Miroslav Sirota

Miroslav Sirota
University of Essex · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

109
Publications
36,133
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1,337
Citations
Additional affiliations
July 2014 - August 2015
Kingston University London
Position
  • Lecturer
September 2011 - July 2014
King's College London
Position
  • Researcher

Publications

Publications (109)
Article
Objective: Clinically irrelevant but psychologically important factors such as patients' expectations for antibiotics encourage overprescribing. We aimed to (a) provide missing causal evidence of this effect, (b) identify whether the expectations distort the perceived probability of a bacterial infection either in a pre- or postdecisional distorti...
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Background: First impressions are thought to exert a disproportionate influence on subsequent judgments; however, their role in medical diagnosis has not been systematically studied. We aimed to elicit and measure the association between first impressions and subsequent diagnoses in common presentations with subtle indications of cancer. Methods:...
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People appear to be Bayesian when statistical information is presented in terms of natural frequencies and non-Bayesian when presented in terms of single-event probabilities, unless the probabilities resemble natural frequencies, for example, as chances. The isomorphic format of chances, however, does not always facilitate performance to the extent...
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Applied to uncertainty communication, politeness theory postulates that when announcing bad news (1) speakers may intend not only to inform, but also to manage (e.g., save) the hearers’ or speakers’ own faces (i.e., face-managing intentions), and (2) speakers may perform face-managing intentions by altering the explicitly communicated probability....
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The presentation of a Bayesian inference problem in terms of natural frequencies rather than probabilities has been shown to enhance performance. The effect of individual differences in cognitive processing on Bayesian reasoning has rarely been studied, despite enabling us to test process-oriented variants of the two main accounts of the facilitati...
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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
The World Health Organization established that the risk of suffering severe symptoms from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is higher for some groups, but this does not mean their chances of infection are higher. However, public health messages often highlight the "increased risk" for these groups such that the risk could be interpreted as being about...
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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...
Preprint
The World Health Organization established that the risk of suffering severe symptoms from COVID-19 is higher for some groups, but this does not mean their chances of infection are higher. However, public health messages often highlight the “increased risk” for these groups such that the risk could be interpreted as being about contracting an infect...
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Perceptions of social norms can have downstream consequences for attitudes and behaviors, especially when it comes to the acceptance of marginalized groups. While interventions focusing on social norms may boost tolerance, few studies test whether variations in norm communication affect individuals’ perceptions. Thus, in this paper, we test the eff...
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This study aimed to investigate age differences in risk-taking concerning the coronavirus pandemic, while disentangling the contribution of risk attitude, objective risk and numeracy. We tested (i) whether older and younger adults differed in taking coronavirus-related health risks, (ii) whether there are age differences in coronavirus risk, risk a...
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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...
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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...
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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
3AbstractThe Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) is one of the most popular measures of individual differences inrational thoughtanddecision making. Nevertheless, it overlaps substantially with numeracy and intelligence, which impede the interpretation of results.The present researchhad two main aims. First,to investigate the generalizability of Verbal...
Article
When people are given quantified information (e.g., ‘there is a 60% chance of rain’), the format of quantifiers (i.e., numerical: ‘a 60% chance’ vs. verbal: ‘it is likely’) might affect their decisions. Previous studies with indirect cues of judgements and decisions (e.g., response times, decision outcomes) give inconsistent findings that could sup...
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We tested the link between COVID-19 conspiracy theories and health protective behaviours in three studies: one at the onset of the pandemic in the United Kingdom (UK), a second just before the first national lockdown, and a third during that lockdown (N = 302, 404 and 399). We focused on conspiracy theories that did not deny the existence of COVID-...
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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...
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The attribute framing effect, where people judge a quantity of an item more positively with a positively described attribute (e.g., “75% lean”) than its negative, albeit normatively equivalent description (e.g., “25% fat”), is a robust phenomenon, which may be moderated under certain conditions. In this paper, we investigated the moderating effect...
Preprint
The standard interpretation of cognitive reflection tests assumes that correct responses are reflective and lured responses are unreflective. However, prior process-tracing of mathematical reflection tests has cast doubt on this interpretation. In two studies (N = 201), we deployed a validated think-aloud protocol in-person and online to test how t...
