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Self-selection bias in hypothesis comparison

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  • Whitman, Jennifer C.
  • Woodward, Todd S.
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    Abstract

    Here we investigated whether, given equivalent supporting evidence, we judge self-selected hypotheses differently from those selected by an external source. On each trial of a probabilistic reasoning task requiring no retrieval from memory, participants rated the probability of a focal hypothesis, relative to two alternatives. The focal hypothesis was either selected by the participant or by a computer. In four experiments, self-selected focal hypotheses were judged to be more probable than externally selected ones, despite equivalent supporting evidence. This self-selection bias was independent of level of difficulty in selecting the focal hypothesis (cognitive effort) and of whether evidence was gradually accumulated or all presented instantaneously. These results suggest that the cognitive operations involved in selecting a hypothesis lead to assignment of higher probability to that hypothesis, and that this effect is independent of hypothesis selection difficulty and of the rate of evidence accumulation.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597812000210
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 118 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 216-225

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:118:y:2012:i:2:p:216-225

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp

    Related research

    Keywords: Judgment; Probabilistic reasoning; Decision-making; Overconfidence; Choice; Option fixation; Hypothesis generation;

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    1. Ronis, David L. & Yates, J. Frank, 1987. "Components of probability judgment accuracy: Individual consistency and effects of subject matter and assessment method," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 193-218, October.
    2. Sieck, Winston R. & Merkle, Edgar C. & Van Zandt, Trisha, 2007. "Option fixation: A cognitive contributor to overconfidence," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 68-83, May.
    3. Bond, Samuel D. & Carlson, Kurt A. & Meloy, Margaret G. & Russo, J. Edward & Tanner, Robin J., 2007. "Information distortion in the evaluation of a single option," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 240-254, March.
    4. Andreas Glöckner & Tilmann Betsch, 2008. "Multiple-Reason Decision Making Based on Automatic Processing," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2008_12, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    5. Sniezek, Janet A. & Paese, Paul W. & Switzer, Fred S., 1990. "The effect of choosing on confidence in choice," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 264-282, August.
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