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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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Grossman, Zachary & Owens, David, 2012. "An unlucky feeling: Overconfidence and noisy feedback," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 510-524.
    2. Grossman, Zachary & Owens, David, 2012. "An unlucky feeling: Overconfidence and noisy feedback," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 510-524.
    3. Berlin, Noémi & Dargnies, Marie-Pierre, 2016. "Gender differences in reactions to feedback and willingness to compete," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 320-336.
    4. Noémi Berlin & Marie-Pierre Dargnies, 2012. "Linking Beliefs to Willingness to Compete," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00755660, HAL.
    5. Alexander Coutts, 2017. "Good news and bad news are still news: Experimental evidence on belief updating," FEUNL Working Paper Series novaf:wp1703, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
    6. Coutts, Alexander, 2015. "Testing Models of Belief Bias: An Experiment," MPRA Paper 67507, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Gary Charness & Aldo Rustichini & Jeroen van de Ven, 2013. "Self-Confidence and Strategic Behavior," CESifo Working Paper Series 4517, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Ertac, Seda & Koçkesen, Levent & Ozdemir, Duygu, 2016. "The role of verifiability and privacy in the strategic provision of performance feedback: Theory and experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 24-45.
    9. Alexander Coutts, 2017. "Good news and bad news are still news: Experimental evidence on belief updating," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp1703, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia, NOVAFRICA.
    10. Barron, Kai, 2016. "Belief updating: Does the 'good-news, bad-news' asymmetry extend to purely financial domains?," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2016-309, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    11. repec:eee:jbfina:v:84:y:2017:i:c:p:68-87 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Gotthard-Real, Alexander, 2017. "Desirability and information processing: An experimental study," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 96-99.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Experiments; Beliefs; Performance feedback; Information processing; Self-confidence; Gender;

    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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