a devastating global health crisis. Without a vaccine or effective medication, the best hope for mitigating virus transmission is collective behavior change and support for public health interventions (e.g., physical distancing, physical hygiene, and endorsement of health policies). In a large-scale international co...
Article
Full-text available
Pathogen threat can translate into a willingness to distance oneself from others on a psychological level. Building on this notion, we predicted that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic can affect attitudes toward foreign nationalities. We explored the intergroup consequences of the current epidemiological situation in two studies involving a total of...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated the scope of the effect of disgust on moral judgments. In two field experiments (Experiment 1, N = 142, Experiment 2, N = 248), we manipulated whether participants were exposed to a disgusting odor. Participants then rated the permissibility of actions in two kinds of moral problems: dilemmas and transgressions. In both experiments,...
Article
Full-text available
Previous work has demonstrated that peoples’ gambling-related judgments (e.g., perceived likelihood of winning) are often biased by non-diagnostic unclaimed prize information (i.e., the number of prizes still available to be won) resulting in non-optimal scratch card preferences. Another line of research suggests that people make less biased decisi...
Article
Full-text available
Peoples' judgments and decisions often change when made in their foreign language. Existing research testing this foreign language effect has predominantly used text-based stimuli with little research focusing on the impact of listening to audio stimuli on the effect. The only existing study on this topic found shifts in people's moral decisions on...