Confidence and Construal Framing: When Confidence Increases versus Decreases Information Processing
A large literature demonstrates that people process information more carefully in states of low compared to high confidence. This article presents an alternative hypothesis that either high or low confidence can increase or decrease information processing on the basis of how information is construed. Five experiments demonstrate two sets of findings supporting this alternative formulation. First, low confidence leads people to focus on concrete construals, whereas high confidence leads people to focus on abstract construals. Second, people in a state of low confidence view messages framed in a concrete manner as more relevant and thus engage in greater processing of messages framed concretely; in contrast, people in a state of high confidence view messages framed in an abstract manner as more relevant and thus engage in greater processing of messages framed abstractly. These results enrich the literature by providing a fundamental shift in understanding how psychological confidence influences information processing.
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