IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

An unlucky feeling: Overconfidence and noisy feedback

  • Grossman, Zachary
  • Owens, David

How do individuals’ beliefs respond to ego-relevant information? After receiving noisy, but unbiased performance feedback, participants in an experiment overestimate their own scores on a quiz and believe their feedback to be ‘unlucky’, estimating that it under-represents their score by 13%. However, they exhibit no such overconfidence in non-ego-relevant beliefs—in this case, estimates of others’ scores. Comparing subjects’ belief-updating to the Bayesian benchmark, we find that this ‘unlucky feeling’ is largely due to overconfident priors, with biased updating driving overconfidence only among the participants with the worst-calibrated beliefs. This suggests that social comparisons contribute to the biased response to feedback on relative performance observed in other studies. While feedback improves performance estimates, this learning does not translate into improved estimates of subsequent performances. This suggests that beliefs about ability are updated differently than beliefs about a particular performance, contributing to the persistence of overconfidence.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 84 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 510-524

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:84:y:2012:i:2:p:510-524
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Erik Hoelzl & Aldo Rustichini, 2005. "Overconfident: Do You Put Your Money On It?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 305-318, 04.
  2. Jean‐Pierre Benoît & Juan Dubra, 2011. "Apparent Overconfidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1591-1625, 09.
  3. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Jeremy Clark & Lana Friesen, 2009. "Overconfidence in Forecasts of Own Performance: An Experimental Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 229-251, 01.
  5. Malmendier, Ulrike M. & Tate, Geoffrey, 2003. "Who Makes Acquisitions? CEO Overconfidence and the Market's Reaction," Research Papers 1798, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  6. David Cooper & John H. Kagel, 2003. "Lessons Learned: Generalizing Learning Across Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 202-207, May.
  7. Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Götte, Lorenz & Rustichini, Aldo, 2010. "Overconfidence is a Social Signaling Bias," IZA Discussion Papers 4840, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Markus Mobius & Muriel Niederle & Paul Niehaus & Tanya S. Rosenblat, 2011. "Managing self-confidence: theory and experimental evidence," Working Papers 11-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  9. David Cooper & John Kagel, 2008. "Learning and transfer in signaling games," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 415-439, March.
  10. Banks, Jeffrey S & Sobel, Joel, 1987. "Equilibrium Selection in Signaling Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 647-61, May.
  11. David J. Cooper & John H. Kagel, 2009. "The Role of Context and Team Play in Cross-Game Learning," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(5), pages 1101-1139, 09.
  12. 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.
  13. Kagel, John H., 1995. "Cross-game learning: Experimental evidence from first-price and English common value auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 163-170, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:84:y:2012:i:2:p:510-524. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.