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Background Recent evidence suggests that brain activity following the offset of a stimulus during encoding contributes to long-term memory formation, however the exact mechanisms underlying offset-related encoding are still unclear. Objectives Here, in three transcranial magnetic stimulation studies (rTMS) we investigated offset-related activity i...
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People often expect antibiotics when they are clinically inappropriate (e.g., for viral infections). This contributes significantly to physicians' decisions to prescribe antibiotics when they are clinically inappropriate, causing harm to the individual and to society. In two pre-registered studies employing UK general population samples (n1 = 402;...
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Over the past 10 years, Oosterhof and Todorov’s valence–dominance model has emerged as the most prominent account of how people evaluate faces on social dimensions. In this model, two dimensions (valence and dominance) underpin social judgements of faces. Because this model has primarily been developed and tested in Western regions, it is unclear w...
Preprint
Full-text available
The fast-changing COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to many conspiracy theories, and these have the potential to undermine public health measures and safeguarding behaviours. We conducted three studies before and during the COVID-19 lockdown in the United Kingdom (UK) (n = 302, 404 and 399) to (i) identify the prevalence of COVID-19 conspiracy theor...
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When people communicate uncertainty, do they prefer to use words (e.g., “a chance”, “possible”) or numbers (e.g., “20%”, “a 1 in 2 chance”)? To answer this question, past research drew from a range of methodologies, yet failed to provide a clear-cut answer. Building on a review of existing methodologies, theoretical accounts and empirical findings,...
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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) currently communicates uncertainty using a lexicon that features four negative verbal probabilities to convey extremely low to medium probabilities (e.g. unlikely). We compare a positive probability lexicon with the IPCC lexicon in a series of psychology experiments. We find that although the pos...
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Full-text available
The cognitive reflection test (CRT) became popular for its impressive power to predict how well people reason and make decisions. Despite the popularity of the CRT, a major issue complicates its interpretation: The numerical nature of the CRT confounds reflection ability with mathematical ability. We have addressed this issue by developing the verb...
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Full-text available
People find positive attribute frames (e.g., 75% lean) more persuasive than negative ones (e.g., 25% fat). In three pre-registered experiments, we tested whether this effect would be magnified by using verbal quantifiers instead of numerical ones (e.g., ‘high % lean’ vs. ‘75% lean’). This moderating effect of quantifier format was predicted based o...
Preprint
People find positive attribute frames (e.g., 75% lean) more persuasive than negative ones (e.g., 25% fat). In three pre-registered experiments, we tested whether this effect would be magnified by using verbal quantifiers instead of numerical ones (e.g., ‘high % lean’ vs. ‘75% lean’). This moderating effect of quantifier format was predicted based o...
Article
Prior research has suggested that perceptual disfluency activates analytical processing and increases the solution rate of mathematical problems with appealing but incorrect answers (i.e., the Cognitive Reflection Test, hereafter CRT). However, a recent meta-analysis does not support such a conclusion. We tested here whether insufficient numerical...
Preprint
Full-text available
When people are given quantified information (e.g., ‘there is a 60% chance of rain’), the format of quantifiers (i.e., numerical: ‘a 60% chance’ vs. verbal: ‘it is likely’) might affect their decisions. Previous studies with indirect cues of judgements and decisions (e.g., response times, decision outcomes) give inconsistent findings that could sup...
Article
Clinical guidelines recommend that physicians educate patients about illnesses and antibiotics to eliminate inappropriate preferences for antibiotics. We expected that information provision about illnesses and antibiotics would reduce but not eliminate inappropriate preferences for antibiotics and that cognitive biases could explain why some people...
Article
Objectives To reduce overprescribing, health campaigns urge physicians to provide people with information regarding appropriate antibiotic use and encourage the public to trust their physicians’ prescribing decisions. We test (1) whether providing individuals with complete information about the viral aetiology of an illness and the ineffectiveness...
Article
Past research suggests that people process verbal quantifiers differently from numerical ones, but this suggestion has yet to be formally tested. Drawing from traditional correlates of dual-process theories, we investigated whether people process verbal quantifiers faster, less accurately, and with less subjective effort than numerical quantifiers....
