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Does self-relevance affect information processing? Experimental evidence on the response to performance and non-performance feedback

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  • Ertac, Seda

Abstract

In many settings, individuals are confronted with decision problems that involve information relevant to their self-image. This paper uses an experiment to explore whether the self-relevance of information influences information processing. The experiment implements two information processing tasks that are identical from a theoretical perspective, but differ in the type of information provided: performance feedback versus information within the context of a purely statistical updating problem. The results suggest that information processing differs significantly across self-relevant and self-irrelevant contexts. In the self-relevant context, except in cases where initial self-confidence is high, subjects overweigh unfavorable performance feedback, leading to overly pessimistic beliefs. This is in contrast to the corresponding self-irrelevant setup, where departures from Bayes’ rule do not follow a consistent pattern in terms of direction, and are smaller in magnitude. In addition, I find that women may interpret positive feedback more conservatively than men, leading to more pessimistic posteriors.

Suggested Citation

  • Ertac, Seda, 2011. "Does self-relevance affect information processing? Experimental evidence on the response to performance and non-performance feedback," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 532-545.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:80:y:2011:i:3:p:532-545
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2011.05.012
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Experiments; Beliefs; Performance feedback; Information processing; Self-confidence; Gender;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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