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Keeping the illusion of control under control: Ceilings, floors, and imperfect calibration

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  • Gino, Francesca
  • Sharek, Zachariah
  • Moore, Don A.

Abstract

Prior research has claimed that people exaggerate probabilities of success by overestimating personal control in situations that are heavily or completely chance-determined. We examine whether such overestimation of control persists in situations where people do have control. Our results suggest a simple model that accounts for prior findings on illusory control as well as for situations where actual control is high: People make imperfect estimates of their level of control. By focusing on situations marked by low control, prior research has created the illusion that people generally overestimate their level of control. Across three studies, we show that when they have a great deal of control, people under-estimate it. Implications for research on perceived control and co-variation assessment are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Gino, Francesca & Sharek, Zachariah & Moore, Don A., 2011. "Keeping the illusion of control under control: Ceilings, floors, and imperfect calibration," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 104-114, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:114:y:2011:i:2:p:104-114
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Moore, Don A. & Cain, Daylian M., 2007. "Overconfidence and underconfidence: When and why people underestimate (and overestimate) the competition," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 197-213, July.
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    5. Soll, Jack B., 1996. "Determinants of Overconfidence and Miscalibration: The Roles of Random Error and Ecological Structure," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 117-137, February.
    6. Dawes, Robyn M. & Mulford, Matthew, 1996. "The False Consensus Effect and Overconfidence: Flaws in Judgment or Flaws in How We Study Judgment?," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 201-211, March.
    7. Heath, Chip & Tversky, Amos, 1991. "Preference and Belief: Ambiguity and Competence in Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 5-28, January.
    8. Juslin, Peter, 1994. "The Overconfidence Phenomenon as a Consequence of Informal Experimenter-Guided Selection of Almanac Items," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 226-246, February.
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