IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Ability, chance, and ambiguity aversion: Revisiting the competence hypothesis

Listed author(s):
  • William M. P. Klein
  • Jennifer L. Cerully
  • Matthew M. Monin
  • Don A. Moore
Registered author(s):

    Individuals are often ambiguity-averse when choosing among purely chance-based prospects (Ellsberg, 1961). However, they often prefer apparently ambiguous ABILITY-based prospects to unambiguous chance-based prospects. According to the competence hypothesis (Heath & Tversky, 1991), this pattern derives from favorable perceptions of one's competence. In most past tests of the competence hypothesis, ambiguity is confounded with personal controllability and the source of the ambiguity (e.g., chance vs. missing information). We unconfound these factors in three experiments and find strong evidence for independent effects of both ambiguity aversion and competence. In Experiment 1, participants preferred an unambiguous chance-based option to an ambiguous ability-based option when the ambiguity derived from chance rather than uncertainty about one's own ability. In Experiments 2 and 3, which used different operationalizations of ambiguity in choice contexts with actual consequences, participants attempted to avoid both ambiguity and chance insofar as they could. These findings support and extend the competence hypothesis by demonstrating ambiguity aversion independent of personal controllability and source of ambiguity.

    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: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Society for Judgment and Decision Making in its journal Judgment and Decision Making.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 3 (June)
    Pages: 192-199

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:5:y:2010:i:3:p:192-199
    Contact details of provider:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    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:jdm:journl:v:5:y:2010:i:3:p:192-199. 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: (Jonathan Baron)

    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.