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The Community of Open Scholarship Grassroots Networks (COSGN), includes 120 grassroots networks, representing virtually every region of the world and every research discipline. These networks communicate and coordinate on topics of common interest. We propose, using an NSF 19-501 Full-Scale implementation grant, to formalize governance and coordina...
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To what extent are research results influenced by subjective decisions that scientists make as they design studies? Fifteen research teams independently designed studies to answer five original research questions related to moral judgments, negotiations, and implicit cognition. Participants from two separate large samples (total N > 15,000) were th...
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Full-text available
The Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) is among the most common and well‐known instruments for measuring the propensity to engage reflective processing, in the context of the dual‐process theory of high‐level cognition. There is robust evidence that men perform better than women on this test—but we should be wary to conclude that men are more likely t...
Article
Family physicians can communicate to patients the risk of adverse drug reactions using words or numbers, and this format has important implications for patients’ ability to make informed decisions. The present study (i) assessed which formats family physicians preferred to communicate the risk of a given side effect, (ii) tested whether the severit...
Preprint
Prior research has suggested that perceptual disfluency activates analytical processing and increases the solution rate of mathematical problems with appealing but incorrect answers (i.e., the Cognitive Reflection Test, hereafter CRT). However, a recent meta-analysis does not support such a conclusion. We tested here whether insufficient numerical...
Preprint
Recent evidence suggests that brain activity following the offset of a stimulus during encoding contributes to long-term memory formation, however the exact mechanisms underlying offset-related encoding are still unclear. Here we used repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to investigate offset-related activity in the left ventrolatera...
Preprint
Full-text available
Over the last ten years, Oosterhof and Todorov’s valence-dominance model has emerged as the most prominent account of how people evaluate faces on social dimensions. In this model, two dimensions (valence and dominance) underpin social judgments of faces. Because this model has primarily been developed and tested in Western regions, it is unclear w...
Article
Full-text available
Pregnancy represents a high information need state, where uncertainty around medical intervention is common. As such, the pertussis vaccination given during pregnancy presents a unique opportunity to study the interaction between vaccine attitudes and vaccine information seeking behaviour. We surveyed a sample of pregnant women (N = 182) during ear...
Article
Nutrition labels provide information about nutrient quantities in food, thus offering consumers a tool to make healthy eating choices. These labels are often presented with verbal quantity information (e.g., ‘low’). However, little is known about how consumers actually interpret this information. We investigated whether participants’ translations o...
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Full-text available
(Manuscript forthcoming in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology; accepted, in press.) Verbal and numerical formats (e.g., verbal: ‘low fat’, or numerical: ‘20% fat’) are used interchangeably to communicate nutritional information. However, prior research implies that verbal quantifiers are processed more intuitively than numerical ones...
Article
The extent to which socially excluded individuals are willing to collaborate with others is an important theoretical and practical question. We consider four contrasting predictions based on the existing psychological literature, of which two are derived on the need-threat framework of social exclusion. Following social rejection, individuals may d...
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The use of interval forecasts allows climate scientists to issue predictions with high levels of certainty even for areas fraught with uncertainty, since wide intervals are objectively more likely to capture the truth than narrow intervals. However, wide intervals are also less informative about what the outcome will be than narrow intervals, imply...
Preprint
Full-text available
Much research on moral judgment is centered on moral dilemmas in which deontological perspectives (i.e., emphasizing rules, individual rights and duties) are in conflict with utilitarian judgements (i.e., following the greater good defined through consequences). A central finding of this field Greene et al. showed that psychological and situational...
Article
Objectives Information search and processing is critical to the vaccine decision-making process. However, the role of drivers of information satisfaction and search is not fully understood. Here, we investigated the predictive potential of psychosocial characteristics related to satisfaction with information and additional information-seeking about...
Preprint
We describe the data management bylaws for the Psychological Science Accelerator (PSA), a distributed network of laboratories dedicated to completing large-scale collaborative behavioral science projects. Our bylaws are organized around the principles of ethical data use, security, accuracy, usability, transparency. We describe how these embodied t...
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Full-text available
Prior research found that “1-in-X” ratios led to higher and less accurate subjective probability than “N-in-X*N” ratios or other formats, even though they featured the same mathematical information. It is unclear, however, whether the effect transfers into health decisions, and the practical significance of the effect is undetermined. Based on prev...
