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Why so confident? The influence of outcome desirability on selective exposure and likelihood judgment

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  • Windschitl, Paul D.
  • Scherer, Aaron M.
  • Smith, Andrew R.
  • Rose, Jason P.
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    Abstract

    Previous studies that have directly manipulated outcome desirability have often found little effect on likelihood judgments (i.e., no desirability bias or wishful thinking). The present studies tested whether selections of new information about outcomes would be impacted by outcome desirability, thereby biasing likelihood judgments. In Study 1, participants made predictions about novel outcomes and then selected additional information to read from a buffet. They favored information supporting their prediction, and this fueled an increase in confidence. Studies 2 and 3 directly manipulated outcome desirability through monetary means. If a target outcome (randomly preselected) was made especially desirable, then participants tended to select information that supported the outcome. If made undesirable, less supporting information was selected. Selection bias was again linked to subsequent likelihood judgments. These results constitute novel evidence for the role of selective exposure in cases of overconfidence and desirability bias in likelihood judgments.

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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 120 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 73-86

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:120:y:2013:i:1:p:73-86

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

    Related research

    Keywords: Selective exposure; Confirmation bias; Desirability bias; Wishful thinking; Overconfidence; Likelihood judgment;

    References

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    1. DeKay, Michael L. & PatiƱo-Echeverri, Dalia & Fischbeck, Paul S., 2009. "Distortion of probability and outcome information in risky decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 109(1), pages 79-92, May.
    2. Klayman, Joshua & Soll, Jack B. & Gonzalez-Vallejo, Claudia & Barlas, Sema, 1999. "Overconfidence: It Depends on How, What, and Whom You Ask, , , , , , , , ," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 216-247, September.
    3. Larrick, Richard P. & Burson, Katherine A. & Soll, Jack B., 2007. "Social comparison and confidence: When thinking you're better than average predicts overconfidence (and when it does not)," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 76-94, January.
    4. Radzevick, Joseph R. & Moore, Don A., 2008. "Myopic biases in competitions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 206-218, November.
    5. Windschitl, Paul D. & Smith, Andrew R. & Rose, Jason P. & Krizan, Zlatan, 2010. "The desirability bias in predictions: Going optimistic without leaving realism," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 111(1), pages 33-47, January.
    6. Russo, J. Edward & Medvec, Victoria Husted & Meloy, Margaret G., 1996. "The Distortion of Information during Decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 102-110, April.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. van Dijk, Wilco W. & Zeelenberg, Marcel & van der Pligt, Joop, 2003. "Blessed are those who expect nothing: Lowering expectations as a way of avoiding disappointment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 505-516, August.
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