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Receiving Other People's Advice: Influence and Benefit


  • Ilan Yaniv



Seeking advice is a basic practice in making real life decisions. Until recently, however, little attention has been given to it in either empirical studies or theories of decision making. The studies reported here investigate the influence of advice on judgment and the consequences of advice use for judgment accuracy. Respondents were asked to provide final judgments on the basis of their initial opinions and advice presented to them. The respondents’ weighting policies were inferred. Analysis of the these policies show that (a) the respondents tended to place a higher weight on their own opinion than on the advisor's opinion (the self/other effect); (b) more knowledgeable individuals discounted the advice more; (c) the weight of advice decreased as its distance from the initial opinion increased; and (d) the use of advice improved accuracy significantly, though not optimally. A theoretical framework is introduced which draws in part on insights from the study of attitude change to explain the influence of advice. Finally the usefulness of advice for improving judgment accuracy is considered.

Suggested Citation

  • Ilan Yaniv, 2005. "Receiving Other People's Advice: Influence and Benefit," Discussion Paper Series dp405, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  • Handle: RePEc:huj:dispap:dp405

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jonas, Eva & Frey, Dieter, 2003. "Information search and presentation in advisor-client interactions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 154-168, July.
    2. Clemen, Robert T., 1989. "Combining forecasts: A review and annotated bibliography," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 559-583.
    3. Yaniv, Ilan & Kleinberger, Eli, 2000. "Advice Taking in Decision Making: Egocentric Discounting and Reputation Formation," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 260-281, November.
    4. Harvey, Nigel & Fischer, Ilan, 1997. "Taking Advice: Accepting Help, Improving Judgment, and Sharing Responsibility," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 117-133, May.
    5. Yates, J. Frank & Price, Paul C. & Lee, Ju-Whei & Ramirez, James, 1996. "Good probabilistic forecasters: The 'consumer's' perspective," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 41-56, March.
    6. Alison Hubbard Ashton & Robert H. Ashton, 1985. "Aggregating Subjective Forecasts: Some Empirical Results," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(12), pages 1499-1508, December.
    7. Yaniv, Ilan, 1997. "Weighting and Trimming: Heuristics for Aggregating Judgments under Uncertainty," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 237-249, March.
    8. Robert C. Blattberg & Stephen J. Hoch, 1990. "Database Models and Managerial Intuition: 50% Model + 50% Manager," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(8), pages 887-899, August.
    9. repec:bla:joares:v:35:y:1997:i::p:105-123 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Svenson, Ola, 1996. "Decision Making and the Search for Fundamental Psychological Regularities: What Can Be Learned from a Process Perspective?," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 252-267, March.
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