Cognitive Characteristics, Judgmental Heuristics, And The Coronary-Prone Behavior Pattern

Date of Award




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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




The tendency of Type As to exhibit a cognitive style that is more rigidly focused on central attributes and, in general, less flexible than that of Type Bs was the basis for making predictions about the use of judgmental heuristics between differential As and Bs. It was predicted that the tendency of people to use limited heuristics when making judgments under uncertainty would be enhanced by the cognitive style of Type As relative to Type Bs.A series of tasks used to demonstrate the use of limited heuristics, commitment to previously learned strategies and the tendency to attempt to change the environment rather than to modify their cognitive structure in response to the environment was ostensibly presented to subjects as an IQ test. Tasks included two types of anchoring tasks adopted from Slovic and Lichtenstein (1971), three probability tasks adopted from Kahneman and Tversky (1972) used to measure the use of limited heuristics, Luchins' water jar task and "pattern puzzles" used to measure commitment to previously learned strategies, and several scenarios describing life situations and assessing responses in terms of accommodation to the situation vs. attempting to change the situation. Subjects were 43 Type A and 30 Type B undergraduates at the University of Miami.Results fail to show the predicted A-B differences in each of the tasks, however, the overall bias effects that have been demonstrated in the literature were replicated. Replication of this study using a failure manipulation was recommended.


Psychology, Social

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