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Lie hard: The effect of self-assessments on academic promotion decisions


  • Chen, Zhe
  • Kemp, Simon


Five experiments investigated whether including self-assessments in applications for a promotion might affect their evaluation, and how this effect was influenced by measures taken to reduce or eliminate it. Self-assessments influenced judgment when the applications were judged by novices and experts, and regardless of whether the participants were warned about the unreliability of self-assessments. The effect was reduced but not eliminated if a second set of assessments was available. A similar influence was found when an arbitrary set of ratings was substituted for the self-assessments, and consider-the-opposite arguments to counter the self-assessments functioned in a similar way to that found in previous studies of anchoring. Overall, the effect of self-assessments seems similar to that of anchoring, when information that is known to be unreliable or unrelated to a target variable still affects estimates of the target variable. Practically, including self-assessments as a component of performance appraisal is likely to bias the results.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Zhe & Kemp, Simon, 2012. "Lie hard: The effect of self-assessments on academic promotion decisions," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 578-589.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:33:y:2012:i:3:p:578-589
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2011.11.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Klimoski, Richard & Inks, Lawrence, 1990. "Accountability forces in performance appraisal," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 194-208, April.
    2. Makiney, Jeanne D. & Levy, Paul E., 1998. "The Influence of Self-Ratings versus Peer Ratings on Supervisors' Performance Judgments," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 212-228, June.
    3. Kemp, Simon, 2003. "The effect of providing misleading cost information on the perceived value of government services," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 117-128, February.
    4. Chapman, Gretchen B. & Johnson, Eric J., 1999. "Anchoring, Activation, and the Construction of Values, , , , , ," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 115-153, August.
    5. Thorsteinson, Todd J. & Breier, Jennifer & Atwell, Anna & Hamilton, Catherine & Privette, Monica, 2008. "Anchoring effects on performance judgments," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 29-40, September.
    6. repec:bla:joares:v:19:y:1981:i:1:p:120-145 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Northcraft, Gregory B. & Neale, Margaret A., 1987. "Experts, amateurs, and real estate: An anchoring-and-adjustment perspective on property pricing decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 84-97, February.
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    More about this item


    Performance appraisal; Self-assessments; Cognitive bias; Anchoring effect; Promotion;

    JEL classification:

    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods


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