Article
Full-text available
Prior research on probability of precipitation (PoP) forecasts showed that many people wrongfully believe that PoP forecasts are derived from a percentage of time, a percentage of a region or the strength of agreement among forecasters. We posit that the wording of interpretation selection tasks matters, because different response options are assoc...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) measures the ability to suppress an initial (incorrect) intuition and to reflect when solving three mathematical problems. It rapidly became popular for its impressive power to predict how well people reason and make decisions. Despite the popularity of the CRT, a major issue complicates its interpretation: the n...
Preprint
*A peer-reviewed version of this manuscript is now accepted for publication: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2019.103739 Nutrition labels aim to combat obesity by promoting healthy eating choices through providing information about nutrient quantities. These labels are often presented with verbal quantity information (e.g. “low”). We investigated whether parti...
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Full-text available
Mental simulation theories of language comprehension propose that people automatically create mental representations of real objects. Evidence from sentence-picture verification tasks has shown that people mentally represent various visual properties such as shape, color, and size. However, the evidence for mental simulations of object orientation...
Article
Background: In the past decade, several studies have examined the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on long-term episodic memory formation and retrieval. These studies yielded conflicting results, likely due to differences in stimulation parameters, experimental design and outcome measures. Objectives: In this work we aimed...
Preprint
Prior research found that “1-in-X” ratios led to higher and less accurate subjective probability than “N-in-X*N” ratios or other formats even though they featured the same mathematical information. It is unclear, however, whether the effect transfers into health decisions and the practical significance of the effect is undetermined. Based on previo...
Article
Full-text available
We extend research on charity donations by exploring an everyday tactic for increasing compliance: asking politely. We consider three possible effects of politeness on charity donations: a positive effect, a negative effect, and a wiggle‐room effect where the perception of the request is adjusted to decline donating without feeling selfish. Results...
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Concerns about the veracity of psychological research have been growing. Many findings in psychological science are based on studies with insufficient statistical power and nonrepresentative samples, or may otherwise be limited to specific, ungeneralizable settings or populations. Crowdsourced research, a type of large-scale collaboration in which...
Article
According to the “1-in-X” effect, “1-in-X” ratios (e.g., 1 in 12) trigger a higher subjective probability than do numerically equivalent “N-in-X*N” ratios (e.g., 3 in 36). Here we tested the following: (a) the effect on objective measures, (b) its consequences for decision-making, (c) whether this effect is a form of bias by measuring probability a...
Article
Full-text available
Background/study context: Recent studies have shown that young adults better remember factual information they are curious about. It is not entirely clear, however, whether this effect is retained during aging. Here, the authors investigated curiosity-driven memory benefits in young and elderly individuals. Methods: In two experiments, young (age r...
Preprint
Concerns have been growing about the veracity of psychological findings. Many findings in psychological science are based on studies with insufficient statistical power and non-representative samples, or may otherwise be limited to specific, ungeneralizable settings or populations. Large-scale collaboration, in which one or more research projects a...
Article
Full-text available
The Cognitive Reflection Test, measuring intuition inhibition and cognitive reflection, has become extremely popular because it reliably predicts reasoning performance, decision-making, and beliefs. Across studies, the response format of CRT items sometimes differs, based on the assumed construct equivalence of tests with open-ended versus multiple...
Article
Full-text available
A growing body of evidence suggests that social exclusion impairs people's capacity for active deliberation and logical reasoning. Building on this finding and on the postulate from the dual-process theory that analytical thinking is essential in order to make good judgements and decisions, we hypothesized that social exclusion will alter judgement...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Cognitive Reflection Test, measuring intuition inhibition and cognitive reflection, has become extremely popular since it reliably predicts reasoning performance, decision-making and beliefs. Across studies, the response format of CRT items sometimes differs, assuming construct equivalence of the tests with open-ended vs. multiple choice items...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background/Study Context: Recent studies have shown that young adults better remember factual information they are curious about. It is not entirely clear, however, whether this effect is retained during aging. Here, we investigated curiosity-driven memory benefits in young and elderly individuals. Methods: In two experiments, young (age range 18-2...